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Purdue hiring in-house legal counsel

Purdue is changing the way it handles its legal needs. The university is hiring an in-house legal counsel, instead of using Lafayette law firm Stuart and Branigin.

The board of trustees is expected to approve the hiring of Steven Schultz as legal counsel when it meets February 8.

President Mitch Daniels says the issue has been discussed the past few months and he recommended Schultz for the job.

“I think his professional record speaks for itself,” says Daniels. “I think he’s a tremendous acquisition for the school – just a superb lawyer with a breadth of experience in government, nonprofit and the business world.”

Schultz served as Daniels’ chief legal counsel during his first term as governor. He currently is vice president and general counsel of Southeastern Indiana Health Organization.

Daniels says the move should allow the university to identify opportunities to improve the way it procures and manages legal services. He thinks that should bring about risk management, oversight and cost savings benefits.

“I want somebody looking at the whole array of rules and policies that we have here to make sure that they’re all necessary, that they’re clear, that they’re not contradictory one with another, that they’re not redundant.”

Thomas Parent, a partner with Stuart and Branigin, is the most recent member of that firm to serve as legal counsel to the university. He says the change has been under discussion for a long time and they’ve worked with the university to find the right model to provide legal services.

“Mr. Schultz is a highly respected attorney who has been a trusted adviser to President Daniels,” Parent says. “We look forward to continuing our long and productive relationship with them and with the trustees.”

Daniels says now is the right time to make the switch.

“It seems like good practice, to me, to have a clearinghouse for the purchase of outside services,” he says. “I really want one person I can go to when I want to make certain we’re living up to all our obligations, legally.”