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Vice President and General Counsel

Barnard College
$300,000 - 400,000/ year
Posted Feb 07
Full Time
RemoteNew York, New York

Job Summary:

Reporting to the President, the Vice President and General Counsel serves as the College’s chief legal officer and is an advisor to the President, senior leadership team, and Board of Trustees, ensuring that expertise in higher education law and policy, creative problem solving, risk identification and mitigation, and legal and statutory compliance are incorporated seamlessly into the College’s day-to-day operations and long term strategic planning.

The ideal candidate is nimble and diplomatic, prepared to lead the College’s risk and compliance management and respond to a wide variety of potential emergencies or issues with reputational impact. The Vice President and General Counsel has excellent management skills and the ability to sustain a best-in-class legal team.



Job Description:

Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Provides strategic counsel to the President, senior leadership team, and Board of Trustees on all aspects of law and governance;

  • Identifies challenges and emerging issues faced by the College, working with leadership teams and staff to recognize legal challenges and solutions, and devise and execute appropriate strategies;

  • Leads the Office of General Counsel;

  • Represents the College in all legal matters;

  • Services as a trusted adviser to the President and the Board of Trustees;

  • Counsels the Board of Trustees, the President, senior leaders, and other persons responsible for the management of academic and administrative units often in situations of great political, public relations, or financial risk or significance, and with limited time for assessing alternatives;

  • Anticipates and identifies legal issues and develops and leads legal strategy to promote and protect the College’s interests;

  • Partners with the senior team to develop a robust, proactive system of risk management and compliance, and then assist those responsible for implementing and/or maintaining it; 

  • Is a member of numerous cross institutional committees;

  • Reviews, researches, interprets, and prepares both written and oral opinions on a wide variety of legal issues;

  • Formulates, reviews, and finalizes policies and procedures, regulations, bylaws, and other governance documents;

  • Maintains knowledge and understanding of trends and critical changes in higher education and proactively addresses the impact of these changes on the College;

  • Represents or oversees the representation of the institution in judicial and administrative proceedings;

  • Selects and retains outside counsel, as required, to obtain legal opinions or to handle claims and litigation;

  • Provides training to the campus community on various legal issues through seminars and meetings;

  • Oversees the College’s labor relations in partnership with Human Resources, including negotiations with the College’s bargaining units;

  • Supports the senior team with external communications, particularly crisis communications strategy and implementation and emergency management; and

  • Performs additional duties and responsibilities in support of the President and Board of Trustees, as needed.



Skills, Qualifications & Requirements:

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:

  • Excellent ability to articulate messages clearly, compellingly and quickly; at all levels and for all audiences;

  • Strong problem-solving skills, editorial judgment, and tactical thinking;

  • Stellar writing and presentation skills that demonstrate versatility, speed and accuracy;

  • High level of discretion, judgment and professionalism; ability to interact and build relationships with a variety of constituents including media, senior leadership, faculty, administrators, students, alumnae, neighbors and elected officials;

  • Ability to produce excellent quality work under pressure;

  • Demonstrated success managing teams, multiple projects and competing priorities within a complex institution;

  • Knowledge of higher education law and applicable regulations that impact College policy and operations;

  • Excellent analytical skills; ability to communicate effectively with diverse clients and other stakeholders representing a broad spectrum of interests;

  • Strong organizational skills; ability to think, plan and execute strategically; customer service orientation and relationship building techniques;

  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to manage and organize multiple priorities simultaneously and the ability to work independently with minimal direction;

  • Excellent research, writing and communication skills; strong representational and presentation skills;

  • Knowledge of the principles and procedures of legal research, legal documentation procedures and requirements; negotiating skills;

  • Knowledge of contract law, general health law, public contracts and procurement, Federal CLERY, FERPA, and Title IX law, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504; ability to develop and implement legal strategies and solutions. Ability to collaborate with judicial, law enforcement, and other entities;

  • Appreciation of and commitment to further the mission, values and goals of the College;

  • Proficiency with Google Suite, Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and similar computer software applications.



  • J.D. degree from an ABA accredited law school

  • Experience with supervision of multiple departments to ensure collaboration and coordination.

  • Experience with the design and maintenance of organizational structures and staffing from a strategic perspective.

  • Membership in good standing in the New York bar, or eligibility to practice law in New York as in-house counsel.

  • Diverse experience across multiple substantive areas of law.

  • Proven record of people and project management with strong leadership, communications and interpersonal skills.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experienced attorney with at least 10 years of progressive success within a college or university setting

  • Experience working with New York City’s legal system

  • Robust understanding of key issues in higher education.

  • Community and/or government relations experience.


Salary Range: $300,000 - $400,000


This job description is intended as a summary of the primary responsibilities of and qualifications for this position.  The job description is not intended as inclusive of all duties an individual in this position might be asked to perform or of all qualifications that may be required either now or in the future.

The salary of the finalist selected for this role will be set based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to departmental budgets, qualifications, experience, education, licenses, specialty, and training. The above hiring range represents the College's good faith and reasonable estimate of the range of possible compensation at the time of posting.




Barnard College



Time Type:

Full time