Position Classification Description

Position Class Code / Title: C7002 / Sr Assoc University Counsel
Recruitment Tier: Tier 1
FLSA: Exempt
Grade: 18
HR Review/Approval:COMP

This is a description of a Staff Position Classification. It is not an announcement of a position opening. To view descriptions of current openings, please go to UNMJobs and Search Postings to view positions that are currently accepting applications.

The following statements are intended to describe, in broad terms, the general functions and responsibility levels characteristic of positions assigned to this classification. They should not be viewed as an exhaustive list of the specific duties and prerequisites applicable to individual positions that have been so classified.


Performs complex legal work for the highest levels of University administration in areas of legal specialty and expertise. Supervises and trains less-experienced attorneys and other department professional staff. Represents the University in legal proceedings, or supervises such representation. Analyzes legal and regulatory issues in areas of specialization, and develops or reviews institutional policies.

Duties and Responsibilities

  1. Anticipates and identifies legal issues of concern to senior administrators and executives in order to develop legal strategies and solutions, often in situations of great financial, political and/or public relations risk or significance, and with limited time for assessing alternatives.
  2. Drafts, reviews, and approves policies and procedures, regulations, bylaws, training manuals, and other University documents within legal specialty areas.
  3. Analyzes complex laws and regulations affecting the University in areas of legal specialty; provides legal advice to senior administrators and executives for strategic planning purposes.
  4. Conducts complex legal research and analysis in areas of legal specialty, and prepares opinions of counsel as needed; supervises and critiques legal research of other attorneys and paralegals.
  5. Reviews, drafts, and approves complex contracts which involve great risk or significance to the University including leases, licenses, purchases, sales, insurance, employment, and other relevant legal issues; trains university staff in contract review.
  6. Coordinates legal services for senior administrators and executives within areas of legal specialty; supervises university counsel staff, budgets, and office operations.
  7. Represents senior administrators, executives and managers in administrative hearings, and represents or oversees the representation of the University and its officials in complex litigation.
  8. Negotiates settlements involving complex legal issues or transactions on behalf of the University.
  9. Supervises University attorneys and paralegals working in areas of legal specialty; manages workloads, provides advice and guidance for projects, and conducts performance appraisals.
  10. Supervises and coordinates work of outside attorneys and consults with them on sensitive legal issues.
  11. Conducts training in areas of legal specialty and develops training materials.
  12. Enhances professional growth and development through participation in seminars and workshops; maintains professional affiliations to keep abreast of developments and trends in higher education law.
  13. Performs miscellaneous job-related duties as assigned.

Minimum Job Requirements

  • J.D. or LL.B; at least 7 years of experience directly related to the duties and responsibilities specified. Certifications/ License: Member of NM State Bar, or member in good standing of the State Bar of another state or District of Columbia.
  • Completed degree(s) from an accredited institution that are above the minimum education requirement may be substituted for experience on a year for year basis.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Required

  • Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.
  • Ability to provide competent legal advice and counsel to senior university officials on a wide range of legal and policy issues.
  • Knowledge of human resources concepts, practices, policies, and procedures.
  • Knowledge of the range of applicable laws and regulations which impact on all facets of university policy and operations.
  • Knowledge of organizational structure, workflow, and operating procedures.
  • Knowledge of the judicial system and procedures.
  • Ability to investigate and analyze information and draw conclusions.
  • Ability to supervise and train employees, to include organizing, prioritizing, and scheduling work assignments.
  • Organizing and coordinating skills.
  • Ability to draft legal documents, such as pleadings, legal responses, affidavits, position statements and briefs.
  • Ability to represent University officials in litigation or administrative proceedings.
  • Ability to foster a cooperative work environment.
  • Employee development and performance management skills.
  • Knowledge of the principles and procedures of legal research.
  • Knowledge of contract law.
  • Knowledge and understanding of institutional policies and procedures and the regulatory environment within which they operate.
  • Negotiating skills.
  • Knowledge of legal documentation procedures and requirements.
  • Ability to assess training and in-service needs in area of specialty, and to provide consultation and arrange/facilitate training and seminars.
  • Ability to develop and implement legal strategies and solutions.
  • Ability to supervise and coordinate the work of legal professionals, paraprofessionals, and consultants.

Distinguishing Characteristics

    Position requires: a) Independent provision of professional legal counsel or complex legal issues to the highest levels of University administration; b) performance and coordination of complex legal research on issues of the highest sensitivity and importance to the University; c) preparation, delivery, and review of complex written and verbal legal opinions on matters of the highest sensitivity and importance to the University; d) anticipation and identification of legal problems arising from institutional activities and independent interaction with the highest levels of University administration in problem resolution; e) representation or oversight of representation of senior administrators in administrative and judicial proceedings; f) demonstrated legal specialization in one or more areas of relevance to the institution; g) coordination of legal services to the University in area(s) of specialty, including use of outside counsel; and h) supervision of junior attorneys, outside counsel, paralegals and/or support staff on a functional and/or administrative basis.

Conditions of Employment

  • Employees in this job title are subject to the terms and conditions of an employment contract. Employment contracts are typically subject to review and renewal on an annual basis.
  • Successful candidate who is not a member of the NM State Bar is required to obtain a temporary Public Employee Limited License issued by the NM Supreme Court.
  • Must become a member of the NM State Bar no later than one (1) year after date of hire.
  • Employees who provide services or work in patient care or clinical areas are required to be in compliance with the University's influenza vaccination requirement.

Working Conditions and Physical Effort

  • No or very limited physical effort required.
  • No or very limited exposure to physical risk.
  • Work is normally performed in a typical interior/office work environment.

The University of New Mexico provides all training required by OSHA to ensure employee safety.

Revised Date: 09/23/2020