The General Counsel provides legal oversight and advice on matters related to the University. As the in-house attorney for Stephen F. Austin State University, the General Counsel serves as a problem solver, legal trouble shooter, and adviser to the University, its Board of Regents, administration, faculty and staff, and others acting on the University's behalf. The General Counsel does not serve as anyone's personal attorney and acts only on the University's behalf. The General Counsel reports directly to the Board of Regents.
Major legal areas in which the General Counsel's office is involved include employment law, open government, contracts, constitutional law, intellectual property, torts, and specific knowledge of Texas law and Appropriations Act riders relating to colleges and universities. The General Counsel assists in University policy development and interpretation.
As an agency of the State of Texas, the Office of the Attorney General is responsible for litigation involving the University and its employees. The General Counsel works in cooperation with the Texas Attorney General, legal counsel engaged in private practice, and other legal counsel for agencies of the State of Texas concerning matters that may affect the University. The General Counsel monitors all lawsuits brought against or for the University and assists on the University's behalf.
Communications with the General Counsel are protected by the privilege for attorney-client communications, and therefore are confidential, if they are made for the purpose of seeking legal advice on behalf of the University. Such communications can be revealed only to other University officials, on a need-to-know basis. Communications with the General Counsel on personal legal matters (including matters against the University) or on non-legal matters are not privileged or confidential. The General Counsel may be affirmatively obligated to disclose any such communications to other University officials if the communications implicate the University's legal interests. If you are not sure whether your matter is university-related or a personal one, please check with the Office of the General Counsel before sending any communications that you wish to remain confidential. Although e-mail communications are protected by the attorney-client privilege to the same extent as communications made by other means, e-mail is not completely secure. Individuals are encouraged to exercise appropriate discretion in using e-mail to communicate about sensitive matters.