General Counsel

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General Counsel

Full-time, Regular, Exempt Position

 

The University of Maine System is seeking to hire a General Counsel. The Primary work location is on the Orono campus of the University of Maine. The University of Southern Maine in Portland or the University of Maine at Augusta will be considered with frequent travel to the Orono campus.

The annual salary is competitive, based on the qualifications and experience of the successful applicant, plus a 10% employer contribution to the UMS retirement plan. Additional benefits include medical, dental, vision, and tuition waiver programs for employees and dependents.  The UMS is a recipient of the Wellness Councils of America’s Well Workplace Award and offers a wellness program.

Review of applications begins immediately.  For full consideration, materials must be submitted by February 9, 2022.

Serving as a member of the senior leadership team of the University of Maine System, the General Counsel (“GC”) is responsible for a wide range of legal advice and counsel to System and university clients involving human resources, administrative, regulatory and compliance issues, managing legal resources in a manner that supports the overall priorities of the universities as well as overseeing institutional priorities and compliance.

The GC provides a proactive, highly strategic, and collaborative approach to the legal issues associated with a University faced with economic, demographic, and competitive challenges.  The GC is innovative and entrepreneurial and develops solutions that are balanced with prudent legal advice and effective risk management and that are responsive to external and internal needs in a complex public organization.

 

Essential Duties

  • Provides legal advice and interpretations involving the University of Maine System and campus legal matters and the review and preparation of related instruments, documents, and materials.
  • Report to the Chancellor, senior administrators, and Trustees the matters that significantly affect the legal position of the University and its campuses.
  • Serve as a senior member of the leadership team and provide proactive and highly strategic advice to the Chancellor, trustees, presidents, faculty, staff, and administrators regarding legal issues affecting the University and its campuses.
  • Act as the principal legal representative of the University and campuses in matters involving state and federal court systems, and regulatory and administrative agencies.
  • Advise and recommend policy and procedure changes based on current or emerging case law and precedent and assist the University of Maine System and campuses in the development, preparation, and review of related policies and procedures.
  • Serve as the clearinghouse for all requests for legal assistance from appropriate staff and administrators of the University of Maine System and its campuses.
  • Determine if requests for legal assistance shall be handled internally or referred to outside counsel.  If referred to outside counsel, supervise and monitor such engagements.
  • Manage the Office of General Counsel, consistent with University System policies and procedures, including responsibility for setting and operating within an annual budget.
  • Interpret the constitutional, statutory and regulatory framework in which the University operates and provide legal and policy advice in a variety of areas affecting the University, including, but not limited to, employment law, student legal issues, intellectual property, real estate, contracts, organizational governance, affiliated entities, sponsored research, disabilities, drug-free workplace requirements, computer and information technology issues, copyright issues, defamation issues, civil rights, sexual harassment, fundraising and other areas related to an academic legal environment. 
  • Manage outside counsel and litigation and agency complaints, and, in appropriate limited situations, prepare pleadings, briefs, and other legal memoranda as needed to represent the University System in court proceedings and before administrative hearing bodies. 
  • Serve as the clearinghouse for all requests for legal assistance from appropriate staff and administrators of the University and its campuses. Determine if requests for legal assistance shall be handled internally or referred to outside counsel and delegate appropriately. If referred to outside counsel, supervise and monitor such engagements. 
  • Advise and recommend policy and procedure changes based on current or emerging case law and precedent and assist the University of Maine System and campuses in the development, preparation, and review of related policies and procedures. 
  • Assist in identifying and monitoring potential legal issues, provide guidance and develop solutions that reduce risk and result in a prudent legal position.
  • Maintain current knowledge of legal and technical developments in relation to University administration and higher education. 

 

Supervisory Responsibilities

Manage the Office of General Counsel, providing direct supervision of the attorneys (currently including a Senior Associate General Counsel and two Assistant General Counsels) and office staff in it, consistent with University System policies and procedures, and preparing and administering the office’s annual operating budget. 

Supervise full or part-time all university counsel, research interns, and administrative personnel.  Delegate appropriate work to available staff and monitor their current workloads for learning opportunities and stretch assignments by communicating job expectations and effective mentoring and monitoring job performance.

Utilize coaching and mentoring methods to build a culture and environment that is anticipatory and supportive of the needs of my direct reports as well as the employees that they support. Assist employees in goal setting and individual development that serves to advance their professional development and promotional opportunities.

Develop and implement legal education programs for staff and administrators.

 

Reporting Relationship

Reports to the Vice-Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Chief of Staff

Established in 1968, the University of Maine System (UMS) unites six distinctive public universities, comprising 10 campuses and numerous centers, in the common purpose of providing quality higher education while delivering on its traditional tripartite mission of teaching, research, and public service. A comprehensive public institution of higher education, UMS serves more than 30,000 students annually and is supported by the efforts of more than 2,000 full-time and part-time faculty, more than 3,000 regular full-time and part-time staff, and a complement of part-time temporary (adjunct) faculty. Reaching more than 500,000 people annually through educational and cultural offerings, the University of Maine System also benefits from more than two-thirds of its alumni population residing within the state; more than 123,000 individuals. The System consists of six universities: The University of Maine (UMaine), including its regional campus the University of Maine at Machias (UMM); the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA); the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF); the University of Maine at Fort Kent (UMFK), the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI); and the University of Southern Maine (USM).  The System also includes the University of Maine School of Law and the University of Maine Graduate and Professional Center.  

For information about the University of Maine System's COVID-19 response and guidelines for employees, please visit: https://www.maine.edu/together/.

 

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Current knowledge of applicable state or federal laws, rules or regulations affecting higher education and the legal position of the University and its campuses.
  • Ability to identify, research and prepare legal or policy analysis on issues affecting the University and its campuses.
  • Ability to address legal issues to obtain outcomes in the best interest of the University and its campuses.
  • Knowledge of professional practice rules and procedures for federal and state courts, and applicable administrative and regulatory agencies.
  • Ability to plan, supervise, implement and monitor effective strategies for reducing legal exposure.
  • Ability to exercise independent judgment. 
  • Ability to assess the practical, policy, and precedential consequences of decisions and advice.
  • Ability to effectively consult and collaborate with others as appropriate to address matters affecting the legal position of the University or its campuses.
  • Understanding of, and effectively implementing, the role of in-house counsel to a complex and large higher education institution or system.
  • Well organized, efficient, technologically competent, and able to meet external and internal deadlines appropriate for managing a law office within a complex organization.
  • Ability to appropriately respond and communicate on legal and related matters with the Chancellor, University Trustees, campus officials, administrators, faculty, staff, students, other governmental entities, the press, and the public.

 

Note: The University of Maine System reserves the right to assign reasonably related additional duties and to change or reassign job responsibilities.

To apply, please visit: https://maine.hiretouch.com/job-details?jobID=73559&job=general-counsel&collection=true

The successful applicant is subject to appropriate background screening.

 

The University of Maine System is an EEO/AA employer, and does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, transgender status, gender expression, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, genetic information or veteran’s status in employment, education, and all other programs and activities. The following office has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Office of Equal Opportunity, University of Maine, 101 North Stevens Hall, Orono, ME  04469 207-581-1226.  TTY 711 (Maine Relay System).