General Counsel (University Counsel)

Website University of Illinois System


The University of Illinois System (University) is pleased to announce the search for General Counsel (University Counsel).  The General Counsel is the chief legal officer for the University of Illinois System and serves as the legal advisor to the Board of Trustees and President. Providing expert legal counsel, guidance, and strategic direction, the General Counsel helps to ensure that the University identifies and manages legal risks effectively. The General Counsel oversees forty-one staff members, primarily attorneys.  The General Counsel has a dual reporting relationship to the Board of Trustees and the President of the University of Illinois System.

The General Counsel is responsible for delivery of legal services to the university, including advice and representation of the institution, its Board members, officers, faculty, and employees acting in the performance of the University’s missions. The General Counsel also interprets federal, state, and local laws and regulations affecting the institution’s operations and policies.

The General Counsel will:
• Oversee and manage legal disputes, potential claims, and litigation involving the institution.
• Manage the Office of General Counsel consisting of attorneys and support staff; recruit, hire, train, supervise and evaluate all attorneys within office.
• Collaborate with external legal counsel when necessary, and represent the institution’s interests in negotiations, mediations, and settlements.
• Advise the Board of Trustees at its meetings regarding legal issues that may arise and serve as Parliamentarian at all Board of Trustees and Board Committee meetings.
• Perform other duties and responsibilities as appropriate for a General Counsel position.

Education Required

1. Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from an American Bar Association accredited Law School.

Certifications Required

Licensed and in good standing to practice law in the State of Illinois, or eligible for admission to practice in Illinois within 12 months of employment.

Requisite Knowledge and Experience

1. Understanding of the legal and regulatory landscape of higher education and extensive knowledge and experience in dealing with the wide variety of laws and legal principles applicable to the operations of a public university or similarly complex organization.

2. Successful experience in overseeing a wide variety of complex legal problems in a university setting or similarly complex organization and achieving the trust and confidence of leadership and other attorneys.

3. A history of successful and progressively responsible work experience as an in-house legal counsel for a public higher education institution or similarly complex institution.

4. Excellent written and oral communication skills, with the ability to convey complex legal concepts to non-legal stakeholders.

5. Demonstrated leadership abilities, including a history of working with and gaining respect and confidence of senior institutional leaders.

6. High ethical standards and a commitment to upholding the institution’s guiding values and mission.

7. An in-depth knowledge of federal and state laws and regulations relevant to higher education, including Title IX, FERPA, ADA, Clery Act, Open Meetings Act, Freedom of Information Act, and others.

8. Demonstrated teamwork abilities, including accessibility, communication, guidance, and support to institutional administrators and in-house attorneys.

9. Meaningful experience supervising attorneys. Experience managing outside law firms/attorneys is preferred.

10. Ability to balance teamwork and supervisory duties with delivery of services directly to others in a timely and high-quality manner.

11. Ability to successfully prioritize, delegate and manage a high-volume of work.

12. Ability to assess legal risks and give prudent advice to achieve the organization’s objectives.

Detailed information can be found by accessing the position profile on the


The University of Illinois System is being assisted by Academic Search. Applications should consist of a substantive cover letter, a CV, and a list of three professional references with full contact information. No references will be contacted without the explicit permission of the candidate.

The position is open until filled, but only applications received by October 31, 2023, can be assured full consideration.

Applications, nominations, and expressions of interest can be submitted electronically to

Confidential discussions about this opportunity may be arranged by contacting any of the Senior Consultants:
Senior Consultants:
John Garland, Esq.
Stacey Foster, JD
Mary Kennard, Esq.

This is a full-time, 12-month Academic Professional position.

The University of Illinois System is an equal opportunity employer, including but not limited to disability and/or veteran status, and complies with all applicable state and federal employment mandates. Please visit Required Employment Notices and Posters to view our non-discrimination statement and find additional information about required background checks, sexual harassment/misconduct disclosures, and employment eligibility review through E-Verify.

Applicants with disabilities are encouraged to apply and may request a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (2008) to complete the application and/or interview process. Requests may be submitted through the reasonable accommodations process by contacting the System Human Resource Services, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at 217-333-2600, or by emailing

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