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Excelsior College General Counsel in Albany, New York

**Closing Date: October 14, 2020

As the chief legal officer of Excelsior College, the general counsel (GC) is an integral part of the senior leadership team. The incumbent is a seasoned attorney with significant experience in the higher education regulatory landscape. As chief legal counsel, the GC identifies regulatory risks and opportunities; oversees all of the College’s legal activities; provides advice and counsel to the President, senior leadership team, Board of Trustees, and staff; supervises the deputy counsel and other legal team members; procures, coordinates and manages the provision of legal services by outside counsel; and broadly assists trustees, officers of the institution, and staff in carrying out the mission of the institution. In brief, the GC is both a strategist and practitioner, supporting and protecting the interests of the College and its constituencies. While the College’s primary offices are based in Albany, NY and the incumbent will be expected to spend considerable time there, we are open to alternative location arrangements.

*ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: *includes the following: Other duties may be assigned.

  • Serves as a member of the executive team of the College providing strategic legal advice to advance the mission and interests of the institution.
  • Provides legal counsel and guidance to the President, officers of the institution and other staff on all legal matters, including federal, state and local laws, labor law, policies, procedures, rules and regulations, and laws pertaining to students, U.S. Department of Education regulations and guidance, real estate transactions, contracts and grants, tax matters, board governance, worker’s compensation, liability and insurance matters, intellectual property (IP), affirmative action, and all other relevant laws and regulations.
  • Understands and participates in discussions with the regulatory structures that support higher education, the online sector, and the specialty accreditors of the College; seeks opportunities to advance the College’s interests with federal, state and other higher education-related regulators.
  • Anticipates and identifies legal risks and counsels officers of the institution and other upper management in order to develop legal strategies and solutions to minimize risks.
  • Participates in the selection of, coordinates, and manages the activities of outside counsel, as necessary, for special needs such as litigation, intellectual property law, complex real property, and financial and contractual transactions.
  • Oversees and manages the budget of the Counsel’s office.
  • Prepares for and attends quarterly and as needed Board of Trustees meetings.
  • Drafts, reviews, and negotiates the College’s contracts with vendors, consultants, partners, other colleges, etc.
  • Updates the Counsel’s office risk assessment annually.
  • Supervises and oversees the work of other legal staff, including Deputy Counsel and Paralegal.
  • Liaises with outside counsel as needed.
  • Provides strategic legal counsel to College staff, leadership, and Board of Trustees.
  • Represents or oversees the representation of the institution, and management in judicial and administrative proceedings at the local, state and federal levels.
  • Designs, establishes, and maintains an organizational structure and staffing of the office of counsel to effectively accomplish the organization’s goals and objectives; recruits, employs, trains, supervises, and evaluates unit staff.
  • Writes, reviews and updates legal/compliance policies and procedures for the College.
  • Provides legal advice regarding College grants, contracts, and related matters.
  • Serves on and/or chairs various College councils, task forces etc. and ensures Counsel’s office representation on the College Management Council.
  • Provides training to staff on legal issues through meetings, webinars, or workshops.
  • Serves as an advocate for the College.
  • Participates in the College’s strategic planning process.
  • Provides counsel to the Crisis Management Group, Bursar, Provost, Registrar, and other regulated offices.
  • Engages in scholarship and professional development to represent the College regionally and nationally.

Q*UAL*IFICATIONS: **To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Juris Doctor degree from an American Bar Association approved law school
  • Professional experience in education policy and contract law preferred.
  • Proven track record of applying strategic legal and regulatory guidance that serves the overall interests of the institution; experience working with the U.S. Department of Education and other higher education regulators highly desirable.
  • Experience working in a higher education institution or similar experience and understanding of the higher education landscape.
  • Strong supervisory experience with proven track record of nurturing and supporting staff.
  • Excellent prioritization and organizational skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills.
  • Ability to effectively interact with constituencies at all levels, both internally and externally, often under stressful conditions.
  • Well-developed problem-solving, judgment, research, and critical thinking skills
  • Ability to work independently and on a team, dealing appropriately with confidential situations and information.
  • High degree of accuracy and attention to detail.
  • Ability to meet deadlines and multitask in a busy office.
  • Willing and able to work flexible hours.


  • Must be an attorney admitted to the New York State Bar, 10 years experience in legal practice.
  • Experience with the higher education regulatory landscape, intellectual property, and related matters strongly preferred. Some overnight travel required.