José D. Padilla, JD
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. 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, U.S. Secretary 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. In August 2013, the president of the National Association of
Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) appointed him to its legal
services review panel, which advises NAICU on high profile legal and
public policy issues. He has also frequently lectured before
professional groups on legal issues in higher education.
From 1990 to 1993, Padilla was a lawyer and legislative assistant to the
late Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas). 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 a bureau of the Department of the Treasury.
Padilla also has 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 heard by the
U.S. 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, and belongs to the Illinois State and
American Bar Associations. He is currently a director of the Better
Government Association, a government watchdog group in Chicago. He also
is a former director of the National Association of College and
University Attorneys and the Alumni Association of the University of
Michigan. He remains involved in the Alumni Association as chairman of
the board's diversity committee, which oversees the operation and
fundraising of the LEAD Scholars program. This program provides
scholarships to students of color and other underrepresented students.
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