General Counsel

Charles Barber headshot




Charles Barber, Vice President
and General Counsel

Charles Barber was appointed Vice President and General Counsel in May 2022. He previously served in the role in an interim capacity. Prior to that, he served as Deputy General Counsel at GW, a position he held since 2007. Charles has worked in higher education law for more than 35 years. Prior to GW, he worked in the Office of the General Counsel at Howard University, and spent four years in the New York City based firm of Debevoise & Plimpton.

Charles has handled wide a variety of higher education legal issues, while taking the lead on legal issues related to campus real estate development, tax and business regulations, and major GW transactions.  He has taught higher education law in the Graduate School of Education and the School of Law. Charles was born and raised in Washington, D.C. and graduated summa cum laude from Howard University School of Law.

The Office of the General Counsel (OGC) provides legal guidance and helps resolve legal disputes on a broad range of matters affecting the university. OGC advises on legal and regulatory questions associated with the university’s activities, represents the interests of the university in administrative and judicial proceedings, and supervises the activities of outside counsel.


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All attorneys are generalists and provide legal advice on a variety of matters. Below is a list of the attorneys' regular practice areas.


Charles Barber headshot





Charles Barber, Vice President and General Counsel

Charles Barber is responsible for:

  • Real estate and campus planning
  • Admissions and financial aid
  • Facilities and physical plant
  • Construction
  • Insurance and risk management
  • Political activity
  • Debt and financial transactions
  • Class actions
  • Health, safety and environment
  • Litigation
  • Non-discrimination








Richard Weitzner, Deputy General Counsel

Richard Weitzner is responsible for:

  • Employment and personnel matters
  • Faculty matters
  • Government agency charges/investigations
  • Academic affairs
  • Athletics
  • Employment-related regulatory compliance issues including, for example, those related to disability issues, family and medical leave, and non-discrimination
  • Employee benefits, termination and discipline
  • Faculty governance
  • Safety, security and police








Mary Lynn Reed, Senior Counsel

Mary Lynn Reed is responsible for:

  • Health affairs
  • HIPAA privacy
  • Medical education and operations
  • Health care transactions
  • Medical malpractice claims
  • Litigation
  • Medical Faculty Associates-related issues








Abbey Richards, Senior Counsel

Abbey Richards is responsible for:

  • Nonprofit governance
  • Nonprofit taxation
  • Business operations, banking and transactions
  • Banking and financial transactions
  • Conflicts of interest
  • International transactions and operations
  • Immigration
  • Study abroad
  • Export controls
  • Student financial assistance and student accounts
  • Bankruptcy
  • Contracts








Betsy Wanger, Senior Counsel 

Betsy Wanger is responsible for:

  • Litigation
  • Development and fundraising, including trusts, wills, estates, gift agreements
  • Affirmative action and non-discrimination
  • Sexual harassment/sexual assault and Title IX
  • Threat assessment
  • Athletics
  • Subpoenas and legal process








Stephanie Baldwin, Associate General Counsel

Stephanie Baldwin is responsible for:

  • Contracts
  • Information technology, including cyber and data security laws
  • Web accessibility
  • Environmental law
  • Museum and libraries
  • Procurement
  • Privacy
  • Retail leases
  • University policies
  • Intellectual property
  • Technology transfer








Charlie Pollack, Associate General Counsel

Charlie Pollack is responsible for:

  • Labor relations and disputes
  • Intellectual property
  • Records management
  • Contracts
  • Safety and security
  • Employment








Zahraa Zalzala, Associate General Counsel

Zahraa Zalzala is responsible for:

  • Student matters, including the Student Code of Conduct
  • Student and Greek organizations
  • Sexual harassment/sexual assault and Title IX
  • Affirmative action and non-Discrimination
  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
  • Government agency charges/investigations
  • Administrative actions
  • Litigation



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Contact the Office of the General Counsel

 [email protected] • 202-994-6503


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