General Counsel

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General Counsel
State University of New York System Administration

The State University of New York (SUNY) invites applications for the position of General Counsel and Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs in the Office of General Counsel. The State University of New York System is the largest system of higher education in the country, serving more than 420,000 students in degree-granting programs, and 1.4M students total. SUNY also employs more than 91,000 faculty and staff statewide. The System includes 29 state-operated campuses, 30 community colleges and five statutory colleges administered by private institutions of higher education located throughout the State. 

The System includes diverse educational and research institutions, including three hospitals, a maritime college, a school of law, four medical schools, two dental schools, a college of optometry and a national lab.

The Office of General Counsel provides legal services and support to the Board of Trustees, the Chancellor and senior officers in the System Administration and the presidents and administrators of the campuses within the System.  Under the leadership of Chancellor Jim Malatras, the General Counsel will join a highly collaborative executive leadership team working to advance the Chancellor’s strategic priorities. 

The General Counsel is the chief legal officer of the State University of New York who serves as principal legal counsel to the Board of Trustees, the Chancellor, System Administration and the presidents of the state-operated campuses of SUNY. The General Counsel provides general legal guidance and assistance to the presidents of the community colleges operating under the program of the State University of New York which also have their own legal representation provided by their sponsors or directly.

The General Counsel will report to the Chancellor, and serve as a member of the Chancellor's Executive Leadership Team. The General Counsel will manage and supervise an office consisting of 45 experienced higher education attorneys, and 7 paralegals, located in Albany at the System Administration headquarters and in campus-based offices at the four University Centers, Health Science Centers, and various SUNY colleges. The General Counsel will be expected to maintain a primary residence in the Capital Region of New York State, traveling frequently to New York City as required.

The legal practice of the Office of General Counsel involves a substantial array of topics, including public procurement, governance and ethics, legislation, health care, capital construction, public finance, labor grievances and arbitration, litigation oversight (the State's Attorney General defends litigation brought against the University), student affairs, and the use of real property.  The General Counsel represents the University in interactions with State officials who may regulate the affairs of the University, including the Attorney General, State Comptroller, the Governor and staff, and members of the State Legislature and staff as well as other state and local agencies and entities.

Candidates must have graduated from an ABA accredited law school and be a member in good standing of the State Bar of New York, or be eligible for and achieve admission to the State Bar of New York within one year of the date of appointment.

Candidates should have a minimum of ten years of significant and progressively responsible legal experience. An institution of higher education or a related research institution is helpful but not mandatory. Management and supervisory experience in a (preferably, similarly-sized) legal office setting is also required. Experience in the public sector and in a unionized environment is useful.

Preferred Qualifications:
Because of the unique structure of the State University of New York system, strong leadership qualities, a client-centered approach and a passion for higher education are fundamental to this position. The successful candidate will have a proven record of ability to analyze complex legal issues, and capacity to serve as a creative thinker and problem-solver. Prior experience as part of an executive management team is also valued.

Other attributes that are vital to the position include the ability to work effectively with diverse groups, act as a good team mentor, analyze and interpret state and federal laws and administrative code provisions and review proposed legislation for policy and procedural impact; provide written and oral presentations before various constituents, governmental agencies and outside organizations; provide written and oral advice to clients on a broad array of legal subjects; and develop and explain preventive law programs to clients.

Salary:  Commensurate with qualifications and experience. Excellent fringe benefits.

Interested candidates are invited to apply online at

Candidates should submit a resume, references and a cover letter further detailing how your experience meets the qualifications for this position.

State University of New York System Administration is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, familial status, pregnancy, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, criminal conviction, or retaliation.

Pursuant to Executive Order 161, no State entity, as defined by the Executive Order, is permitted to ask, or mandate, in any form, that an applicant for employment provide his or her current compensation, or any prior compensation history, until such time as the applicant is extended a conditional offer of employment with compensation.  If such information has been requested from you before such time, please contact the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations at (518) 474-6988 or via email at