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Office of General Counsel

The Office of General Counsel provides legal advice and services to the President and College officers and employees across all campuses. The General Counsel is responsible for managing the legal affairs of the College in the areas of business law, employment law, labor relations, real estate, contract drafting, negotiation and review, intellectual property, governance, compliance, policy development and risk management, and represents the College in legal proceedings involving outside agencies and complainants.

When to Consult the Office of General Counsel

CCAC Board Policy II.06 sets forth the circumstances under which faculty and staff should consult with the General Counsel for legal advice. In general, the General Counsel should always be consulted when the College receives subpoenas, a Right to Know Request, a notice of the filing of a lawsuit, or notice of a governmental audit or investigation. In addition, contractual matters that do not involve a pre-approved contract form or in which the other party is represented by counsel should be reviewed and approved in advance by both the Director of Contracts and the General Counsel. Other specific matters requiring legal review are listed in Board Policy II.06. Outside counsel may not be hired to assist in legal matters unless such counsel are selected and retained by the General Counsel.

Understanding the Role of the General Counsel

It is imperative that all College employees understand that the General Counsel represents CCAC, as a separate and independent legal entity, and does not and cannot represent the interests of any employee of the institution in their individual or personal capacity. When acting in connection with an internal investigation or other legal matter, the General Counsel may interact and gather information from College employees for the purpose of providing legal advice to the institution. Although communications with the General Counsel will generally be protected by the attorney-client privilege in such cases, all employees must understand that the attorney-client privilege belongs solely to the institution of CCAC, and not to any individual employee. This means that only CCAC may elect to waive the attorney-client privilege and reveal communications or discussions with the General Counsel to third parties. Employees are further advised that CCAC may, in its sole discretion, elect to waive the privilege and disclose such information to third parties or governmental agencies with or without notice to the employee.

In order for communications with the General Counsel to be subject to the privilege, the communications must be kept in confidence. In other words, with the exception of an employee's own personal attorney, the employee may not disclose his or her communications with the General Counsel to any third party, including other employees or anyone outside of the institution.

If at any time in the course of an investigation a conflict of interest arises between the institution and an employee, the General Counsel will advise the employee of the potential conflict, and expressly notify the employee that the General Counsel represents the institution and not the employee.