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NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY
HUMAN RESOURCES SERVICES

POSITION CLASSIFICATION DESCRIPTION


Position Classification Title: General Counsel
Position Classification Code: I1002
Job Family: Executive, Senior Administration
Pay Level: 29
Exempt Status: Exempt
This description is intended to describe the general nature of the work being performed. It is not intended to be a complete list of specific duties of any particular position. Duties, responsibilities and bargaining unit eligibility may vary based on the specific tasks assigned to the position.
Purpose of Classification:
As Chief Legal Affairs Officer, serves as a member of the institution’s senior leadership team. The Chief Legal Officer is responsible for positioning the University General Counsel unit to be a strategic contributor to the University and achievement of its mission through ongoing collaboration with University leadership, regular engagement with University staff, training, education, and timely policy guidance. The General Counsel provides management and oversight of NMSU’s broad and complex legal responsibilities, including, but not limited to: business transactions including procurement; federal, state and local regulatory matters; internal policy development; research compliance; athletics; employment law; litigation oversight and support; intellectual property law; academic affiliation agreements and international academic arrangements; campus safety and security; privacy; New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act; New Mexico Open Meetings Act; and student affairs.
Standard Duties:
Provides legal counsel and representation to the University (including the Board of Regents, Chancellor, Presidents, senior administrators, and faculty and staff, in their official capacities) on the full range of NMSU legal concerns and serves as the primary point of contact on all University legal issues. Direct responsibilities include: Manage all lawsuits including: coordination of reports to state risk manage division; appointment of outside counsel; issuance of litigation holds; discovery support for outside counsel; witness preparation; participation in mediation and settlement efforts with outside counsel; and regular information reports to Board and Chancellor. Prepare response and defend actions or charges filed with state or federal agencies against the University, in coordination with relevant university departments, and if necessary, retained outside counsel. Serve as the primary point of legal contact and coordination between the University and local, state, and federal regulatory agencies and, in coordination with the NMSU Police department, outside law enforcement agencies. Direct and oversee NMSU’s University General Counsel department, through management of attorneys and support staff, as well as budget and resources. Ensure the team’s work is efficient, accurate, goal directed, and in support of the University’s mission. Determine priorities, and assign and manage efficient coverage of the University’s legal issue portfolio. Supervise the NMSU’s Athletic Compliance Department and NMSU’s Office of Institutional Equity including their respective directors, staff, budget and resources. Select and retain outside counsel, as required, to obtain legal opinions on complex issues or to handle claims and litigation for which the state does not provide coverage. In coordination with NMSU Procurement services, develop contracts for legal services and retain and manage relationship with outside counsel on behalf of the University. Proactively work with University leadership to ensure campus activities and practices are in compliance with federal and state laws and with University and System policies. Assist in the development and maintenance of a robust framework of internal controls for evaluation and protection of the University’s legal interests and reduction of legal risks. Provide leadership and ongoing communication/training on legal and risk management topics relevant to the University community, and regularly consult with University management to promote institutional compliance with law and policy. Maintain expertise on current and emerging higher education legal issues and challenges. Provide oversight to the administration of open records policies and practices in compliance with the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act and related statutes. Manage the university’s process for development and adoption of policy and rules and maintain websites with official university rules and policies, as well as historical records regarding changes in policy. Recommend and advocate for changes in policy and rules as needed for institutional governance, legal compliance and operational effectiveness. Anticipate and identify legal issues and counsel officers of the institution in order to develop legal strategies and solutions, often in situations of great political, public relations, or financial risk or significance, and with limited time for assessing alternatives. Provide legal counsel and guidance to the officers of the institution and other upper management on all legal matters relevant to a large public institution, including business transactions including procurement; federal, state and local regulatory matters; research compliance; athletics; employment law; litigation oversight and support; intellectual property law; academic affiliation agreements and international academic arrangements; campus safety and security; privacy; New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act; New Mexico Open Meetings Act; and student affairs. Draft or review and recommend revisions to contracts, leases, policy statements, templates for routine matters and other legal documents. Review, research, interpret, and prepare both written and oral legal opinions on a wide variety of legal issues. Perform miscellaneous job-related duties as assigned.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
Laws and legal principles related to the broad range of legal topics commonly encountered in higher education including legal restrictions on public entities, the legal environment of higher education and business and real estate transactions. Understanding of the University’s mission, vision and goals.
Strong interpersonal and organizational communication skills, both oral and written. Short- and long-term planning; problem analysis and resolution; report preparation; presentation and training.
Scrupulous observance of confidentiality and discretion with sensitive information; develop and maintain effective working relationships within the University General Counsel unit as well as with the broader university community and external constituents; prioritize and complete projects while addressing frequent urgent interruptions; manage and utilize system for accurate and orderly records; use independent judgment and initiative; organize and direct routine office and personnel management activities.
Minimum Qualifications:
   Education- Doctor of Jurisprudence from a law school accredited by the Association of American Law Schools.
   Experience- Ten (10) years of professional experience related to the duties associated with this position.
   Equivalency- None
   Certifications/License-
   Departmental Requirements-
   Special Requirements-