Vice President and General Counsel

  • Fordham University
  • New York, NY, USA
  • Feb 29, 2024
Full time Education

Job Description

Vice President and General Counsel

Office of Legal Counsel, Rose Hill

Fordham University


Fordham University has an excellent reputation as a dynamic institution located in New York City.  Founded in 1841, Fordham enrolls more than 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students in its 9 Colleges and Schools. 


  • Fordham University offers a comprehensive and competitive benefits package to its employees, which includes medical, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance.
  • We offer tuition remission for employees and their dependents 
  • A generous employer match towards a 403(b) retirement plan.
  • As a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), Fordham is considered a qualifying employer for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, a federal program designed to forgive student loan debt for employees of certain public and certain nonprofit employers.
  • As part of its work-life balance program, the University provides generous PTO including 15 vacation days, 12 sick days, 2 personal days, 6 summer Fridays, and holidays that include paid time off between Christmas and New year.  
  • University employees have access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAP provides no-cost, professional, and confidential services, to help employees and family members address a variety of personal, family, life, and work-related issues.


Hybrid Policy:       

Please review the Hybrid Policy here.


Position Summary

Reporting to the University President, the Vice President and General Counsel (GC) plays a pivotal role as the chief legal strategist and senior advisor on all legal matters impacting the University. This executive position is responsible for steering the University through the complex legal landscape of higher education, ensuring compliance, and safeguarding the institution’s integrity and reputation. The role demands a dynamic and seasoned legal expert who can navigate the myriad legal challenges facing modern educational institutions, ranging from regulatory compliance, labor and employment issues, litigation, intellectual property, governance, and policy development to crisis management.


As a key member of the President’s cabinet, the GC is instrumental in shaping legal and policy decisions that influence the University’s strategic direction and operational effectiveness. This role requires not only a deep understanding of the law as it applies to higher education but also a keen awareness of how legal decisions can impact the University’s broader mission and values. The ideal candidate will bring a proactive, forward-thinking approach to the legal function, providing innovative solutions to complex legal issues while fostering a culture of compliance and ethical decision-making across the University.


In addition to leading the University’s five-person legal counsel office, the GC will collaborate closely with many departments, offering legal insights that support the University’s academic and administrative goals.


Through strategic leadership, expert legal counsel, and a commitment to the Jesuit principles that guide Fordham, the GC will play a vital role in advancing the University’s mission of providing exceptional education and fostering ethical and responsible leaders.


About the President:

Tania Tetlow, the president of Fordham University, is a legal scholar who examines the intersection of equal protection and criminal law. With her deep Jesuit roots, Tetlow serves as the first layperson and first woman to lead the University in its history. She builds upon the University’s great strengths in the humanities, social sciences, business, and law, and its location in New York.


Before becoming the 33rd president of Fordham in July 2022, Tetlow served as president of Loyola University New Orleans, where she oversaw the university’s successful recovery from the most challenging period in its financial history. She came to Loyola from Tulane, where she served as senior vice president and chief of staff to President Michael Fitts during a transformative period for the university. She began her academic career at Tulane Law School as the Felder-Fayard Professor. In addition to producing research on constitutional policing that helped persuade the Justice Department to broaden its investigations, she directed Tulane’s Domestic Violence Law Clinic, for which she raised millions of dollars in federal grant funds.


About the Office of Legal Counsel:

The Office of Legal Counsel provides advice and legal services to Fordham University in support of its mission and goals. Legal guidance is delivered promptly and effectively to the institutional client, represented by Fordham’s officers and Board of Trustees, and other authorized representatives of institutional interests.


The office serves as a resource to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations affecting the University. It describes, prevents, and minimizes risks and supports informed decision-making and problem-solving by management. The office retains, coordinates, and evaluates all outside legal services so as to provide efficient and cost-effective legal services in specialized areas.


Essential Functions        

  • Serves as the chief legal advisor to the President, Board of Trustees, and senior administration, University departments on a wide range of legal issues including governance, regulatory compliance, policy development, contractual agreements, intellectual property, employment and labor law, litigation management, risk avoidance, and other legal matters, reducing risk and supporting informed decision making.
  • Leads the Office of the General Counsel and oversees a team of attorneys and support staff; recruits, trains, evaluates, and manages, departmental staff in providing counsel, drafting policies/agreements, negotiating contracts, overseeing compliance, managing disputes/litigation, and keeping the University legally compliant and ethically accountable.
  • Educates University leaders and provides counsel for responding to legal and regulatory changes affecting higher education, and development/revision of University policies.
  • Drafts, reviews, and negotiates complex agreements and contracts including collaborative partnerships, real estate, procurement, sponsored programs, technology transfers, HR and labor relations issues.
  • Develops and executes strategies to comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
  • Guides strategies and provides counsel on intellectual property protections, patents, licensing, royalty agreements, technology transfer, and ethical research compliance.
  • Provides counsel on employment law matters including but not limited to hiring practices, disciplinary actions, terminations, collective bargaining, labor relations, and employee benefits. Directs or leads union contract negotiations.
  • Directs legal risk mitigation strategies and oversees the University’s response to lawsuits, disputes, EEOC claims, and other legal actions.
  • Counsels the Board of Trustees and the President on University bylaws, responsibilities, and, governance best practices.
  • Selects, retains, manages, and evaluates performance of outside counsel and legal expenses, leveraging specialized expertise as needed.
  • Manages litigation by overseeing use of outside counsel, settlement discussions, and engagement of University leadership and other departments as needed.
  • Fosters cooperative relationships with legal entities externally and serves as University liaison on legal affairs.
  • Performs other duties as assigned by the President or the Board.


Essential Functions Note

This list is not intended to be an exhaustive list.

The University may assign additional related duties as necessary.


Management Responsibilities  

Provides strategic leadership and supervises others who supervise. Responsible for hiring, training, developing, managing performance, administering corrective action, makes compensation decisions and for managing strategic views at a high level.


Required Qualifications: Education and Experience        

  • Juris Doctor (JD) from an accredited law school.
  • Minimum 15 years of progressive legal experience, with at least 5 years of employment and labor law experience.
  • Must be licensed or able to quickly obtain a license to practice law in the State of New York.


Required Qualifications: Knowledge and Skills     

  • Strong analytical, negotiation, and communication skills.
  • Proven leadership skills in managing complex legal issues in a dynamic environment.
  • Demonstrated legal technology (LegalTech) competencies including knowledge of legal research platforms, e-discover tools, cybersecurity awareness, data analytics, awareness of AI in legal practice.
  • Successful candidates should have a knowledge of and commitment to the goals of Jesuit Education.


Preferred Qualifications 

  • Experience in higher education law or a related field.
  • Experience leading legal team managing a broad range of legal issues.


Minimum Starting Salary: $450,000


Maximum Starting Salary: $575,000


Note: Salary is commensurate with qualifications, experience, and skills.


FLSA: Exempt







Founded in 1841, Fordham is the Jesuit University of New York, offering an exceptional education distinguished by the Jesuit tradition to more than 16,000 students in its 9 colleges and schools.  It has residential campuses in the Bronx and Manhattan, a campus in West Harrison, N.Y., the Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station in Armonk, N.Y., and the London Centre in the United Kingdom. 


Fordham University is committed to excellence through diversity and welcomes candidates of all backgrounds.


Fordham is an Equal Opportunity Employer – Veterans/Disabled and other protected categories