Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel

Oakland University
Rochester, Michigan
Closing date
Aug 20, 2021

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Invitation to Apply for the Position of

Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel

Oakland University

Rochester, Michigan


Oakland University, a public doctoral research institution in southeastern Michigan, seeks a collaborative, experienced, and forward-thinking leader to serve as its next Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel (General Counsel). This is an outstanding opportunity for a seasoned professional who demonstrates strategic thinking, creative energy, sound judgment, and superior communication skills to lead the Office of Legal Affairs at an institution with an impressive upward trajectory, while paving a path that anticipates future changes in the public higher education landscape. Oakland has been recognized by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions in Higher Education as an R2 doctoral institution and has a dedicated faculty and staff that is passionate about engaged learning, academic discovery, community engagement, and diversity.  Oakland’s response to the COVID-19 crisis has been thorough and effective, and University leadership responded quickly to preserve the safety and health of its students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community. 

Founded as Michigan State University-Oakland in 1957 following the unique donation of the vast Matilda and Alfred Wilson estate to support higher education, Oakland University has grown into a student-centered research institution with a global perspective. Operating independently since 1970, the University serves a diverse student population, and the institution is woven deeply into its surrounding community. Over its history, the University has grown to accommodate more than 19,000 students, over 600 full-time and 595 part-time faculty, and offers more than 140 bachelor’s degree programs and 130 doctoral, master’s degree and certificate programs. With a strong foundation in the liberal arts, as well as a robust cadre of professional schools including the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, OU is poised to build upon its bold and remarkable past as it charts an exciting and even more powerful future. As outlined in the University’s 2025 strategic plan, efforts are underway to enhance student success, grow research and scholarly activity, advance diversity, equity and inclusion, and expand the institution’s visibility both in the region and nationally. 

The Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel is the chief legal officer of the University and oversees the Office of Legal Affairs and the provision of all legal services to the University. Given today’s higher education environment, the General Counsel will encounter a large and complex set of issues that can include  governance,  employment  law,  financial  matters,  campus  safety,  crisis  management, freedom of expression/1st Amendment,  real estate,  technology  and  cyber-security,  athletics,  contracting,  federal  and  regional  higher  education regulation  and  compliance,  state  and  local  law,  faculty  and  academic  freedom,  immigration  law  as  it applies to permanent and visiting faculty and foreign students,  enterprise risk management,  intellectual property,  estate  planning  and  gifts,  and  general  corporate  law,  especially  with  respect  to  nonprofit corporations.  The General Counsel has general charge of all legal matters pertaining to the University and its governing board; attends meetings of the board and its committees; is responsible for the representation of the University in all legal proceedings; and advises the board, its committees and officers, the President of the University, and other officers on legal questions as may be required. 

Oakland University has retained Isaacson, Miller to assist in this search. Tim McFeeley, Pam Pezzoli, and Oren Griffin are leading this search with Robin Dougherty. Inquiries, nominations and applications should be directed in confidence to:

Creating and maintaining a diverse, equitable and inclusive campus is a strategic priority for Oakland University. We are seeking applications from individuals who are interested in and committed to supporting and advancing our DEI institutional values. Oakland University encourages all qualified applicants to apply and be assured that there shall be no discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, national origin or ancestry, age, height, weight, familial status, marital status, disability, creed, sexual orientation, veteran status or other prohibited factors in employment, admissions, educational programs or activities.

Oakland University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer committed to fostering a diverse, equitable and family-friendly environment in which all faculty and staff can excel and achieve work-life balance.

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