Closing Date: 13th June, 2024


Position Overview:
A Public University in Allendale Charter Township, Michigan invites applications for the position of General Counsel, to work with a dynamic and energetic president and senior leadership team. The General Counsel will be a key member of the Senior Leadership Team and President's Council, which are the strategic leadership teams of the university. The General Counsel will join A Public University in Allendale Charter Township, Michigan at a critical and exciting moment in the University's trajectory, with growth and momentum in admissions, fundraising, and capital projects. They will be vital to the implementation of A Public University in Allendale Charter Township, Michigan's ambitious strategic plan and will serve as a trusted advisor. Reporting to the President, the General Counsel will serve as the chief legal officer of the University, coordinate all of GVSU's legal affairs, and provide advice and counsel to A Public University in Allendale Charter Township, Michigan's President, Board of Trustees, executive officers, faculty, and staff. The General Counsel will oversee all outside use of counsel and advise on all legal matters and will be responsible for compliance with federal and local laws governing non-profit institutions of higher learning.

We are seeking a forward-thinking leader who is experienced in advancing innovation within legal frameworks, focusing on areas like commercialization, intellectual property, affiliated research corporations, and other innovation initiatives. The ideal candidate for General Counsel will be a visionary leader deeply committed to fostering an inclusive and equitable environment. This individual will possess strong strategic thinking capabilities, with a proven ability to navigate the complexities of higher education and drive innovation within legal and compliance frameworks. They will be proactive in identifying potential legal challenges and adept at implementing preventive measures to mitigate risks. Additionally, the candidate will be recognized for their creativity and innovative thinking, consistently thinking outside the box and encouraging a culture of innovation among their team and broader university community. This role demands a dynamic individual who not only upholds the law but uses it as a platform for growth and positive change.

Primary Duties:
Candidates with diverse professional backgrounds will be considered, although ideal candidates will have demonstrated experience and success in many of the following areas:
  • Represents GVSU as its chief legal officer, serving as the legal representative of and a senior advisor to the President, the Board of Trustees, executive officers, faculty, and senior staff.
  • Provides comprehensive legal counsel, representation, and oversight on the wide range of legal matters affecting GVSU.
  • Provides advice to all University academic and staff leaders on legal and regulatory matters related to GVSU's activities, transactional matters, dispute resolution, human resources, investigations, and policy formulation, and conducts all necessary and appropriate related legal work
  • Representative areas of law routinely addressed include governance, labor and employment, civil rights (including Title IX and FERPA), tax, real estate, land use and property law, investments, contracts, financing transactional work, complex gifts, research and cooperative agreements, technology licensing, intellectual property, cultural property, insurance, compliance, collective bargaining, and litigation
  • Protects GVSU's institutional integrity, extending to best practices, potential liability, and matters that present substantial institutional risk, advising on issues that present risk of impairment of GVSU's reputation, legal status as a tax-exempt organization, or financial condition
  • Lead the university's legal strategy in innovation projects, including but not limited to intellectual property management, commercialization of research outcomes, establishment and oversight of affiliated research corporations, and support for startup initiatives emerging from university research
  • Manages the operations and workload of the General Counsel office using advanced IT tools and systems
  • Ensures compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and rules enforced by U.S. federal, state, and local regulators and appropriate global regulators, developing good relationships with relevant regulators
  • Leads a service-oriented office of legal affairs at GVSU, overseeing a team that includes a Deputy General Counsel, Assistant Counsel, Paralegal, and Executive Assistant to ensure high standards of legal service and compliance across the university.
  • Selects and supervises outside legal counsel, including in transactions, contracting, litigation, and regulatory matters. The General Counsel and the President are the only officials authorized to engage or approve the engagement of outside counsel on behalf of the university.
  • Serves as an ally in advancing innovative university ideas and practices, while addressing any legal concerns
  • Oversees the status of the university as a tax-exempt organization

Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
  • Juris Doctor (JD) degree from an accredited law school.
  • Admission to practice law in the state of Michigan, or ability to gain admission within one year of hire.
  • Minimum of ten years of legal experience, ideally within a higher education environment or a similarly complex organization.
  • Demonstrated experience in intellectual property, commercialization, affiliated entities, and other innovation-related legal areas.
  • Proven ability to lead a legal team and manage external legal resources effectively.
  • Demonstrated commitment to advancing university values for inclusion and equity.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability to advise, persuade, and negotiate with a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Strong analytical and strategic thinking skills, with a proven track record of problem-solving in complex environments.