Advice and Counsel

A man and woman advising another man in a professional environment.

The Office of the General Counsel advises university administrators as they make operational and policy decisions for their institutions.

General Advice. Each attorney in the Office of the General Counsel is assigned to specific practice areas or divisions of campus. When a legal issue arises, university administrator or other contact their assigned attorney and indicate the problem or concern. The attorney then analyzes the problem in light of his or her knowledge of the law. Or, in some cases, the attorney recognizes that the area of law is sufficiently new or nuanced that legal research would be helpful. Once the analysis is developed or complete, the attorney communicates the advice back to the administrator or employee in the form of a memo, e‑mail, phone call, or face-to-face meeting. The administrator is then empowered with the legal analysis needed to make decisions or take action on behalf of the university.

Compliance. Our legal compliance practice has grown and developed in recent years with the ever-increasing body of federal laws and regulations. Even though the Church's higher education institutions are private and religiously affiliated, numerous federal regulations apply, most notably those required to maintain Title IV eligibility for accepting federal funds. As a result, our compliance work has developed into a major area of legal advisory services for the institutions we serve.

Policy. Although not strictly legal in nature, the four institutions have growing policy programs. Many policies are mandated by federal law or regulation. Others, though not legally mandated, specify the institutions' positions on business, education, or employment practices and therefore have legal impact. Although we do not usually act as the policy maker, legal advice is indispensable in developing particular policies. Our office has therefore been tasked with helping create policy and moving proposed policies through the President's Council approval process.

Committees. The Church's four institutions of higher education conduct much of their fact gathering and analysis for educational and operational performance through various committees. (See Committees)

Attorneys from the Office of the General Counsel advice university committees in an effort to empower administrators to make effective, legally sound policy and operational decisions.