Alexander Dreier LAW ’95 has been named Yale’s new vice president and general counsel.
Come March 23, 2015, Dreier will replace Dorothy Robinson as the University’s top legal counsel. The news was announced by University President Peter Salovey in an email to the Yale Community Thursday afternoon.
“[Dreier] has worked with universities all over the country and internationally in areas important to Yale,” Salovey said, citing civil rights, research regulation and international education as among Dreier’s areas of expertise. “His knowledge of higher education will be very beneficial to us.”
Dreier’s appointment comes at a particularly contentious time for the general counsel’s office. From heightened scrutiny over campus policy on sexual misconduct to last year’s suit against three faculty members in the School of Management in which the plaintiff claimed she had not been reappointed to her professorship because her gender and age, the office is no stranger to nuanced and difficult issues.
Currently a partner at the law firm Hogan Lovells in Washington, D.C., Dreier’s practice focuses on advising universities, medical centers and other educational and research institutions, according to his professional profile on the firm’s website. Dreier has represented clients before the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as other federal and state courts, in litigation including affirmative action, civil rights, school funding, employment discrimination and special education. He also has experience advising universities and their governing boards on issues related to endowment management, conflicts of interest, international initiatives and student affairs.
Among his recent endeavors, Dreier and other partners at Hogan Lovells filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in Fisher v. University of Texas, which involved a challenge by a white student, who was denied admission to the university, to its policy of considering race as one factor in its admissions calculus. Dreier and his colleagues represented 40 associations of colleges, universities, educators, trustees and other representatives of higher education in supporting the University’s admissions policy.
Before joining Hogan Lovells, Dreier was assistant to the provost and adjunct professor of law at the University of Oklahoma and clerked in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
“I’m thrilled and honored to be returning to Yale in this new role,” Dreier said in an email to the News. “I loved New Haven as a law student, and am looking forward to being part of the Yale community again.”
Senior Advisor to the President Martha Highsmith said Dreier’s appointment was finalized over the past week. Once Dreier assumes office in mid-Spring, acting general counsel Cynthia Carr will return to her position as deputy general counsel.
Before coming to Yale Law School, Dreier studied as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, where he received an M.A. in philosophy and politics. Dreier completed his undergraduate degree at Harvard University, where he graduated magna cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
In addition to his professional practice, Dreier is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys, as well as the American Health Lawyers’ Association. He frequently speaks on behalf of both organizations about legal developments of interest to clients in research and education. Kathleen Santora, chief executive officer of the NACUA, said Dreier has been an active and engaged member of the association since 1997.
“Alex is an outstanding speaker, author and volunteer and brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the position of vice president and general counsel at Yale,” Santora said.
Dreier’s appointment comes seven months after Salovey announced Robinson’s departure at the end of April. Robinson was the second woman ever to be appointed vice president of the University, and through her time as general counsel supported a range of University initiatives — among them partnerships with New Haven, online education, policies on sexual harassment and the return of ROTC to Yale.
“It truly would be impossible to isolate a particular set of events, as my time here has been extraordinarily full, not only with special moments, but with remarkable people through many changes at Yale and in the legal landscape of higher education,” Robinson said.