Frequently Asked Questions
- Who does the Office of the General Counsel represent?
- What type of legal services does the OGC provide?
- Can I retain outside counsel for a university matter?
- Can the OGC represent or give legal advice to individual faculty members or students on non–university matters?
- Which lawyer at the OGC do I contact for my particular legal issue?
- Is what I tell you confidential?
- If I have been served with a subpoena, what should I do?
- I am having problems with my supervisor, where do I go for help?
- How do I report an ethical complaint?
- When is it important to contact university counsel?
Who does the Office of the General Counsel represent?
The Office of the General Counsel (OGC) provides legal advice and representation to Brigham Young University, Brigham Young University–Idaho, Brigham Young University–Hawaii and LDS Business College. Each university or college and all of its schools and departments are one legal entity. In that capacity, OGC attorneys advise the all personnel in their official capacities, on various legal issues.
What type of legal services does the OGC provide?
The OGC is responsible for providing a full range of legal services. OGC attorneys work in a variety of practice areas on campus. Some areas in which OGC attorneys can provide legal advice include labor and employment, business matters, intellectual property rights, contract review, litigation, property acquisitions, student and faculty issues, immigration, and legal compliance.
Can I retain outside counsel for a university matter?
No. Only the OGC can retain outside counsel. The OGC has identified a small group of outside counsel who have the relevant expertise in the legal problems we usually face. Only the OGC can submit and approve legal bills for payment. If you believe outside counsel is needed for your department or administrative unit, you should contact the OGC assigned to your area who will determine whether outside counsel is necessary and appropriate.
Can the OGC represent or give legal advice to individual faculty members or students on non–university matters?
No. The OGC represents only the educational institution, and the OGC works only on campus-related matters. We may be able to refer you to outside attorneys.
Which lawyer at the OGC do I contact for my particular legal issue?
The OGC website lists all the OGC practice areas. Each practice area has a principal attorney at the OGC assigned to it. For example, if your question relates to labor and employment law, you should contact Erik Davis, who has been assigned as the principal attorney in this practice area. If your question does not fall within those groupings, or you are unsure who you should contact, you may contact the General Counsel, who will assign the matter to the appropriate attorney.
Is what I tell you confidential?
The things you say to us may be privileged as to third parties, but not as to other university officials who have a need to know as part of their job responsibilities; however, we will try to keep all information confidential to the extent we reasonably can.
If I have been served with a subpoena, what should I do?
If you receive a subpoena that names you personally in your capacity as a BYU employee or if the subpoena relates to university business, immediately notify the Office of the General Counsel and forward all documents received without signing anything. Only an officer of BYU can sign for a subpoena for it to be considered validly served so, if a process server attempts to serve you with legal documents addressed to the university, you should politely decline and direct him or her to the OGC. If you are served with a subpoena that concerns a non-university matter, you should seek the advice of a private attorney.
Upon review of the subpoena, university counsel will determine if the subpoena was lawfully issued and can provide advice regarding the appropriate response. If the subpoena requests documents, university counsel will determine what, if any, documents the university is legally required to disclose. In no event should you respond to a subpoena or release of documents to a third party without first consulting with the OGC. If the subpoena asks for documents, you should ensure the requested documents are preserved and available for possible production.
I am having problems with my supervisor, where do I go for help?
The Employee Relations Office at BYU addresses problems and complaints related to employment. Specifically, the office provides a confidential setting for university employees to raise questions and concerns about employment such as problems affecting performance and relationships between employees and their managers. You may contact the Employee Relations Manager at 801–422–9065.
How do I report an ethical complaint?
Through BYU’s compliance hotline, which is managed by the outside service provider EthicsPoint, you can anonymously and confidentially report unethical activities on campus. Reports can be made by telephone at 888–238–1062 or online at https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/en/report_custom.asp?clientid=17652.
If possible, and prior to using the compliance hotline, you should raise ethical concerns by reporting them to your supervisor or other appropriate contact person within your campus unit. The compliance hotline is available if you are uncomfortable submitting complaints to your supervisor or if prior reports have not produced satisfactory results.
When is it important to contact university counsel?
Please contact the OGC when you have questions about compliance with state or federal laws, when you need legal documents prepared or reviewed, prior to making a decision that has legal implications, when events transpire that may result in litigation, and when you desire legal guidance related to your role at BYU.