Outside Counsel Policy

Policy Number: #900

Responsible Executive(s):

  • President

Responsible Office(s):

  • Office of Legal Counsel

Date Adopted: 12-12-2023

A. Purpose

The University's Chief Legal Officer is responsible for the provision of legal services to the University. As a general matter, that means that the Chief Legal Officer directly provides legal services and counseling to all Divisions of the University for all matters related to the operation of the University. In some instances, however, the Chief Legal Officer will determine that either special expertise is necessary or that timing dictates that outside legal counsel be engaged. To that end, this Policy addresses the manner in which the University will engage outside legal counsel.

B. Scope

C. Policy

All outside legal counsel must be approved by the Chief Legal Officer, regardless of funding source used to cover their costs. An Employee who violates this Policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

The following steps should be followed when requesting the use of outside legal counsel:

  1. The Budget Administrator must contact Chief Legal Officer to communicate: (a) the issues involved, (b) the reason(s) outside legal advice is requested, (c) the University's proposed budget for the advice (do not contact the law firm directly for this one), and (d) the proposed outside legal counsel, if applicable.
  2. The Chief Legal Officer will determine whether the matter may be handled more effectively in-house or by another outside counsel.
  3. If the Chief Legal Officer determines that outside counsel should be retained, the Chief Legal Officer will select outside counsel.
  4. Once outside counsel is selected, Chief Legal Officer will solicit an engagement letter from the outside counsel, will review and negotiate the engagement letter and if approved, will sign and return to outside counsel and Budget Administrator. Once the engagement is finalized, it will be communicated to the Budget Administrator so they can begin working with outside counsel. Outside counsel will be expected to provide to the Chief Legal Officer regular bills, periodic updates on the status of the matter, and notification when the matter has come to an end. The Chief Legal Officer will provide regular updates to all impacted stakeholders.

D. Definitions

  1. Employee means all employees (including administrators, faculty, and staff), contractors, and volunteers.
  2. Budget Administrator means a Vice President or their authorized designee who is responsible for maintaining the budget for the Division or unit.

E. Related Policies, Procedures, Forms and Other Resources

F. End Notes