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General Counsel

Job no: 501183
Work type: Regular
Location: Malibu Campus
Categories: Legal/Auditing, General Counsel

The General Counsel (“GC”) of Pepperdine University serves as chief legal counsel for the University, and as principal legal advisor to the Board of Regents and the executive officers of the University.

The GC provides legal guidance, leadership, and proactive legal counsel for all aspects of University operations, which includes a broad spectrum of matters, including some challenging, complex, and cutting-edge legal issues, while always keeping the University's mission and goals at the forefront. Many topics, such as student rights, free exercise of religion, and tenure are unique to an academic environment, particularly one with a Christian mission based on its strong affiliation with the Churches of Christ.


  • Advise the President, Board of Regents, Vice Presidents, and other administrators on all matters pertaining to applicable litigation, laws, regulations, and other duties under the law;
  • Represent the University in litigation and all legally related matters. Manage University responses to litigation, legal investigations, and other legal proceedings;
  • Maintain expertise and provide legal guidance, updates, reviews, and recommendations on existing and evolving laws (including statutes and regulations) and legal trends involving all aspects of University academic and non-academic operations. Such areas include but are not limited to labor and employment law; administrative and constitutional law; contracts; privacy; academic and research regulations; construction and real property regulations; intellectual property; NCAA compliance; Title IX compliance; and applicability of California, other state, federal, and international laws; 
  • Communicate and confer with external entities, such as legal venues, agencies, university organizations, and other legal consortia that represent the interests of universities on national legal trends for colleges and universities and the development of specific University legal matters; 
  • Supervise the Office of the General Counsel, including assigned staff and attorneys; 
  • Conduct legal research and prepare documents including opinions, memoranda, briefs, reports, and correspondences; -
  • Supervise and coordinate the engagement and work product of outside counsel; 
  • Provide interpretations of existing and emerging laws and regulations, for liability mitigation and other purposes; 
  • Assist with risk assessments and other aspects of University compliance; 
  • Represent the University in hearings, court proceedings, other legal proceedings, and meetings; 
  • Prepare presentations, as needed, for the administration, President, meetings of the Board of Regents, and other settings; 
  • Track public policy issues involving new and evolving laws, including statutes and regulations; 
  • Recommend policy updates and assist with policy development; 
  • Manage and coordinate special projects that are of strategic concern and/or legal importance to the University;
  • Supervise and manage both the office support budget and the budget for the engagement of legal services for the entire organization; 
  • Manage the Assurance and Advisory Services (Internal Audit) Department; and 
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, President, and Board of Regents.

The above information has been designed to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by employees within this classification. It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required of employees assigned to this job.

Performance Expectations

  • Provide mission-oriented counsel;

  • Be dependable, reliable, honest, committed, and act with integrity;

  • Be available when needed (nights, weekends, and so forth);

  • Provide well-reasoned legal analysis;

  • Demonstrate legal and ethical stature, maturity, competence, and confidence to operate with credibility at the executive and Regent level;

  • Demonstrate professional accomplishment at the highest level;

  • Serve as a trusted advisor and confidante to the Chief Operating Officer, Executive Vice President, Provost, and President;

  • Exercise excellent communication skills to engage individuals from inside and outside of the organization and communicate successfully in both arenas;

  • Maintain confidentiality, as the General Counsel has access to the most confidential information;

  • Act collegially, have a collaborative mindset, be a good listener, and be patient with process;

  • Supervise professional team members in an exemplary manner (hire, manage, lead, and mentor employees in alignment with the mission, policies, and Living Pepperdine; set individual and departmental expectations; provide feedback to help team members be successful; cultivate a healthy, effective, and enjoyable work environment to promote loyalty, satisfaction, and retention; effectively distribute responsibilities among team members to ensure an appropriate workload; etc.)

  • Be adept at working in a highly nuanced environment with varied constituencies;

  • Exercise strategic thinking and creative problem solving;

  • Demonstrate a thorough, thoughtful, and decisive approach when handling issues;

  • Demonstrate intellectual and conceptual flexibility, with the ability to analyze, interpret, and present complex ideas and concepts in a clear, concise fashion;

  • Prioritize University needs and execute on them, while paying attention to detail and exhibiting a strong sense of judgment, compassion, wisdom, and humor; and

  • Maintain credibility and the ability to gain the trust of others by providing incisive and mission-focused counsel.

Skills and Qualifications


  • A thorough understanding of and commitment to the mission and vision of the University;

  • J.D. from an accredited law school;

  • A broad, generalist legal experience;

  • Active membership in the California bar or the ability to obtain membership as soon as possible;

  • Superior knowledge of and experience with the broad spectrum of statutes, regulations, and legal procedures relevant to University operations;

  • Exceptional communication skills essential to effectively represent the University senior leadership, President, and Board of Regents in all legal matters;

  • Leadership qualities and expertise necessary to manage the full range of legal functions and the associated legal and administrative staff;

  • Superior management and negotiation skills that demonstrate assurance, creativity, and the ability to adapt and continuously improve the effectiveness of University legal services


  • A legal background in higher education

Qualified individuals should be able to articulate a strong commitment to diversity, and have the ability to work effectively with individuals from different backgrounds.

Offers of employment are contingent upon successful completion of a criminal, education, and employment screening. Qualified individuals with criminal histories will be considered for employment in compliance with applicable laws.

This is a Regular, Exempt, 40 hour per week position.

Salary: Commensurate with experience

Please direct all nominations, applications, and inquiries to CarterBaldwin Executive Search Firm ( Candidates should review the full details and application requirements here

Advertised: Pacific Daylight Time
Applications close:

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