Welcome to the Office of General Counsel

MISSION

The mission of the Office of General Counsel is to provide high quality legal services and to protect, advance and advocate the legal rights and responsibilities of The University of the South in support of the University’s mission.  The Office of General Counsel provides legal advice and counsel to the Board of Trustees, Board of Regents, the Vice-Chancellor and others on legal matters pertaining to their responsibilities on behalf of the University.

More specifically, the Office of General Counsel provides a wide variety of legal services, including:
• Advice and oversight on statutory/regulatory compliance issues and programs
• Education and training of administrators, faculty, and staff on legal issues affecting the University
• Representation of the University in litigation
• Review and revision of University policies, procedures, and publications
• Advice to official University committees
• Supervision of outside counsel retained to assist with matters requiring specialized legal expertise

CONFIDENTIALITY OF COMMUNICATIONS

The ethical obligations of General Counsel are to represent, protect, and defend the best interests of the University.  The University ultimately acts through the Boards of Regents and Trustees, officers and other members of the administration, and employees.  Generally, under the attorney-client privilege, oral and written communications that University officials have with General Counsel (and other attorneys retained to advise the University for the purpose of obtaining legal advice about University matters) are protected from disclosure to third parties.  Federal and state law provide that all communications between lawyers and their clients in connection with the lawyer’s providing legal advice are confidential, or “privileged.”  This attorney-client privilege is a fundamental protection, which allows clients to speak freely with their attorneys, and allows attorneys to provide candid advice. For the privilege to apply, neither the lawyer nor the client may discuss or share their communications with any third party, which includes forwarding an electronic version of the advice.  To do so risks “waiving” the privilege; this means that third parties would be entitled to explore any and all communications related to that topic in the event of litigation about that matter.

General Counsel’s obligations to the University may require disclosure to appropriate University administrators with a legitimate need to know of certain confidential matters including those that may trigger an obligation for the University to take action or that may present particular legal risks to the University.