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Bradley welcomes new vice president for legal affairs

Erin Kastberg, vice president for
legal affairs and general counsel.
Photo by Duane Zehr, university photographer.

Each fall on the Hilltop, there are new faces. New students, professors, faculty, administrators and many more are at Bradley for their first semester. One new face is the vice president for legal affairs and general counsel Erin Kastberg. 

Kastberg began working in the newly created role on June 1. Her position was one of three created after the retirement of senior vice president of business affairs, Gary Anna. 

“This position is a critical piece of our newly restructured senior leadership team,” President Gary Roberts said. “Beyond being an exceptional individual, Erin has a very impressive resume and an impeccable work ethic. I do not doubt that she is the right person for this crucial position on campus.”

Kastberg mentioned Bradley administration’s goal with her new position. 

“I think it is multi-fold,” Kastberg said. “First, it is having an in-house legal adviser. As issues come up, someone can just call me or write to me and ask for advice. I think it is also having someone at the table who has a critical thinking skillset, an ability to think about the legal risks of a decision.” 

Kastberg’s most recent position was with the University of Wisconsin System Office of General Counsel as a senior system legal counsel, where she started in 2011. Kastberg handled just about anything that came her way for any of the schools she advised, which is good practice for her new position. 

“My role there is similar to what I’m doing here,” Kastberg said. “It was a lot of day-to-day client counseling. There was a lot of feedback on contracts, feedback on personnel issues, student issues, research issues, IT issues. It was a broad variety of things, but a lot of the same issues.” 

At the University of Wisconsin System, there were multiple campuses she advised, but Kastberg was part of a group of seven attorneys. Now at Bradley, she will be the lone attorney for the university’s general counsel, with additional assistance. 

“It’s very different because I don’t have a colleague down the hall to say, ‘Hey, what do you think of this?’” Kastberg said. “But we have a pretty close administrative group, where people are always willing to give the background or history on something to help me give better-informed advice.” 

Prior to working for the University of Wisconsin System, Kastberg was in private practice, working for two different law firms. She said her experience in private practice has helped her working in education law. 

“First, I was doing a lot more general practice work,” Kastberg said. 

“I think it helped prepare me for this job because you never know what is going to come across your email, or when you pick up the phone what someone is going to be asking you. That skillset definitely helped [with] being able to respond really quickly. It may be an issue you’ve never heard of before, but you’re in it and you have to just roll up your sleeves and start looking into it.” 

“After, I went to be with a second firm where I was more specialized. I was in a labor and employment group. I was doing a lot of school law. I was less all over the place than my first job, but I got more expertise in education law. In institutions like this, you have to be a generalist because you are the only one.” 

Although not holding Gary Anna’s exact position, Kastberg said he was helpful for the two months he was around as she transitioned. 

“He has 37 years of institutional knowledge,” Kastberg said. “There is only so much of that you can grasp in a few short months. He shared a lot of how he handled things in the past.” 

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