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Open Position - University of California, Managing Counsel, Strategic Legal Initiatives

Friday, July 07, 2023 5:28 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

For UCOP internal applicants, please login to the internal candidate gateway at: Jobs at UCOP  

Position Base: Oakland
Location: UCOP - Franklin Building


At the University of California (UC), your contributions make a difference. A world leader producing Nobel and Pulitzer prize recipients with over 150 years of groundbreaking research transforming the world. Choose a career where you can leverage your knowledge, skills and aspirations to inspire and support some of the greatest minds in the world, and those who will follow in their footsteps. Working at the University of California is being part of a unique institution, and a vibrant and diverse community. At the University of California, Office of the President, we propel our mission through impactful work locally, in government centers and systemwide. We are passionate people, serving the greater good.

The University of California, one of the largest and most acclaimed institutions of higher learning in the world, is dedicated to excellence in teaching, research and public service. The University of California Office of the President is the headquarters to the 10 campuses, six academic medical centers and three national laboratories and enrolls premier students from California, the nation and the world. Learn more about the UC Office of the President

Department Overview
UC Legal - Office of the General Counsel (UCL) provides legal services to the university, including representation, advice, research and training. We also provide legal opinions to the Board of Regents, administration, faculty, staff and others acting on the university's behalf. We report jointly to the Board of Regents and the president.

Position Summary
The Managing Counsel of Strategic Legal Initiatives (MC-SLI) will report to the Deputy General Counsel, Legal Policy and Operations, and will be a member of the Immediate Office of the General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs (GC/SVP). The MC-SLI will work directly with, and indirectly manage UC Legal staff and outside counsel to provide legal advice to the GC/SVP and the UCL Leadership team. The advice will be in the form of recommendations based on evergreen assessments of our matters (active and closed) to look for trends, best practices, new templates, trainings, staffing and organizational changes intended to reduce legal risk and expense, and to improve client service and internal efficiencies.

The MC-SLI will have three areas of responsibility:

  • The MC-SLI will design and launch a systemwide UC Legal program to identify opportunities, develop and analyze options, and implement strategies to reduce legal risk, improve workload/workflow management, and provide cost-efficient legal services. This role focuses on execution, not just advisory work, and will drive implementation of initiatives from the idea stage to the development of a project plan, execution, and success measurement. Examples of strategic initiatives could include establishing a UC Legal affirmative litigation program, identifying new legal strategies or services to facilitate client priorities or reduce University risk, and opportunities to improve the provision of legal services through delegations or outsourcing.
  • Strategic Planning. The MC-SLI will oversee the ongoing implementation and annual refresh of UC Legal's Strategic Plan, including driving the completion of cornerstone projects focusing on four main areas - advancing client priorities, optimizing the delivery of legal services, energizing the legal team, and enhancing business processes.
  • Impact Evaluation and Measurement. In collaboration with the General Counsel and Deputy General Counsels, the MC-SLI will lead the process of identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) and the implementation of a system to collect, analyze, and report on these KPIs with the goals of continuous improvement in the quality of legal services and maximum cost savings to our clients. This position requires the ability to synthesize data from our portfolio of legal matters, feedback from our legal team and clients, and knowledge of our practice areas, systems, policies and processes. This role requires a high level of autonomy and self-motivation, strategic thinking and strong analytical skills. The successful candidate must navigate across all levels of the UC organization and have a proven record of consensus building around complex solutions; the ability to deeply listen and collaborate with a diverse group of colleagues and achieve results without direct supervisory authority over teammates. This role also requires an aptitude for identifying meaningful metrics that drive business results for the UC system by developing systems to collect and maintain data and developing regular reporting and analysis to measure key results, including the ability to concisely and persuasively communicate key data to various audiences.

Key Responsibilities

  • 40% Analyze, track, modify and develop new legal programs and processes to mitigate legal risk and expense to the University; serve as the primary driver of UC Legal’s Strategic Plan; and identify, track and report on key performance indicators designed to provide accountability and transparency and to promote continuous improvement in the delivery of legal services by UC Legal
  • 30% Serves as a strategic advisor to General Counsel and the UC Legal Leadership Team on internal and external trends impacting the risk, cost and efficiency of providing legal services to the University.
  • 10% Provides proactive and consistent contributions and leadership for UC Legal projects and initiatives.
  • 10% Serves as a trusted strategic partner with University business units, providing practical advice and alternative solutions to business issues.
  • 5% Contributes toward the implementation of the outside counsel cost reduction plan.
  • 5% Provides an environment of individual growth and career development, recognizing and utilizing skills of others through clear, specific and timely performance feedback; recruits, mentors and retains employees; provides effective coaching, delegates effectively and rewards superior performance.

Required Qualifications

  • Minimum 10 years Legal practice experience

Preferred Qualifications

  • Min 1 year Work experience in UC Legal within the past 3 years
  • Min 1 year Knowledge of UC Legal’s specific systems, organizational structure, policies, delegations, workflow (intake/assignment of work/decision-making processes).

Skills and Abilities
Required Qualifications

  • Ability to identify issues and design solutions that can be replicated and scaled.
  • Experience facilitating change management or demonstrated ability to win support for decisions through consensus building and influence.
  • Exceptional organizational skills and ability to produce results with a high level of autonomy and self-motivation/direction.
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills and a demonstrated ability to develop and maintain relationships with an array of people with diverse backgrounds, interests and objectives.
  • Outstanding verbal and presentation skills, including the ability to communicate clearly, logically, and persuasively during interactions and utilize active listening skills.
  • Outstanding written skills as defined by the ability to compose a variety of concise, informative written materials appropriate to a particular audience, including presentations and reports.
  • Strategic thinker with strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Demonstrated ability to act as a team player in all circumstances, as defined by contributing to the successful outcome of initiatives, accountabilities, and operations of others.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the range of highly complex legal issues handled by UC Legal and drivers for legal services.
  • Proven ability to maintain confidentiality with regard to sensitive issues and information and exercise discretion in dealing with sensitive or potentially sensitive topics.
  • Demonstrated commitment to the highest ethical standards.
  • Previous people management/supervisory experience or project/portfolio management experience.
  • Aptitude for evaluating the provision of legal advice/services and the ability to make recommendations for continual improvement to mitigate risk, reduce cost, increase efficiencies, and track and measure progress/success through key performance indicators.
  • Knowledge of UC Legal’s specific systems, organizational structure, policies, delegations, workflow (intake/assignment of work/decisionmaking processes).

Required Qualifications

  • Advanced degree in law

Licenses and Certifications
Required Qualifications

  • Must be a member in good standing of the California Bar. (Out-of-state hire would be afforded time to pass the Bar within a reasonable period.)


The person hired will be required to reside within California and report to work on-site at UC’s Office of the President (UCOP) located in Oakland, CA on a regular basis.  Current policy requires that a new employee work on-site at least two days a week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (“anchor days”). In exceptional circumstances, approved by the General Counsel, candidates residing in or willing to relocate to California may be considered for a fully remote work arrangement.


Job Title: Managing Counsel 3
Job Code: 000203
Salary Grade: Grade 31

Payscale: $273,400  - $300,000, commensurate with experience
Full Salary Range: $202,200 - $420,000

The University of California, Office of the President, is required to provide a reasonable estimate of the compensation range for this role. This range takes into account the wide range of factors that are considered in making compensation decisions including but not limited to experience, skills, knowledge, abilities, education, licensure and certifications, and other business and organizational needs. It is not typical for an individual to be offered a salary at or near the top of the range for a position. Salary offers are determined based on final candidate qualifications and experience. The full salary range shows the growth potential for this position and the pay scale is the budgeted salary or hourly range that the University reasonably expects to pay for this position.

Benefits: For information on the comprehensive benefits package offered by the University visit: Benefits of Belonging



Please be prepared to attach a cover letter and resume with your application.


The first review date for this job is July 25, 2023. The position will be open until filled.


Background Check Process: Successful completion of a background check is required for this critical position. Background check process at UCOP

Smoke Free Work Environment: The University of California, Office of the President, is smoke & tobacco-free as of January 1, 2014. UC Smoke & Tobacco Free Policy

August 2021 Update:  The University of California has issued a policy requiring employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID -19 before physically accessing the University location or programs. Upon hire into a UCOP position, you will be provided detailed instructions on how to comply with this policy including access to the COVID vaccination at no cost. New hires to UCOP who work onsite or will come onsite for any activities at a UCOP or other UC location must comply with this policy within 8 weeks after their start date. The policy allows for employees to request approval for an exception or deferral. UC COVID-19 Vaccine Policy


The University of California, Office of the President, is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. EEO/AA Employer UC Nondiscrimination Policy

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