CUNY Senior University Counsel, Litigation - Office of the General Counsel/Legal Affairs in New York, New York
Senior University Counsel, Litigation - Office of the General Counsel/Legal Affairs
The Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs at The City University of New York (CUNY) seeks an accomplished litigation attorney who is adept in employment and labor law matters for its Senior University Counsel position. The attorney in this executive legal position will provide leadership and expertise as a co-chair of the Litigation, Employment and Student Affairs (LESA) unit, which provides in-house legal advice and representation on a broad array of issues focusing on faculty, staff, and student matters. The LESA Unit handles employee disciplinary proceedings and labor arbitrations of faculty/staff grievances involving the interpretation of collective bargaining agreements; works with the New York State Office of the Attorney General and the NYC Law Department on litigation strategy, including discovery issues, and occasionally handles litigations, civil and criminal subpoena compliance and other court-related matters in-house; handles administrative complaints of discrimination filed with the federal, state, and local agencies; and advises CUNY colleges and units on issues concerning alleged employee or student misconduct. As a senior member of the OGC leadership team, the Senior University Counsel will co-lead the LESA unit of seven or more full-time Associate Attorneys and support staff, serve as a resource for directing the legal services provided by internal attorneys and external counsel, plus manage an assigned caseload of individual legal matters. They will work collaboratively across all OGC units, University and college campus offices to provide legal guidance and develop legal strategies and responses; draft, interpret and implement policies and procedures; identify potential litigation and policy issues and strategies; and handle employee and other confidential matters. This position reports to the University Executive General Counsel/Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs.
The ideal attorney will bring at least 15 years of progressive civil litigation experience to the role, including extensive trial and/or trial preparation, discovery and motion practice experience. They will have a background in handling labor or employment-related cases or issues, as well as direct experience supervising several attorneys. The Senior University Counsel will play a particularly large role in managing the University’s employment, student, tort, and commercial litigations and multiple overlapping proceedings, including investigations, litigations, tort claims, labor arbitrations, and administrative proceedings such as human rights or OCR complaints. The attorney will also provide legal advice to CUNY’s constituent colleges, Central Office administrators, and campus Legal Affairs Designees on a wide variety of matters, including legal issues in education, First Amendment, due process, and other constitutional protections, public employee labor and employment law, college governance, and the interpretation, drafting and revising of CUNY policies, plus overseeing training sessions for campus staff on various legal topics. Flexibility to work a hybrid on-site and remote work schedule until further notice, and ability to travel to college campuses and courts, as needed.
The Office of the General Counsel at CUNY is the system-wide resource for legal advice and representation. The OGC provides legal counsel to the Board of Trustees, the Chancellor, and the University’s 25 constituent colleges. Its services touch all operational areas of the University, and its campuses, and supports CUNY’s decision makers in advancing the University’s educational mission by providing expert, relevant and timely legal advice, guidance and advocacy.
Juris Doctor Degree and 15 years’ related experience as a practicing attorney required, including experience in university, law firm, government or non-profit organization. Current New York State Bar membership in good standing required, or admission in another jurisdiction with eligibility for admission to the NYS bar through reciprocity or passing of the NYS bar exam within one year of hire date required.
Demonstrated experience interpreting laws and organizational regulations, policies, procedures, and guidelines in a complex regulatory environment.
Experience supervising several attorneys and attorney support staff.
The successful candidate will also demonstrate:
Exceptional interpersonal communication, writing, and contract drafting skills, along with strong negotiation, mediation, conflict/dispute resolution, group facilitation, client counseling and presentation skills.
Detail oriented and accurate with exceptional critical analysis, research and evaluation skills.
Strong work ethic, character and personal integrity to work with the utmost professionalism, confidentiality and diplomacy.
Proactive and flexible with ability to take initiative, exercise discretion and tact, use sound judgment to give advice, make decisions, and draw valid conclusions.
Strong organizational skills with ability to establish plans, manage a large and varied workload of assignments with conflicting priorities, follow up and complete work by prescribed deadlines.
Ability to produce results as an individual contributor and as a team member by working effectively, collaboratively, and cooperatively with diverse stakeholders, constituents, and clients of various levels.
Computer Proficiency using standard office programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint), legal software (Westlaw, Lexis, Workshare Compare, Clearwell), e-mail/scheduling programs (Outlook) and virtual meeting/conferencing and collaboration tools (MS Teams, Zoom, Skype, WebEx, etc.).
Commitment to public service, service excellence, inclusion, equity and professional integrity to manage sensitive work, exercise sound judgment, with ability to thrive in a demanding, multi-faceted, and time-sensitive office.
Flexibility to work some early morning hours, evening hours and occasional weekends.
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS
This position is in the University’s Executive Compensation Plan. Salary is commensurate with qualifications, education and experience.
CUNY’s benefits contribute significantly to total compensation, supporting health and wellness, financial well-being, and professional development. We offer a range of health plans, competitive retirement/pension benefits and savings plans, tuition waivers for CUNY graduate study and generous paid time off. Our staff also benefits from the extensive academic, arts, and athletic programs on our campuses and the opportunity to participate in a lively, diverse academic community in one of the greatest cities in the world.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Health Plan Coverage for Employees Hired on or after July 1, 2019
City of New York employees and employees of Participating Employers and their eligible dependents hired on or after July 1, 2019 will only be eligible to enroll in the Emblem Health HIP HMO Preferred Plan and must remain in the HIP HMO Preferred Plan for the first year (365 days) of employment.
After 365 days of employment, the employee will have the option of either remaining in the HIP HMO Preferred Plan or selecting a different health plan within 30 days before the end of the 365th day period. If a new health plan is selected, the new plan will be effective on the 366th day.
Only after the 365th day can the employee participate in any Annual Fall Transfer Period.
An employee who needs to request an exemption from the required enrollment in the HIP HMO Preferred Plan can do so by submitting a HIP HMO Opt-Out Request Form to Emblem Health. An employee, or eligible dependent, must meet certain criteria and the request must be approved by Emblem Health before the exemption is granted. The HIP HMO Opt-Out Request Form and HIP service area are available on the Emblem Health website.
HOW TO APPLY
For full consideration, submit a cover letter and resume online via CUNY's web-based job system, addressing how your experience and credentials fulfill the responsibilities and qualifications outlined. The direct link to the job opening from external sources is:
Current CUNY employees must apply through CUNYfirst Employee Self Service using your login credentials. After you login to CUNYfirst, navigate to job openings by following the path from the Main Menu: Self Service –>Recruiting Activities –>Careers –>Executive
Open until filled. Application reviews begin on November 18, 2021.
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EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY
CUNY encourages people with disabilities, minorities, veterans and women to apply. At CUNY, Italian Americans are also included among our protected groups. Applicants and employees will not be discriminated against on the basis of any legally protected category, including sexual orientation or gender identity. EEO/AA/Vet/Disability Employer.