Maria Feeley Named Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel at Washington and Lee University Maria A. Feeley '97L, vice president, general counsel, secretary and interim director of athletics at the University of Hartford, has been named chief legal officer and general counsel at Washington and Lee University.
Maria A. Feeley ’97L, vice president, general counsel, secretary and interim director of athletics at the University of Hartford, has been named chief legal officer and general counsel at Washington and Lee University.
Feeley succeeds Jennifer Kirkland, who will retire from the university this summer. Feeley’s appointment takes effect on August 9, 2021.
“Maria brings a wealth of experience in higher education to this role from her work as in-house counsel and from her private practice,” said W&L President William C. Dudley. “Her expertise in matters of law, policy and procedure, risk management, compliance, and institutional governance will be a tremendous asset to the university, and I am delighted to welcome her to W&L.”
At the University of Hartford, Feeley is responsible for all of the university’s legal matters, and oversees the Office of General Counsel, the Office of the University Secretary, the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs and Title IX Compliance, the Enterprise Risk Management Committee Program, and the Compliance Committee Program. As the Interim Athletics Director since September 2019, she also oversees a Division I Athletics Department including 17 programs.
“My experience as a student at Washington and Lee University was life-changing; W&L opened doors for me, provided transformational opportunities, and gave me the tools and foundation to allow me to have the type of career I never imagined growing up in Philadelphia. Serving as counsel for a university whose mission is to educate people so that they can reach their fullest potential is already such a rewarding way to practice law, but the opportunity to serve W&L is particularly appealing to me given the impact W&L has had on my life, and the exceptional work being done by President Dudley and his impressive team to advance the university’s mission to prepare graduates ‘for lifelong learning, personal achievement, responsible leadership, service to others, and engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society.'”
Feeley was previously the chief legal officer at Florida A&M University (FAMU). Prior to joining FAMU, she was a partner at the AmLaw 100 law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP (Pepper), now Troutman Pepper, where she was chair of the firm’s Women’s Initiative, vice chair of the Diversity Committee, and a member of the Hiring and Contributions committees. While at Pepper, she also served as a senior consultant for Freeh Group International Solutions LLC, a global risk management company founded by former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh and acquired by Pepper. While a Freeh Group consultant, she served as a senior legal advisor on secondment to the Deepwater Horizon Economic Claims Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, in connection with the largest court-supervised settlement program in U.S. history following the BP oil spill.
The Governor of Pennsylvania appointed Feeley to serve on the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission from 2014-2018. In 2016, Philly Biz honored her as a “Top Business Attorney.” Profiles in Diversity Journal included her among the 2012 honorees in its 10th Annual WomenWorthWatching® issue. The Legal Intelligencer and Pennsylvania Law Weekly named Feeley one of Pennsylvania’s 25 Women of the Year in 2008.
She is active in industry and professional associations, presenting on topics including diversity, equity and inclusion, implicit bias, ethics, compliance, risk management, commercial litigation, trial advocacy, and professional development. She is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA) and has served on NACUA’s Committee on Membership and Member Services and the Advisory Committee of the Journal of College and University Law. In addition, she previously served as technology vice chair of the American Bar Association’s Tort and Insurance Practice Section Dispute Resolution Committee and was the Philadelphia Liaison to the Commission on Women in the Profession. She was elected to the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Bar Association, appointed to the association’s Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention, and chaired its Women in the Profession Committee, among other professional service roles.
Feeley was a member of the Strategic Planning Committee of Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and was board chair of the Stewards’ Alliance of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. She was also a court-appointed arbitrator for the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, treasurer of the Lawyer’s Club of Philadelphia, and a member of the Young Women’s Initiative Advisory Board of Women’s Way, the country’s oldest and largest women’s funding federation.
Feeley obtained her BA, cum laude, in mathematics and history from Rosemont College, where she later served as an adjunct business law professor and currently chairs the board of trustees. Feeley earned her J.D. from Washington and Lee University School of Law in 1997. She was a member of W&L’s Law Council from 2015-2019 and currently serves the law council in an emeritus role.