TAP No. 64: Legal Services
This Policy applies to Duquesne University members, directors, officers, trustees, administrators, faculty, staff, and any other employees acting in their official capacities.
Consistent with the requirements of the University Bylaws, this Policy sets forth the responsibilities of the Office of Legal Affairs for providing Legal Services to Duquesne University and the responsibilities of the University community relating to the provision of Legal Services for or on behalf of Duquesne University. Compliance with this Policy enables the University to: safeguard its legal rights, protections, and opportunities; reduce uncertainty and disruption in its affairs; and minimize the risk of litigation, all in support of the University's mission.
Covered Persons: Covered Persons include Duquesne University members, directors, officers, trustees, administrators, faculty, staff, and any other employees acting in their official capacities.
Legal Services: Legal Services means providing legal advice, counsel, representation, or opinion with respect to University affairs and providing legal representation of the University in actual or anticipated legal proceedings involving the University. See also section I.E below.
University attorney(s): A University attorney is an attorney who works in or reports to the Office of Legal Affairs, who was hired for the purposes of providing Legal Services to the University, and who is licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This includes attorneys in the Office of Legal Affairs and attorneys external to the University retained through the Office of Legal Affairs (sometimes referred to as outside counsel).
Although the University employs individuals with law degrees in positions throughout the University, unless that employee works in or reports to the Office of Legal Affairs under the direction of the University's Senior Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel, such an employee in their course of employment is not acting as a University attorney, is not providing Legal Services, and conversations with that employee are generally not privileged (see I.D below).
The Office of Legal Affairs is responsible for all legal affairs of the University and provides Legal Services to Duquesne University. Duquesne University and its schools and departments are one legal entity, and in that capacity, University attorneys within and/or reporting to the Office of Legal Affairs advise Covered Persons on various matters impacting the University.
The Office of Legal Affairs will defend and/or indemnify Covered Persons in connection with actual or threatened legal proceedings that arise out of their actions that are within the scope of their University duties and authority under the terms and conditions set forth in Article XVIII of the University's bylaws.
If a conflict of interest arises during the course of any representation of both the University and one or more Covered Persons, University attorneys will cease representation of the Covered Person and remain counsel to the University. Individuals under such circumstances are responsible for retaining their own counsel, should they choose to do so. The University, in its sole discretion, may or may not fund such representation.
The University and University attorneys will not provide legal advice or representation to Covered Persons regarding personal legal matters outside the scope of work activities. Additionally, the University and University attorneys will not provide legal advice or representation to students.
- Waivers of Conflicts of Interest
Only the Senior Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel has the authority to waive actual or potential conflicts of interest on the University's behalf relating to the legal affairs of the University.
The attorney-client privilege protects the confidentiality of oral, written, or electronic communications between University attorneys and their clients when the communication is for the purposes of requesting or receiving legal advice and when the communication is made in confidence and kept confidential. The purpose of this privilege is to encourage individuals, offices, and departments to seek legal advice and to ensure forthright communication with their attorneys. The University, and not the individuals involved, holds the privilege.
Communications must be kept confidential for the privilege to apply. If the substance of attorney-client communication is disclosed to persons outside the University, or even to persons within the University who are not directly involved in the matter, the privilege may be lost. Therefore, before a communication with a University attorney that contains legal advice is shared or forwarded, the University attorney should be consulted for approval.
- Legal Services
The Office of Legal Affairs supports the University through, among other things: advice and counsel on local, state, and federal laws and regulations; actual and anticipated litigation and regulatory actions; engagement of outside counsel; contract review and drafting; policy analysis and development; risk management; and advice and counsel on a variety of topics such as labor and employment, intellectual property, research, compliance, athletics, and student and faculty matters.
Any employee who believes that a University attorney's advice might be helpful or necessary on a particular matter should contact the Office of Legal Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org. Situations where input from the Office of Legal Affairs should be sought include, but are not limited to, situations involving a potential institutional risk of civil or criminal liability, such as a notice of a governmental investigation, the termination of an employee, student suspension or dismissal, press inquiries, or litigation.
- Contract and Agreement Review
Any proposed contract or agreement to which the University is a party must be reviewed by the Office of Legal Affairs before it is signed by an officer of the University with authority to sign such contract or agreement (the President, the Executive Vice President and Provost, or the Senior Vice President for Finance and Business), unless it is based wholly on, meaning there are no changes to, a University contract template that has been preapproved by the Office of Legal Affairs. Business and academic terms should be reviewed by the individual and/or department responsible for the subject matter of the contract/agreement prior to review by the Office of Legal Affairs. Contracts should be provided to the Office of Legal Affairs as far in advance as possible to enable time for review.
- Subpoenas and Other Legal Papers
All subpoenas and requests for records, including those issued by a law enforcement officer or government agency, should be referred to the Office of Legal Affairs for response.
Similarly, individuals outside of the Office of Legal Affairs should not accept service of any legal complaint filed against the University. All such complaints and individuals serving such complaints should be referred to the Office of Legal Affairs for handling.
- Outside Counsel
Only the Senior Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel has the authority to select and hire outside counsel on behalf of the University. Individual members, officers, administrators, faculty, and staff are not authorized to contact outside counsel directly on University business without the prior permission of the Senior Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel and/or the University attorney with whom the outside counsel is working on a particular matter.
II. Related Information
Article XVIII of the University's bylaws
Violations of this Policy will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and are subject to formal disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.
Most recent update: September 2022.
V. Ownership of Policy
The Office of Legal Affairs