Adopted Date: 09-12-1996
This policy applies to the Office of University Counsel, the use of outside legal counsel by the University and requests for legal advice concerning University business from members of the University community. This policy also applies to the initiation of, joinder or intervention in litigation or other forms of legal proceedings in the name of the Regents or for or on behalf of the University.
The President of the University shall, consistent with RPM 3.3, appoint a University Counsel who shall be a member of the New Mexico Bar and shall serve as the chief legal officer to the University, including the UNM Health Sciences Center. University Counsel reports directly to the President of the University and may when appropriate provide advice on legal issues to the Board of Regents. The function of the University Counsel's Office shall be to help the University carry out its mission of teaching, research, and service in compliance with federal and state law and University policies and procedures. The Office shall emphasize preventative strategies for avoiding legal difficulties. The Office shall also defend, or arrange for defense, of the University and, in appropriate cases, its officers and employees, in legal proceedings. The Office shall also defend or arrange for the defense of students against any legal proceedings commenced against them arising from their good faith participation in official University investigations or grievance or disciplinary proceedings, or in official positions, boards or committees (other than as officers or members of chartered student organizations).
The University Counsel, with the approval of the President of the University, is hereby authorized to initiate, join and intervene in legal proceedings in the name of the Regents of the University of New Mexico in routine matters, which do not raise policy issues, such as commercial disputes, collection of amounts due, or trespass on University property; provided, however, that with respect to these routine matters involving the UNM Health Sciences Center, the Chancellor for Health Sciences shall have the authority to approve the initiation of, or joinder or intervention in such legal proceedings. Initiation of, joining and intervening in non-routine legal proceedings must be authorized by the Board of Regents; provided, however, that the President, or the Chancellor for Health Sciences, may authorize the initiation, joining, or intervening in legal proceedings that involve medical treatment decisions or care of patients.
It is in the best interest of the University that legal services provided by outside counsel to the University and its components be of the highest quality and delivered in a cost-effective manner. In order to attain these objectives, no component of the University may retain or employ outside counsel except with the prior approval of the President of the University; provided, however, that with respect to the retention of outside legal counsel for the UNM Health Sciences Center or any of its component colleges, schools, units, or subsidiary corporations as defined and described in Section 1 of RPM 3.4, the Chancellor for Health Sciences shall have the authority to approve the retention of outside counsel and the terms of any such retention. The term “component of the University” includes the University, any unit, department or office of the University and any University-affiliated organization of which the University is the sole member or in which the University holds, directly or indirectly, a majority voting interest. The retention, employment and supervision of such outside counsel shall be in accordance with guidelines promulgated by University Counsel and pursuant to a contract for legal services approved by the President of the University, and, in the case of the UNM Health Sciences Center, the Chancellor for Health Sciences.
Appointment and Termination of Key Administrators, RPM 3.3 ; Student Government, RPM 4.1; Signature Authority for Contracts, RPM 7.8.