The PSU Office of the General Counsel

The Office of General Counsel supports the mission of Portland State University by providing legal advice and representation to the University, to its constituent colleges, schools and units, and to its officers and employees while acting on the University’s behalf. The services of the office include advice and counsel on all matters having legal significance for the University, coordination of outside counsel handling lawsuits and specialized matters, assistance with policy development, review of major contracts, assistance with compliance obligations and preventative law training and support.

As counsel for the University, the General Counsel and Assistant General Counsels cannot provide legal advice or representation to individual members of the University community in connection with matters adverse to the University or with other personal matters. If you need personal legal advice or representation, you will need to contact private counsel. The Oregon State Bar provides a referral service that might be able to assist you.

University officials may contact the Office of the General Counsel at any time, but you are encouraged to do so early on for matters in which legal issues are likely to arise. With advance planning, it is often possible to reduce legal risks while still achieving your desired results. If a University official has received a lawsuit, subpoena or other legal notice or document involving the University, please notify the Office of the General Counsel immediately.

A Note Regarding Communications with the Office of the General Counsel

Communications with attorneys for the University are protected by the privilege for attorney-client communications if they are made for the purpose of seeking legal advice on behalf of the University. Please remember that the University, rather than any individual, is the client of the Office of the General Counsel. The Office of the General Counsel may be affirmatively obligated to disclose communications to other University officials if those communications implicate the University’s legal interests.

Communications with the Office of the General Counsel regarding personal legal matters (including matters adverse to the University) or regarding non-legal matters are not privileged or confidential. If you are not sure whether your matter is University-related or personal, check with an attorney in the Office of the General Counsel before sending any communication that you wish to remain confidential.

In addition, although email communications are protected by the attorney-client privilege to the same extent as other communications, please remember that email is never completely secure and that emails are often forwarded or inadvertently circulated to a broader audience. Accordingly, please exercise appropriate discretion when using email to communicate with the Office of the General Counsel regarding sensitive matters. It is best to send such communications to as small a group of persons as possible and to indicate in the email that you intend it to be covered by the attorney-client privilege.  If you are in doubt about the wisdom of sending an email, we encourage you to contact us first by phone.