Charles Barber Named Vice President and General Counsel

Barber has served GW for more than two decades, most recently in the role in an interim capacity, and is a higher education legal expert.

May 13, 2022

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Charles Barber has been appointed George Washington University’s permanent vice president and general counsel, President Mark S. Wrighton announced Friday.

A higher education legal expert with decades of experience at major research universities, Barber has served GW’s Office of the General Counsel since 1996, including as deputy general counsel since 2007 and, during the past year, as interim vice president and general counsel.

“Charles has been a crucial member of my leadership team since I joined the university, offering sound judgment and guidance through a wide range of legal matters, from business operations and strategic partnerships to our response to the pandemic,” Wrighton wrote in his message to the GW community. “Charles’ legal acumen, collaborative leadership approach and relationships across our campuses have benefitted our students, faculty and staff and continued to strengthen the Office of the General Counsel. I have been particularly impressed by Charles’ thoughtfulness and sharp focus on doing what is right for our university and community.”

At GW, Barber has led the university’s legal efforts in wide-ranging matters, from zoning and real estate to finances, taxes, business operations and negotiating strategic partnerships, among other areas. Most recently, Barber has overseen the office in its top role. Previously, as deputy general counsel, he provided management and guidance on major issues handled by the office.

“I am pleased and honored to be selected for this important position,” Barber said. “I look forward to working with Dr. Wrighton, the GW Board of Trustees and other university leaders during this pivotal time in the university’s development.”

Barber’s announcement comes after a national search conducted by Major, Lindsey & Africa, the world’s leading legal search firm, and steered by a university committee of faculty, staff and trustees.

“I am very pleased to learn that Charles Barber has been selected to serve the university in this role,” said Karen Brown, Theodore Rinehart Professor of Business Law at GW Law and chair of the search committee. “Our committee considered a very talented and diverse pool of candidates and found Mr. Barber exceptionally well-qualified and uniquely positioned to support the university as it moves forward in this exciting new phase.”

Earlier in his career, Barber was an associate with Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City before he returned to D.C. to work at Howard University, where he served as associate general counsel and deputy general counsel from 1985 to 1995. A part-time faculty member, Barber has taught higher education law at GW Law since 2012 and previously taught legal principles of higher education in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

Barber received his J.D. and B.A. from Howard University, and he clerked for the Hon. Gabrielle K. McDonald of the U.S. District Court’s Southern District of Texas from 1979 to 1981.