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Vice President and General Counsel to the University - Archive
President's Office

Posting: 15212
Location: Eugene
Closes: 2015-07-21

Title:  Vice President and General Counsel to the University
Department:  President’s Office
FTE:  1.0 (full-time)
Appointment Type:  Officer of Administration
Reports to:  UO President
Salary range:  $225,000 – $325,000 annually, plus an excellent benefits package
Duration:  12 months, renewable annually
Review Date:  Search will remain open until filled; application review begins June 26, 2015
Start Date:  September 14, 2015 or as soon as possible thereafter

General Statement of Duties

The Vice President and General Counsel to the University (VPGC) is the chief legal officer for the University of Oregon, a senior advisor to the President of the University (President), and an officer of the university. The VPGC will be responsible for managing the university’s legal affairs, overseeing the office’s provision of legal services to the university (including the provision of any outside legal services retained on behalf of the university), and supervising the Office of the General Counsel, which includes other attorneys and support staff.  In addition, the VPGC will oversee the University’s Office of Public Records and the University’s Records Management Services, including supervision of employees in those two functions.  As a member of the president’s senior leadership team, the VPGC will work closely with the president and other executive officers on a wide array of matters of legal import to the institution. In addition, the VPGC will work closely with university units, programs (e.g. student government), and employees.

As one of the university’s four named officers, the VPGC reports to the president, but also has an obligation to the UO’s governing body – the Board of Trustees (Board).  This dual reporting relationship, new since the institutional governing board took control of the UO in July 2014, requires a keen awareness of institutional obligations and the nuances of independent governance.  The VPGC will play an active role in the ongoing implementation of this entirely new governance structure at the university level, coordinating with other public universities in Oregon as necessary and appropriate. 

As the chief legal advisor to the President and the Board, the VPGC will need to be familiar with aspects of law impacting a comprehensive public research institution and must be able to navigate complex environments with intellect and pragmatism. The VPGC must be able to provide support as the president and senior leaders execute university initiatives such as review of policies inherited from the state as part of the governance transition, a new Ombuds program, restructuring of Title IX services, greater efficiency in administrative services, and the establishment of an internal audit office, to name a few.

The VPGC will also serve as a senior advisor to the president.  In this role, s/he will provide advice to the president and university leaders on a variety of legal and non-legal matters including Title IX, collective bargaining, NCAA and Pac-12 governance and compliance, public records, records retention and management, risk management, FERPA, and diversity.  S/he will also work closely with government and community relations staff with respect to existing and emerging higher education legislation.

Description of Duties

The VPGC works within a very diverse portfolio of practice areas, including labor and employment, business matters, civil rights, contract review, litigation, environmental issues, copyright, information technology, intellectual property, technology transfer, property leases and acquisitions, design and construction transactions, research transactions, student and faculty issues, tax, risk management, compliance, government ethics rules, and constitutional law. The university is a large, complex, and diverse institution that generates a wide range of legal issues. Some of these are common to all large organizations; others are unique to the environment of a large public research university (such as shared governance, freedom of speech, academic freedom, sponsored research, student rights, campus safety, the ADA, Title IX, development, public meetings and records, and athletics).

As the chief legal officer for the university, the VPGC is responsible for managing the legal affairs of the university and overseeing the office’s provision of legal services across the entire spectrum of university life.

The VPGC advises the President, the Board, and the university’s senior leadership team on the legal implications of strategy, business, and policy decisions.

The VPGC retains and supervises outside counsel when prudent.

The VPGC works closely with the University Secretary on all matters with legal implications that come before the Board.

The VPGC provides advice to the president and university leadership on a variety of legal and non-legal matters including Title IX, collective bargaining, NCAA and Pac12 governance and compliance, public records, risk management, FERPA, and diversity.  S/he will also work with the government and community affairs staff with respect to existing and emerging higher education legislation.

The VPGC will oversee the Office of Public Records and the university’s Records Management Services, which currently include three employees. 

This position supervises the staff in the Office of General Counsel, which currently includes five attorneys (other than the VPGC), one executive assistant/operations manager, and one legal assistant.

Required Qualifications

  • Possess a law degree from an accredited law school.
  • Be a member of, or qualified for admission to, the Oregon State Bar.
  • Have at least fifteen (15) years of recent law practice experience. Substantial experience managing, directing, and coordinating the workload and work product of other attorneys, including outside counsel.
  • Demonstrated impeccable analytical, interpersonal, and written and oral communication skills, as well as high ethical standards, mature judgment, and the capacity to foster constructive outcomes in a complex environment involving an array of distinct stakeholders from diverse backgrounds.
  • Demonstrated ability to identify and predict potential long-term legal issues or the long-term implications of legal decisions.
  • Demonstrated competence and confidence to operate with credibility at the senior executive level; maintaining objectivity while promoting appropriate outcomes, managing multiple stakeholder agendas, and upholding excellent client service standards.
  • Possess superior intellect, flexibility, creativity, and the aptitude to be a true "generalist."
  • Notable experience demonstrating equity and inclusion to enable success for people from all walks of life while sharing common, fundamental values grounded in justice, civility, and respect while looking to diversity as a source of enrichment and strength.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Substantial experience handling the legal work of a large organization, preferably within a research-intensive university.
  • Five years of experience in higher education, preferably at an AAU public university.
  • Demonstrated familiarity with public institution and public ethics laws.
  • Demonstrated familiarity with public records and records retention law, issues,and management.

Application Procedures

The Vice President and General Counsel will be serving an increasingly culturally diverse community. Candidates who share our commitment to diversity, and who have the ability to build understanding and resolve conflict across cultural and other differences are particularly encouraged to apply. The finalist for this position will be required to complete a criminal background check. To ensure full consideration, please submit application materials by June 26, 2015; this position will remain open until filled. Applicants should submit the following documents:

  • A cover letter that directly addresses the applicant’s qualifications and interest in the position;
  • A detailed resume or curriculum vita; and
  • The names and complete contact information for at least three professional references who can comment on the applicant’s qualifications for this position. References will be kept confidential and will not be contacted prior to notifying the applicant.

Electronic submissions are preferred and should be sent via email as one single PDF (preferred) or Word document to nfish@uoregon.edu (subject line should read “Application for General Counsel”).

Paper applications may be sent to:

Search Committee, General Counsel
President’s Office
110 Johnson Hall
1226 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1226

NOTE: Individuals who submitted applications for the General Counsel search conducted earlier this year (posting #15003) who meet the minimum qualifications for this posting may apply without re-submitting application materials. Please email nfish@uoregon.edu and indicate your desire to have application materials transferred from posting #15003 to posting #15212.

The University of Oregon is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the ADA. The University encourages all qualified individuals to apply, and does not discriminate on the basis of any protected status, including veteran and disability status.