General Counsel

University of the PacificStockton, CaliforniaFull TimeOn Site

$ 290,000 - 325,000USD Annually

Position Summary Information


Primary Purpose
The General Counsel will serve as the principal legal advisor for the university, with overall responsibility for the vision and leadership of the university’s legal strategy. Reporting to the President, the General Counsel will provide legal advice and counsel to the President, Board of Regents, and other members of the university community on all legal and other significant matters affecting the university and its stakeholders. The General Counsel will serve as a key thought leader and strategic advisor within the community and will be a valued member of the senior leadership team. This is an excellent opportunity to join an outstanding, mission-driven, California institution that is at an exciting juncture with new leadership and tremendous growth potential.

University of the Pacific seeks an inspirational leader with sound judgment and excellent problem-solving abilities. The General Counsel will be expected to thrive in a fast-paced, highly entrepreneurial environment and will be an energetic, creative, and solutions-oriented leader. The successful candidate will simultaneously minimize risk for the institution, while working in conjunction with peers and colleagues to propel Pacific forward during a time of growth and excitement. The successful candidate will put maximum effort into this opportunity, keeping pace with the university’s growth and change, and working seamlessly with a variety of stakeholders throughout the university. The General Counsel will also serve as a strategic thinker who will “get to yes” on critical university priorities, yet will bring strength, courage, and candor to all conversations. They will lead with integrity, demonstrate a high degree of professional ethics, show a deep commitment to the mission of University of the Pacific and higher education.
Essential Functions
    1. Serve as a strategic thought partner to the President, Board of Regents, and university leadership on institutional objectives and priorities.
    2. Develop a vision for the provision of legal services in conjunction with the President and leadership that aligns with the university’s mission and vision, sharing best practices and recommendations for how to best execute legal services at Pacific with an eye to facilitating the university’s growth and pursuit of new opportunities, as well as institutional risk and ongoing support for academic initiatives and programs
    3. Work closely with the President, leadership, and Board of Regents on all governance matters
    4. Provide strategic and ethical leadership and direction for all legal matters involving the university on issues that could range from student, faculty, and staff affairs; regulatory and compliance; athletics; research and financial concerns; business development and new investments; real estate; environmental matters; governmental affairs; strategic initiatives; crisis management; grants and gift planning; legislation; anti-trust; data privacy; public safety; union contracts; international; intellectual property; employment; immigration; and social media policy.
    5. Advise the President and leadership on legal matters involving the university’s activities and operations to ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulations, policies, contracts, and business practices, and to maintain a culture of integrity at the university.
    6. Maintain knowledge and understanding of trends and critical changes in the higher education legal landscape and proactively address the impact of these changes on the university.
    7. Anticipate issues and risks, sharing pertinent information with the President, senior leadership team, Board of Regents, and other relevant parties while developing creative solutions to address various legal risks the university may face
    8. Oversee, manage, and advise on a range of litigation matters and on critical contractual obligations, including legal issues raised within contractual relationships.
    9. Advise and counsel the Division of Student Life on a variety of issues impacting students and campus life including Title IX compliance and sexual assault and other conduct hearings; student disciplinary policies and procedures; student privacy (FERPA); disability accommodation issues for students; and student issues involving the intersection between mental health and conduct issues.
    10. Analyze current inventory of legal needs across the university, external legal resources currently in use, and constituents currently engaging with legal counsel.
    11. Draft, review, guide, and/or advise as necessary on the development of university policies and procedures to ensure compliance with external or internal laws, regulations, and procedures.
    12. Determine when external legal resources will be necessary and retain resources for legal assistance.
    13. Supervise and manage work performed by outside legal counsel
    14. Maintain professional growth and development through seminars, professional affiliations, and other means to keep abreast of developments in legal matters affecting the university’s activities and operations.


University of the Pacific recognizes that diversity, equity, and inclusion is foundational to the success of our valued students and employees. We prioritize policy and decision-making that demonstrates awareness of, and responsiveness to, the ways socio-cultural forces related to race, gender, ability, sexuality, socio-economic status, etc. impede or propel students, faculty, and staff.
Minimum Qualifications
  • J.D. from an accredited law school.
  • Membership in good standing in the California State Bar
  • Fifteen (15) years of progressively responsible legal experience, including at least five (5) years in the field of higher education, either in an in-house Office of General Counsel or with higher education clients.
  • Experience with a comparable private, non-profit institution and its governing board highly desirable.
Preferred Qualifications
  • Demonstrated ability to gain trust, inspire confidence and maintain confidentiality at all levels of an academic institution.
  • High level of analytical and problem-solving skills, and the ability to identify and address issues proactively and pragmatically.
  • Excellent judgment and interpersonal skills, including the ability to appreciate and respect communication and collaboration within a diverse community.
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills, including the ability to effectively communicate complex issues and legal concepts to non-lawyers.
  • Ability to navigate and deal effectively with constituencies at all levels in a complex academic institution.
  • Knowledge of laws, regulations and legal precedents relating to private higher education.
  • Experience and sensitivity in working with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures.
  • Demonstrated experience in advancing social justice, equity, and inclusion in a university setting.
  • Ability to engage and integrate culturally responsive practices and knowledge in their work.
Physical Requirements
The physical demands described here are representative but not definitive of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

There are extended periods of sitting, moderate periods of standing or walking and infrequent bending, kneeling, stooping and climbing stairs. Moderate repetitive use of hands and wrist primarily through use of computer keyboard. May be requested to lift up to 25 lbs.

Work Environment/Work Week/Travel
Work is primarily performed in a standard office environment. Work performed during standard business hours, additional time may be required to meet business needs. Work requires periodic travel between the three campuses of the University. Occasional travel required including to other University campuses, training programs and conferences.

Valid driver’s license required. Incumbent must also be able to meet the University’s fleet rules and be eligible to drive for University business. The University and its insurance carrier reserves the right to exclude applicants based on their driving record.
Hiring Range $290,000.00 - $325,000.00 per year. We consider factors such as, but not limited to, scope and responsibilities of the position, candidate’s qualifications, internal equity, as well as market and organizational considerations when extending an offer.
Background Check Statement

All applicants who receive a conditional offer of employment are required to execute a release and authorization for a background screening.

AA/EEO Policy Statement

University of the Pacific is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer dedicated to workforce diversity. In compliance with applicable law and its own policy, Pacific is committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty and staff and does not discriminate in its hiring of faculty and staff, or in the provision of its employment benefits to its faculty and staff on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, genetic information, sex/gender, marital status, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, medical condition, pregnancy, gender identity, gender expression, or mental or physical disability.

$ 290000 - 325000 USD Annually

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