Michigan State University announced today a new legal team as Bob Noto announced his retirement as MSU’s vice president for legal affairs and general counsel, effective March 5, 2018.
Noto had served as MSU’s general counsel since 1995. Along with duties at MSU, Noto also chaired the principal legal officers group of the Big Ten Academic Alliance, formerly known as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, since 2009.
“Bob Noto served Michigan State University for more than two decades in exemplary fashion,” MSU Interim President John Engler said. “During his time here he has handled the university’s complex legal matters with great skill and integrity, and he built a strong in-house team that will continue to serve MSU well. We wish him well as he transitions to emeritus status.”
Before MSU, Noto worked for New York University, last serving as associate general counsel and deputy secretary to NYU's board of trustees. Noto graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School.
Kristine Zayko, who has served as MSU’s deputy general counsel since 2008 and MSU for nearly 20 years, will step in as MSU’s acting vice president for legal affairs and general counsel.
“It has been my privilege and pleasure to build and lead MSU’s legal team, in which I have great confidence,” Noto said. “I am proud to have Kristine Zayko as acting vice president for legal affairs and general counsel. I am deeply committed to the university’s land-grant mission and have worked with colleagues and clients to help MSU serve our state and nation. I am fortunate to have devoted my career to these goals and principles.”
Prior to coming to MSU, Zayko was a labor and employment attorney in private practice in Chicago and Lansing. She earned her undergraduate degree summa cum laude from the Honors College at Michigan State University and earned her law degree cum laude from the University of Michigan.
“I am honored to serve the university, and I thank President Engler for his confidence in me to lead this office during a critical time,” Zayko said. “I am grateful to have worked with such a strong mentor as Bob, who has helped me and many others over his distinguished career at MSU.”
In addition to Zayko, Robert Young, of the Dickinson Wright Law Firm, has been selected as lead counsel assigned to coordinate the multiple investigations and the Title IX lawsuits that have been filed against MSU. He will oversee the law firms that are assisting the university. Young, a former Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, has more than two decades of appellate judicial experience.
As chief justice, Young developed and implemented an acclaimed strategic plan to measure judicial performance, track public satisfaction, adopt best practices and implement technologies to expand public access, increase efficiency and boost productivity of trial courts.
“I am pleased to assist the university in addressing its multiple challenges,” Young said. “President Engler has made it clear that MSU is cooperating fully with the various investigations and that will be an ongoing priority for me.”
Engler added, “We will need all of Bob Young’s legal and administrative skills in the weeks ahead as we seek to fulfill our commitments to the survivors and answer any questions that are asked.”