James J. Mingle


James Mingle served as Cornell’s University Counsel and Secretary of the Corporation from August 1995 to March 2017.  He was a corporate officer and reported jointly to the President and the Board of Trustees, which elected Jim as University Counsel and Secretary Emeritus upon his recent retirement from Cornell. As University Counsel, he supervised and directed all legal services rendered on behalf of the university.   As Secretary of the Corporation, he also served as Secretary of the Board of Trustees, heading the office that provides governance advice to and administrative support for the Board. From 2008-2017, he also chaired the University Risk Management Council, charged with overseeing university-wide efforts to manage and mitigate risks.

Jim Mingle has served as a Cornell-appointed member of the Joint Advisory Board for the Weill Medical College of Cornell University in Qatar since its inception in 2001.

Prior to joining Cornell in 1995, Jim served as General Counsel of the University of Virginia.  Previously, he was head of the Educational Affairs Division of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, where he served as an Assistant Attorney General and Chief Counsel to the University of Maryland, the Maryland State Universities and Colleges, several state higher education boards and commissions, and Maryland Public Television.  Prior to joining the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, he has held management positions at Frostburg State University and the Philadelphia 76ers NBA Club. He has also held adjunct faculty appointments teaching “Law and Higher Education” at the Cornell Law School, the University of Virginia School of Law, and the University of Maryland Law School.

Over the course of thirty years serving as general counsel, Jim has represented and advised public and private university clients on all legal aspects of institutional governance, policy and operations.  He has litigated numerous cases in trial and appellate courts that have entailed, for example, defending academic judgments concerning student admissions and faculty tenure;  preserving university autonomy; advancing affirmative action; combatting sexual harassment; protecting intellectual property; affirming university authority over affiliated foundations; and dealing with internet defamation claims filed in foreign jurisdictions.  As examples of noteworthy university advisory matters, Jim served as lead counsel in crafting legislation reorganizing Maryland’s system of higher education; in fashioning a state-wide equal educational opportunity plan; in launching a for-profit distance learning subsidiary; in reforming athletic programs in the aftermath of major controversies; and in forging long-term academic alliances with foreign institutions.

Jim holds a B.A. from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.