Madelyn Wessel | Northern Virginia | Hogan Lovells

Madelyn Wessel

Senior Counsel Global Regulatory


English, German


Madelyn Wessel
  • Overview
  • Experience
  • Credentials
  • Insights and events

Madelyn is a higher education lawyer who has held numerous positions at prestigious private and public universities. Most recently, Madelyn was Cornell University's General Counsel and Secretary to the Board of Trustees. Madelyn supervised and directed all legal services rendered on behalf of the University. Madelyn came to Cornell from Virginia Commonwealth University where she served as the University Counsel and as a Senior Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Madelyn focuses her practice on the needs of institutions of higher education both private and public. Having served as the chief counsel at two major research institutions, Madelyn is skilled at navigating governance issues, state and federal compliance, administrative investigations, student and faculty misconduct matters, research integrity, international campus concerns, intellectual property, business transactions, government agreements, and institutional policy development.

Previously, Madelyn served as Associate University Counsel at the University of Virginia, where she had a broad practice including intellectual property law, FOIA, technology, libraries, student affairs, civil rights, constitutional law, and employment law. Prior to entering higher education, Madelyn served as Deputy and later Chief Deputy City Attorney for the City of Portland, Oregon and as an Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Opinions Division, Massachusetts Department of Justice.

For decades, Madelyn has been a highly active member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA)—the primary professional organization for higher education lawyers—and was a former member of the Board of Directors for an at-large term from 2013-2016. She has authored dozens of papers and presentations for NACUA, EDUCAUSE, state bar associations, the ABA, and other scholarly and professional entities.


  • J.D., Boston University School of Law, 1982
  • B.A. History and Philosophy, Swarthmore College, with honors, 1976
Bar admissions and qualifications
  • District of Columbia
  • New York
  • Virginia
  • Oregon
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
Court admissions
  • New York State Appellate Division Third Department
  • Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
  • Supreme Court of Oregon
  • Supreme Court of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court, District of Oregon
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court