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Head counsel Carol Hustoles cited for legal prowess

by Jeanne Baron

June 21, 2011 | WMU News

Photo of WMU head counsel Carol L.J. Hustoles.
Carol L.J. Hustoles
KALAMAZOO--A Western Michigan University attorney took top honors in the nonprofit category of the inaugural General and In-House Counsel Awards sponsored by Crain's Detroit Business.

Carol L.J. Hustoles, WMU vice president for legal affairs and general counsel, and five other category award winners were feted during a May 3 summit and awards event. Their selection was announced in Crain's April 11 issue, along with the award program's overall winner, David Leitch, group vice president and general counsel for Ford Motor Co.

The new awards program recognizes standout corporate and in-house counsel attorneys who "navigate complicated contract negotiations, defend their companies in high-stakes litigation and defend some of an organization's most important assets."

Hustoles was cited for heightening awareness of how legal issues can impact university areas and taking a preventative approach to reduce risk of litigation and legal liability.

"In her 12 years as Western Michigan University's chief legal counsel, Carol Hustoles has maintained a focus on outreach, communication and prevention," Crain's said in its April 11 coverage of the award winners.

"It's helped the University avoid or reduce liability and is a factor cited in results: A drop in litigation over the past decade, from 12 lawsuits in various stages in 2001 to none currently, and no lawsuits lost during that time."

One of WMU's two in-house attorneys, Hustoles came to the University in 1991. She was named general counsel eight years later and appointed vice president in 2002.

Her office's client list includes the WMU Board of Trustees, president and other administrators, and affiliated entities like the University's two foundations. Among her current major activities is helping develop the legal structure and relationships necessary for WMU to establish a new medical school in partnership with Kalamazoo's two hospitals.