The deputy general counsel for the University of Kentucky will become the top lawyer for the University of Virginia, Attorney General Jason Miyares announced Friday.
Cliff Iler will serve as the lead attorney for UVa and supervise a team of nine other attorneys, including three attorneys for the health system, according to the news release.
“Cliff is a brilliant attorney with over a decade of experience in higher education and healthcare law,” Miyares said in the release. “I am confident he will be an excellent addition to the University of Virginia and serve the students, faculty, staff, and Commonwealth well.”
In Virginia, the attorney general has the power to appoint counsel within Virginia’s public colleges and universities.
Earlier this year, Miyares fired UVa’s previous lead attorney, Tim Heaphy, shortly after he took office. Heaphy had been on a leave of absence to lead the work of the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.
He was appointed as UVa counsel and senior assistant attorney general in August 2018 by Miyares’ Democratic predecessor.
As UVa’s counsel, Heaphy has helped the university navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, weighing on requirements and sanctions for students who don’t comply. The university also adopted new free-speech policies under his watch.
The decision to fire Heaphy came after various promises from Miyares to shake up the AG’s office and change the way Virginia’s top legal office operates.
Iler, a Louisville native, has recently served as the deputy general counsel for Faculty, Students, and Research at the University of Kentucky and associate general counsel for the school’s healthcare operations and healthcare colleges. He also worked as the lead attorney for other university hospitals and spent 16 years with a law firm in Atlanta.
“Having the opportunity to serve as a senior assistant attorney general and as university counsel for the University of Virginia is an honor and a privilege,” Iler said in the release. “I look forward to working alongside the other members of the attorney general and university counsel team to provide outstanding legal services to the president, the Board of Visitors, and the other members of the UVa community.”