University General Counsel
Type of Position
Staff - Full Time
Compliance and General Counsel
July - June (12 mo)
Requested Part-Time Staff Hours
Grant Funded Position?
If temporary (or grant funded) position, indicate ending
Description of Job Duties and Responsibilities
Fairmont State University, a comprehensive regional university in
North Central West Virginia, invites nominations and applications
for University General Counsel. Reporting to the President of the
University, the General Counsel is solely responsible for providing
leadership and in-house legal services for Fairmont State
University. University Legal Counsel provides legal advice to the
President, Board of Governors, Executive Leadership, and senior
academic and non-academic units of the University.
The General Counsel is a member of the President’s Cabinet and
works in close partnership and collaboration with the executive
leadership of the University. The General Counsel reviews and
recommends institutional policies and procedures, reviews and
prepares contracts and other legal documents, and provides legal
opinions to university committees and councils as directed by the
Board of Governors or the University President. The General Counsel
also directs and supervises the University’s compliance division,
including Title VII, Title IX, and Clery Act.
The General Counsel leads the Office of the General Counsel in
working to provide practical and strategic counsel that:
- Reflects Fairmont State University’s mission, vision, and
- Assures compliance with applicable laws
- Makes best use of available resources, consistent with the
University’s strategic priorities
Under the leadership of the General Counsel, the Office will meet
the highest standards of ethics, integrity, and professionalism in
its work and treat clients and counterparties alike with empathy,
dignity, and respect. Additionally, Fairmont State University
places a high value on collegiality, civility, collaboration, and
communication; our next General Counsel is expected to reflect
those values in the operation of his/her duties.
The General Counsel is expected to work creatively with colleagues
to determine the best approach, under the circumstances, develop
creative solutions, and establish systems and practices to maximize
opportunity and reduce the risk for the University. Many topics,
such as student rights, free exercise of religion, intellectual
property, and tenure, are unique to an academic environment.
Knowledge, Skills, Abilities:
- Identify pertinent legal issues and provide a full range of
legal advice to the President and Board of Governors.
- Respond to inquiries from administrators, faculty, and staff,
as well as from university, school, department, and student
committees and organizations on legal matters relevant to the
- Review and draft contracts, agreements and other legal
documents, as well as prepare formal legal opinions and memos.
- Lead the review, formation, and implementation of institutional
policies and procedures, guidelines, and other documents.
- Review and advise on legislation, policies, rules and
regulations. Coordinate the handling of legal issues and concerns
for the institution.
- Conduct legal research and prepare documents, including
opinions, memoranda, briefs, reports, and correspondences.
- Represent the University in hearings, court proceedings, and
other legal proceedings and meetings.
- Prepare presentations, as needed, for the President, meetings
of the Board of Governors, or other administrators.
- Work in conjunction with the WV Higher Education Policy
Commission’s legal counsel for lawsuits, grievances, and
- Serve as the West Virginia Open Records Request officer.
- Administer trademark licensing and enforcement.
- Foster the development and dissemination of knowledge regarding
institutional rights associated with ownership and the benefits
that may be derived from the creation of Intellectual
- Perform other duties and responsibilities as necessary and as
assigned by the University President and/or the Board of
Ability to work effectively and sensitively
in a diverse environment:
Competency working with
faculty, staff, students, administration, alumni, the community,
the Board of Governors, and campus guests of different cultural,
racial, ethnic, citizenship and socioeconomic backgrounds with a
special sensitivity to how personal experience may affect each
individual’s experience in the University environment.
Demonstrated ability to successfully manage an institutional
Ability to provide competent legal
advice and counsel on a wide range of legal and policy issues.
Knowledge of all applicable laws and regulations which impact
University policy and operations. Ability to analyze and interpret
issues and prepare legal memoranda for other University executives.
Ability to supervise and train employees including organizing,
prioritizing, and scheduling work assignments. Knowledge of current
and developing legal trends impacting higher education. Expertise
in conducting legal research. Proven effectiveness as a negotiator,
counselor, and advocate. Knowledge and understanding of
institutional policies and the regulatory environment in which they
operate. Knowledge of contract law. Knowledge of the WV judicial
system and procedures.
Knowledge of legal documentation procedures and
Ability to manage and implement legal
strategies and solutions. Knowledge of community legal resources.
Knowledge of faculty. staff, and administrative hiring
Ability to work with a high level of productivity, attention
to detail, sensitivity, and confidentiality:
Excellent organizational and time management skills with the
ability to set own priorities, to coordinate multiple assignments,
and to be able to fluctuate with time-sensitive deadlines. Upholds
the highest standards in legal ethics, particularly with regard to
confidentiality, privilege, and work product. Uses sound judgment
and strict discretion when communicating.
Excellent computer skills and proficiency with a wide
variety of computer applications:
Word, the full
range of Office 365 applications, enterprise management systems,
communications management systems, and learning management
Broad knowledge of, or ability to quickly
Higher education governance, organizational
structure, instructional programs, and academic policies and
procedures to encompass a global perspective within the University
Proven ability to mentor and work
To foster skill development and
high performance from direct reports in both an individual and
team-wide capacity. Strong management skills, including strategic
planning, ability to manage multiple functions, and skill in
organizing institutional resources to meet goals and objectives.
Demonstrated ability to work with senior officials and executives
from within and without the University. Ability to think
strategically and innovatively and serve as a sounding board for
other top-level executives.
Cultivates connections with others that make a positive
contribution to the well-being of those involved. Works toward a
common objective through the sharing of ideas and distribution of
responsibilities across team members. Has strong interpersonal
including collaboration, professionalism, and
strong consultative skills conducive to building and maintaining
positive relationships with faculty, staff, students,
administrators, and other campus constituencies.
administering budgets. Ability to work collaboratively with
colleagues in budget development and shared resource
Administrative and organizational
Knowledge of best practices in the analysis
and evaluation of university programs, procedures, and policies.
Commitment to applying those best practices to ensure effective
resiliency to promote positive change through adversity, identifies
potential change opportunities, and seeks to adapt to new outcomes.
Assesses and utilizes creative strategies to create individual and
organizational change within a specific situational context.
Minimum Required Education
A Juris Doctor (JD) degree from an American Bar Association ( ABA )
accredited law school is required.
Required Licenses and/or Certifications
Licensed to practice law in the State of West Virginia and a member
in good standing with the West Virginia State Bar.
Minimum Required Qualifications
- At least seven years of legal experience in delivering a broad
range of legal services to or within a complex legal organization
- Experience practicing employment law, relevant administrative
law, or as general counsel is required.
- Experience serving Higher Education clients is highly
- A working understanding of West Virginia state higher education
rules, policies, and systems is preferred.
Posting Detail Information
Number of Vacancies
Anticipated Hire Date
Position End Date (if temporary)
Job Open Date
Job Close Date
Open Until Filled
Special Instructions to Applicants
Quicklink for Posting