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What type of legal services does the Office of General Counsel provide?

The Office of General Counsel (“OGC”) oversees the management and provision of all legal services for the University. These legal services cover a variety of fields, including construction and real estate transactions, employment, immigration, governance, student, faculty and staff issues, regulatory compliance, healthcare and intellectual property, among others. When appropriate, the OGC also retains and supervises outside counsel on particular matters requiring specialized expertise.

Who does the OGC represent?

The OGC provides legal advice and representation to the University of Delaware, its schools, academic and administrative departments, and its affiliated entities. This includes providing advice and counsel to the University’s trustees, officers, administrators, faculty and staff acting in their official capacities on a variety of issues affecting the University. The office does not represent individual faculty or staff members in personal legal matters outside the scope of their work for the University. Additionally, the OGC does not provide personal legal services to students of the University.

Can I retain outside counsel for a University matter?

No. The decision to retain outside counsel rests solely with the OGC due to the number of factors required when making a determination to engage outside counsel. Faculty, staff and students may not employ outside attorneys to represent or provide legal services to the University or its affiliated entities. University personnel should not contact outside counsel concerning University business without first consulting the OGC. Additionally, all communications from outside attorneys should be referred to the OGC promptly.

Do I have signature authority to sign contracts or to enter into a transaction on behalf of the University?

Every individual signing a contract on behalf of the University must have written signature authority to do so (see Contract Review and Approval Policy, Section IV.C). In general, the Contract Review and Approval Policy grants signature authority to authorized individuals only depending upon the value and type of contract as stated in the Policy.

I received a subpoena to appear as a witness in a case. What should I do?

If you have been subpoenaed in connection with your duties or activities at the University, contact the OGC for further instructions. If you have been subpoenaed in a matter unrelated to the University, you will need to consult personal legal counsel.

I received a subpoena to turn over documents (a subpoena duces tecum) relating to University business. How should I respond?

Documents should not be turned over to anyone without first consulting the OGC (see Policy 6.1, “Legal Requests for Information and Records” Policy). A copy of the subpoena should be immediately forwarded to the OGC, as a deadline to respond is imposed on the University. An attorney in the OGC will work with you to gather responsive documents and take appropriate legal action with respect to the requested documents and the subpoena.

I received a bankruptcy notice where the University is listed as a creditor. What should I do?

You should forward a copy of the notice to the OGC. Our office will investigate any potential claim and take appropriate legal action to protect the University’s interest in the bankruptcy matter.

I have been contacted by a law enforcement officer or law enforcement agency about University matters. What should I do?

When contacted by law enforcement officials, including the FBI, the police or other enforcing agencies seeking access to University records and files or requesting to interview University faculty or staff regarding University matters, politely inform the officer that the University will generally cooperate but only in consultation with its legal counsel. Request a copy of any subpoena or search warrant produced by the officer and contact the OGC immediately for further instructions.

I am being sued. Will the Office of General Counsel represent me?

If you are being sued as a result of activities performed within the scope of your University employment, the University will provide protection from liability for such activities in accordance with the University’s policy on indemnification (Policy 4-108, “Indemnification of Employees and Agents Who are Not Trustees or Officers).

If you are being sued in your individual capacity for activities unrelated to the University, the OGC cannot represent you, defend you or refer you to specific counsel. However, you may want to contact The Delaware State Bar Association for lawyer referral services assistance.

What should I do if someone tries to serve me with legal documents?

In accordance with University policy (Policy 6.1, “Legal Requests for Information and Records”), only the OGC should accept service of legal process (such as a summons and complaint) for the University. If a process server attempts to serve you with documents for the University, you should politely decline and direct the server to the OGC. If you are served documents that name you individually but in your official capacity with the University, you can accept service on your own behalf. In such an event, notify the OGC immediately and forward the document(s) to this office. You may wish to keep a copy for your records. The OGC will review the documents and contact you to discuss your further involvement, if any.