WWU names Wochos, Higgins as new legal advisers

Lisa Wochos has been named chief legal adviser for Western Washington University, succeeding Wendy Bohlke, who retired June 30.

Wochos, an assistant attorney general, previously served as part-time legal counsel to WWU and now will serve the university on a full-time basis.

Kerena Higgins, also an assistant attorney general, will succeed Wochos as part-time legal counsel to the university.

“The trustees and I are very pleased that Lisa has been appointed chief legal adviser, and know that she will continue providing the same outstanding representation and advice for Western that she has in the past in this larger role,” WWU President Bruce Shepard said, in a news release. “Western’s complexity requires counsel that is not only knowledgeable about the state’s legal landscape, but intimately acquainted with how we function as an institution. We are fortunate to have such a person in Lisa, and know that she and Kerena will provide excellent service for Western.”

As chief legal adviser, Wochos serves as legal counsel to WWU’s trustees and, through the trustees, President Shepard. She is also responsible for a host of other legal duties on behalf of the university.

“I am truly honored to be selected as the chief legal adviser for Western. The position presents exciting opportunities to address the legal challenges confronting higher education. I look forward to productive collaboration with the university’s administration and Board of Trustees,” Wochos said.

Wochos received her law degree from the University of Santa Clara School of Law, in Santa Clara, Calif. Since 2001, Wochos has served in the attorney general’s Bellingham office, providing legal counsel to WWU, Skagit Valley College and Whatcom Community College, as well as other state agencies.

Wochos previously served in the Whatcom County Public Defender’s Office and, in California, as a superior court judge, pro tem, in the Santa Cruz County Public Defender Law Office and in private practice. Wochos is active in many community activities, including as a corporate board member for the Boys & Girls Club of Whatcom County.

Higgins received her law degree from the Seattle University School of Law. She has worked with the attorney general’s office since 2001; and in the Bellingham office since 2002, representing the Department of Social and Health Services, the Department of Early Learning, the Department of Labor and Industries, Educational Service District 189, and Bellingham Technical College.

In addition to providing legal counsel for WWU, Higgins will continue to serve as counsel for BTC.

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