Kyhm Penfil

Principal Campus Counsel


  • J.D., University of Southern California Gould School of Law (Order of the Coif, Southern California Law Review)
  • A.B., Wellesley College
  • Admitted: California; C.D. Cal.; 2nd, 9th and Federal Circuits; U.S. Supreme Court

Ms. Penfil is Principal Campus Counsel at UC Irvine, where she advises the Chancellor, Provost, Vice Chancellors, Deans and campus leadership with respect to complex matters of import to The Regents and the campus.  She also provides advice more broadly to the University of California system.  Her service to the University includes legal advice as well as counseling on policy, practice and decision-making where a legal perspective adds value. 

Ms. Penfil’s advice informs the full spectrum of areas across the University and encompasses a broad portfolio of legal issues, including: First Amendment questions, intellectual property concerns, criminal matters, employment and discrimination issues, gifts and due process matters.  For example, she provides advice concerning First Amendment implications of whistleblowing activities, criminal and employment law implications of internal audit findings, discrimination in employment claims, privacy law implications of health insurance identity theft, and research administration and research misconduct matters.  She also counsels the campus and the Health Sciences regarding copyright law concerns raised in the academic setting (including online education), due process issues raised in the student conduct and resident context and legal issues related to the campus’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship initiative and its international activities.

Before joining the University, Ms. Penfil was a partner with Irell & Manella, LLP, where her practice focused on intellectual property law and complex business litigation at the trial and appellate levels.  She serves as a member of the Boards of Directors of the Orange County Bar Association and the Anti-Defamation League of Orange County and Long Beach.

Selected University of California Service:

  • Primary Counsel, UCDC
  • University of California Diversity Work Group
  • President’s Task Force on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence and Sexual Assault
  • Office of the General Counsel Copyright Working Group

Selected UC Irvine Service:

  • Campus Budget Workgroup
  • Human Resources Strategic Redesign Leadership Team
  • Task Force on Empowering UCI Innovators
  • Whistleblower Investigations Team
  • Information Security and Privacy Committee
  • IT Accessibility Workgroup
  • Consultation (crisis management) Team

Selected Outreach:

  • Adjunct Professor, University of Southern California School of Law and Chapman University School of Law (Copyright Law, Trademark Law, Intellectual Property Law, Ninth Circuit Appellate Clinic)
  • Co-Author (with Marcelle Holmes), “UC Irvine’s Consultation Team: A Model for Effective Behavioral Intervention,” 2014 The Journal of Campus Behavioral Intervention 111-124
  • “Intellectual Property Law for the Business Executive,” Paul Merage School of Business, UC Irvine
  • Panelist, “Striking a Delicate Balance: Non-Discrimination, Inclusive Excellence, Free Expression and Safety on Campus” (NACUA Annual Conference)
  • Moderator, “Obama and IP: What Will the New White House Administration Mean for Intellectual Property for Private Enterprise, Academic Institutions and Government Agencies?” California State Bar Intellectual Property Institute

Selected Community Honors and Service:

  • Board of Directors, Orange County Bar Association (Audit Committee, Finance Committee, Investments Sub-Committee, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force)
  • Board of Directors, Anti-Defamation League of Orange County and Long Beach
  • Nominee, Orange County Business Journal General Counsel Awards
  • Top 50 Female Superlawyers in Southern California and Top 50 Superlawyers in Orange County, Los Angeles Magazine and Law & Politics Magazine
  • The National Law Journal, Top 15 Defense Verdicts of the Year