Vice President and General Counsel
José Padilla joined DePaul University as its vice president and general counsel in May 2005. He works closely with DePaul’s president, board of trustees, provost, executive vice president and other officers. He reports to the president and belongs to the president’s cabinet and the university’s Strategic Planning Committee. Padilla directs an office of seven attorneys. Together they provide tactical and strategic counsel on various legal issues affecting the nation’s largest Catholic university.
Before joining DePaul, Padilla worked for Illinois Institute of Technology, a Chicago research university, as an attorney and federal lobbyist. In December 2010, the secretary of the United States Department of Education, Arne Duncan, appointed Padilla to a three-year term as a member of the National Board of the Fund for Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE.) FIPSE advises the secretary and the assistant secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education on priorities for improving postsecondary education.
From 1990 to 1993, Padilla was a lawyer and legislative assistant to the late Senator Lloyd Bentsen (D-TX.) From 1993 to 1997, he was a senior political appointee in the Clinton Administration, serving as assistant commissioner for Congressional and Public Affairs at the United States Customs Service, then as bureau of the United States Treasury Department.
Padilla has also worked on public policy issues affecting higher education. The University of Michigan retained him to represent it before Congress and Hispanic groups with respect to the Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger affirmative action cases in the United States Supreme Court.
Padilla earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School in 1983 and was awarded a degree in elementary education from the University of Toledo in 1980. He is licensed to practice law in Illinois and the District of Columbia. He is a director of the National Association of College and University Attorneys, and belongs to the Illinois State and American Bar Associations. Padilla is also a director of the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan.
Hispanic Business magazine named Padilla one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the nation for 2010. In 2006, the Latino Law Students Association of the University of Michigan Law School honored Padilla with the J.T. Canales Award for distinction as a Latino alumnus of the Law School.