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General Counsel

Occidental College

Please submit a resume and cover letter explaining how your qualifications meet the requirements of the position to resumes@oxy.edu.  More information is available at https://www.oxy.edu/sites/default/files/assets/General%20Counsel%20%20August%2028%202017.pdf.

Position Summary 

The General Counsel is the chief legal officer of the College and responsible for managing the College’s legal affairs and overseeing legal services to the College.  The General Counsel provides legal advice and services to the College and works with the President, Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, student organizations and staff.  The General Counsel reports to the President of the College related to all job duties and performance as the College’s chief legal officer.

Summary of Duties, Responsibilities, and Goals

The following statements describe the general nature and level of work assigned to this job. Other duties may be assigned.

  • Receive and handle inquiries from College, administrators, Board of Trustees, faculty, staff and student organizations, for example, on such matters as tax, employment, student affairs, insurance, risk management, patents, copyrights, use of federal and state funding, contracts and College policies.
  • Advise College, administrators, Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, and student organizations on legal developments related to College activities, policies and operations.  Review and advise administrators, staff, faculty and student organizations on College policies, procedures, and handbooks, including drafting new policies, procedures and handbooks.  Provide counsel to administrators and faculty regarding proposed or existing College contracts; review all proposed college contracts.
  • Advise the College administration and Board of Trustees on matters of legal compliance, for example Title IX, the Clery Act, FERPA, and ADA/Section 504.
  • Screen and select outside counsel and refer matters to outside counsel when appropriate. Facilitate direct communications between administrators and outside counsel when it increases efficiency, while maintaining budget control and supervision. Manage communications with outside lawyers, including on matters that pose risk of liability.  Monitor billing practices of outside counsel, and review and approve all bills for payment.
  • Recommend operational and policy changes necessitated by legislative mandates; develop alternative policies and procedures to enable the College to accomplish its objectives.
  • Direct and participate in research of state and federal legislation and administrative and court decisions relevant to higher education in California; investigate legal problems and make recommendations on action to appropriate administrators.
  • Provide training and training materials on legal issues to appropriate constituencies when education is helpful to maintain or further College objectives.
  • Advise the Director of Human Resources or equivalent administrator on personnel matters (for example, disciplinary actions and preparing, negotiating and executing separation agreements).
  • Participate in overseeing, identifying, evaluating, and analyzing risks in the operations of the College; develop strategies to efficiently and cost-effectively manage those risks.  Educate, advise, and counsel faculty, administration, staff and students to reduce or transfer risks. Coordinate insurance risk coverage.
  • Perform other related duties incidental to the work described above.

Qualifications

  • J.D. or equivalent from an accredited law school;
  • Current membership in good standing in the California State Bar or the ability to become Registered In-House Counsel in California;
  • Preference for candidates with substantive experience in the legal representation of academic institutions,  including (i) 10 years+ in practice and 6+ years of experience advising academic institutions, either in an in-house or outside counsel capacity, (ii) deep knowledge of laws and regulations applicable to academic institutions, and (iii) good familiarity in general with the operational and organizational environment of undergraduate or graduate institutions;
  • Demonstrated ability to manage multiple priorities and work under deadlines;
  • Demonstrated ability to gain trust and inspire confidence at all levels of an academic institution;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including the ability to communicate complex issues and legal concepts to non-lawyers;
  • Demonstrated ability to navigate effectively through and successfully work with the different departments and constituencies within a college community;
  • High level of analytical and problem-solving skills, including the ability to solve problems proactively and pragmatically;
  • Excellent presentation and project management skills; and
  • Excellent judgment and interpersonal skills.

Please submit a resume and cover letter explaining how your qualifications meet the requirements of the position to resumes@oxy.edu.  More information is available at https://www.oxy.edu/sites/default/files/assets/General%20Counsel%20%20August%2028%202017.pdf.

We will consider for employment all qualified Applicants, including those with Criminal Histories, in a manner consistent with the requirements of applicable state and local laws, including the City of Los Angeles’ Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Ordinance.