The General Counsel serves as the University’s chief legal officer and is responsible for managing the provision of all legal services to the University, including legal counseling and advice to prevent and solve problems, as well as vigorous representation in matters that enter litigation or other dispute resolution arenas. The General Counsel is responsible for leading the Office of General Counsel and its team of attorneys and paralegals, as well as overseeing outside counsel for the University. The General Counsel serves as a member of the President’s Cabinet and reports directly to the President.
This role requires a strategic partner who inspires confidence and trust at all levels and possesses exceptional judgment, the highest ethical standards, and the capacity to communicate in a clear and concise manner while fostering constructive, practical outcomes in a complex environment involving a variety of stakeholders.
A successful candidate will have the ability to prioritize and handle a large number of matters; knowledge of relevant federal and state law and regulations; excellent writing and analytical skills; ability to develop and effectively deliver presentations; skills in examining and re-engineering operations and procedures; ability to develop and implement new strategies and procedures for improvement and efficiencies; strong interpersonal and communication skills that reflect courtesy, diplomacy and a collaborative approach to developing and maintaining effective working relationships; and initiative, self-discipline, and confidence to lead, empower and challenge a team of subordinate staff.
The General Counsel will be responsible for the following duties:
- Serves as the chief legal officer to provide legal counsel and representation to Kansas State University, including its three campuses, veterinary health center, biosecurity research institute, statewide cooperative extension service, and multiple controlled corporations, including K-State Athletics, which participates in the NCAA’s Division I and is a member of the Big 12 Conference.
- Leads and manages the Office of General Counsel, which includes staff attorneys, paralegals, and student employees.
- Manages the office’s budget and oversees all other internal operational matters.
- Represents or oversees the representation of the University and its administrators in judicial and administrative proceedings and in negotiations with other parties.
- Manages and coordinates all outside counsel for the University.
- Serves as a member of the President’s Cabinet.
- Consults and collaborates with counsel for the Kansas Board of Regents and other Regents universities and government agencies to provide consistency in the interpretation, development, and application of state-level policies, laws, and regulations.
- Interprets the constitutional, statutory and regulatory framework in which the University operates and provides legal and policy advice and consultation on a daily basis to administrators, faculty, staff and student leaders in their University roles relating to all University matters having legal implications, representing the University’s best interests at all times. This includes providing timely, accessible, sound legal and policy advice on the full array of legal issues arising in the context of higher education, such as complex compliance matters, general liability, Constitutional rights including due process and free speech, non-discrimination, research activities, international activities, affiliated entities, open records and open meetings, contracts, intellectual property, residency, real estate, computing and information technology including data security, taxation, employment matters, student legal issues, organizational governance, and other matters.
- Advises the leadership of K-State Research and Extension on legal matters impacting the statewide cooperative extension service in Kansas
- Oversees the legal review of all University contracts and assists with drafting and negotiating contracts.
- Works with administrators and campus committees in reviewing, drafting and modifying University policies to ensure compliance with existing and evolving federal and state law.
- Anticipates and identifies legal issues and counsels administrators to develop legal strategies and solutions, often in situations of great political, public relations, or financial risk or significance.
- Proactively considers the needs of various offices and helps to design systems for efficient and ongoing review of transactions and systems having legal implications, such as contracts including international contracts, sponsored research, risk management, open records, open meetings, student and personnel records, student organizations, study abroad programs, employment decisions, and employee and student grievance and adjudicatory processes.
- Advises University task forces and committees representing institutional interests on legal matters
- Conducts outreach activities and provides educational programs and training on a wide variety of legal issues relevant to the University, including presentations, legal alerts, publications, FAQs and other materials, and maintains updated content on the OGC’s website for use by the campus community.
Juris Doctor degree from an ABA-accredited school and 10 years of relevant experience. Must be licensed to practice law in the state of Kansas or admitted to membership within 12 months of hire.
- Significant experience with progressive responsibility and proven success in representing a large public research institution of higher education
- Progressive experience with complex and rapidly developing matters in the areas of civil rights, compliance and risk management, international contracts and activities, sponsored research, data security, employment law, student rights, and other significant legal issues relevant to higher education
- Demonstrated commitment to diversity and an inclusive philosophy in relation to leading and managing the provision of all legal services to the University
- Exceptional analytical, interpersonal, and written and oral communication skills
- Sound judgment and the highest personal and professional integrity
- Exceptional work ethic and demonstrated ability to handle multiple competing priorities under time pressure
- Commitment and ability to work collaboratively, and to communicate effectively, with multiple and diverse constituencies, such as administrators, faculty, staff, students, and community leaders
- Ability to identify potential compliance and legal problems and develop policy and educational initiatives
- Commitment and ability to lead, empower, and delegate effectively to a successful team
- Significant experience working in a research University with the highest Carnegie research activity classification
- Experience with a public land-grant institution
- Experience directly managing or supporting leadership in managing controversial and high-profile issues in the context of higher education
- Experience with Kansas government, laws, and regulations