1.36 Role of University General Counsel

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Scope: NMSU System

Source: RPM Title 1 | Institutional Governance

Policy Administrator:

Last Updated: 05/11/2018



Revision History:

05/11/2018 Amendment approved by Board of Regents (formerly RPM 16.40)
Recompiled 2017, formerly Policy 2.40

A. General Counsel Role and Reporting

The University General Counsel (UGC) attorneys represent the interests of the Regents of New Mexico State University (NMSU) as a constitutionally recognized legal entity, acting through its Board of Regents (Board). The general counsel, also referred to as chief legal affairs officer, reports functionally to both the Board of Regents and to the chancellor, and reports administratively to the chancellor.  The general counsel is selected by the chancellor, upon consultation with the chair of the Board of Regents.


B. UGC Authority and Responsibilities

The general counsel and attorneys in the UGC office are authorized to fulfill the following functions and responsibilities, consistent with university policy and the law:

  1. Advise and assist the Board in its governance responsibilities for both New Mexico State University and the New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA), including compliance with state and federal statutes regulating same;
  2. Inform the Board regarding any legal matters which involve significant legal or reputational risk to the institution, either by confidential memorandum or during a closed meeting of the Board;
  3. Provide legal advice to the NMSU chancellor, executive vice president and provost, executive management, and the NMDA Director/Secretary (and other university administrators and staff as they may direct or authorize);
  4. Coordinate the development and maintenance of university policies (Regents Policy Manual) and rules (Administrative Rules and Procedures);
  5. Advise NMDA regarding promulgation of regulations within its statutory authority;
  6. Represent NMSU in any litigation or administrative proceeding in which NMSU is a party, either directly or by retaining outside counsel, as necessary;
  7. Provide legal defense or representation for individual officials, employees and volunteers named in litigation as a result of the performance of duties for NMSU;
  8. Accept service of process for summons and complaints, garnishments, and other legal documents;
  9. Serve as the registered agent for any corporate entity authorized and controlled by NMSU;
  10. Initiate legal proceedings, as authorized by the chancellor, as may be necessary to protect the interests of NMSU; and
  11. Undertake such other related responsibilities as shall be assigned by the Board or the Chancellor.