Associate General Counsel

  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • Aug 01, 2022
Full time Education

Job Description

Rhode Island School of Design actively seeks an Associate General Counsel who serves as an essential resource to constituents across the campus providing advice and counsel regarding compliance and regulatory matters. With a demonstrated commitment to centering inclusivity, diversity, and equity in executing key responsibilities, the Associate General Counsel drafts and/or reviews contracts and complex transactions, oversees claims and litigation, coordinates policy development and review, and performs related areas of work. The ideal candidate serves as a role model to others by using impartiality and tact while engaging in creative problem-solving to resolve legal issues and in preventive law practices to reduce legal risk. In addition, the ideal candidate has a high ethical standard and good judgment when it comes to assessing sensitive information. 

The Office of the General Counsel provides legal advice and representation to Rhode Island School of Design and its trustees, officers, employees, and student leaders while acting on the College’s behalf. The services of the General Counsel include advice and counsel on all matters having legal significance for the College, coordination of outside counsel handling lawsuits and specialized matters, assistance with policy development, review of major contracts, and preventive law workshops and educational programs.

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has a distinguished history of providing innovative leadership in art and design education and an ongoing commitment to creative experimentation and risk-taking. This progressive, inquisitive attitude permeates RISD’s campus culture, supporting the undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, curators, administrative, and support staff who form our community. RISD’s students are diverse, coming from a wide range of geographic, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds, representing all forms of diversity. The College strives to cultivate a campus environment that advances principles of social equity and inclusion, environmental and climate justice, and equal access to resources and opportunities.

Essential Functions

I. Contracts and Complex Transactions

  • Draft and/or review contracts to ensure RISD’s legal rights are maintained and that language is compliant with all laws, regulations, and policies.
  • Provide guidance to RISD faculty and staff on complex transactions, including grants and partnered programs. 
  • Create templates for standard transactions.
  • Assist management with contract delegation and signature authority.

II. Claims and Litigation

  • Actively engage with internal constituents and outside counsel to ensure appropriate response to potential claims and appropriate conduct and resolution of litigation.
  • Facilitate the conduct of discovery in litigation.

III. Regulatory Compliance

  • Provide advice and counsel to the Office of RISD’s Risk Management across a range of issues and advise on mitigation strategies.
  • Review and draft as necessary required compliance reports. 
  • Educate the RISD community on general compliance issues, as well as specific areas of compliance.
  • Monitor potential and actual changes in laws or regulations that may impact RISD.  Alert management of the changes and work with management to assess possible impacts and compliance strategies.

IV. Policy Development and Review

  • Provide legal support and counsel regarding the development of RISD policies to ensure they are appropriately worded to achieve the intended result.
  • Draft policies and/or review draft policies developed by RISD management.

V. General Higher Education Practice

  • Provide advice and counsel to campus constituents on the wide-ranging legal issues facing the College and the Museum which may include accreditation, charitable giving,  construction, contracts, Title VII and Title IX,  employee benefits,  governance, immigration, information technology, insurance, intellectual property, labor and employment, litigation, nonprofit corporations, regulatory compliance, sponsored research, student affairs and discipline,  and other such matters.
  • Recommend legal strategies consistent with and in furtherance of the College’s mission and values.
  • Monitor legal developments and inform relevant constituents of their ramifications; review, interpret, and/or draft proposed legislation.


  • J.D. degree from an accredited law school.
  • Five years of progressive legal experience, preferably in higher education or the non-profit sector.
  • Admission to the Rhode Island Bar or eligibility to obtain such admission within one year of hire.
  • Ability to work and communicate inclusively and effectively within a broadly diverse community.
  • Ability to exercise discretion and confidentiality at all times.
  • Strong analytical, negotiating, drafting, speaking, and writing ability.
  • Interpersonal skills that foster successful interaction with faculty, staff, students, legal counterparts, and other constituents
  • Demonstrated knowledge of legal issues affecting institutions of higher education including but not limited to Titles VI, VII, and IX, VAWA, and Clery Act.
  • The aptitude to be a true generalist; sound judgment; discretion; diplomacy; objectivity; integrity and ethics, creativity; strategic thinking; a pragmatic, problem-solving approach and a service orientation.
  • The ability to work both independently and as part of a team, to manage multiple tasks and initiatives in a fast-paced, complex environment.
  • Experience in a broad range of employment matters, drafting of employment-related policies and agreements, intellectual property and general matters related to risk management.
  • Prior litigation experience preferred.
  • The capacity to see and consider legal matters through the College’s stakeholders’ eyes; and the recognition that legal disputes are often as much human issues as legal ones, that legal concerns may legitimately be outweighed by other ones, and that the ultimate decision is the client’s.
  • Ability to work independently with minimal supervision.

RISD recognizes diversity and inclusivity as fundamental to its learning community and integral to an art and design education. We welcome candidates whose experience has prepared them to contribute to our commitment to diversity and excellence. RISD is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetics, or any other protected characteristic as established by law.