65234 – Principal Counsel, Litigation


University of California

Oakland, CA

Position Summary
The position deploys substantial civil litigation expertise managing a wide variety of litigation within the general liability program; working closely with outside counsel in developing case strategies consistent with University policy and protocols; and independently handling a full range of legal matters and projects, including matters based on tort, contract and statutory principles. The program includes matters that are complex and involve matters of substantial importance and impact to the University. The position requires interpretation of complex facts, application of the law in areas of high ambiguity; providing functional advice to senior managers and campus stakeholders concerning risk assessment, liability, and damages; acting as a liaison among outside counsel, campus counsel, campus risk managers, and other campus constituents; and drafting, reviewing, and revising discovery documents, pleadings, and briefs. The general liability program encompasses a wide variety of claims, including personal injury, auto, third party ADA claims, police practices, cyber, and other matters asserting a mix of tort, contract and statutory claims, as well as first party property and subrogation claims. This position will also evaluate the applicability of self-insurance, and commercial insurance and reinsurance, identify and pursue opportunities for indemnification from third parties, as well as advise on risk-related issues such as waivers, assumption of risk, and insurance and indemnification provisions in a myriad of contracts and grants.

By practicing UC Legal’s established Values for Principles of Community, all team members are expected to promote and maintain a workforce that is collaborative, supportive, respectful of differences, and committed to fairness and diversity in all interactions, both within and outside the team.

Duties and Responsibilities

85% Legal

Establishes effective relationships with key internal and external constituencies.
Recognizes strategic needs of organization and proactively builds relationships with appropriate stakeholders to ensure successful outcomes.
Serves as a trusted strategic partner with University business units, providing practical advice and alternative solutions to business issues.
Advises and renders opinions to senior leaders with respect to the legal implications of establishing or changing policy.
Works with colleagues at the Office of the President or campus/medical center locations to develop and modify practices and procedures to conform with changing legal requirements.
Provides substantial expertise, advice, and counsel on highly complex legal matters in civil litigation.
Functions as a lead and technical resource within the area of practice.
Directly negotiates matters on behalf of The Regents.
May act as a liaison with outside counsel, and/or represent the University in complex litigation.
Develops objectives and ensures service according to established priorities.
Independently handles full range of legal matters and projects, to include those which hold substantial importance and impact.
10% Supervision and Leadership

Delegates work effectively to maximize efficiencies.
Provides clear expectations and mentors legal support staff to meet expected levels of productivity and accuracy.
Practices OGC’s established Values for Principles of Community: collaborative, supportive, respectful of differences, and committed to fairness and diversity in all interactions, both within and outside the team.
Supports OGC’s commitment to diversity efforts – ensures equal opportunity in recruitment process by ensuring diverse representation on search committees and outreach efforts.
Promotes equity in advancements and encourages participation in career advising or mentoring programs.
Provides functional advice, training and/or guidance and effectively mentors less-experienced attorneys.
Understand that safety and environmental issues are essential elements of ensuring the continued success of UC and its employees, and maintain a safe, healthy and environmentally sound workplace.
5% Other

Makes recommendations concerning areas of work to perform in-house, versus payment for an outside firm.
Ensures accurate record keeping in compliance with OGC data quality protocols.
Complies with delegations of authority for committing University funds.


Minimum of 8 years of litigation experience in a law firm or in-house counsel for an academic institution, corporation, or other entity required.

Required Qualifications

Proven abilities in collaboration, facilitation, and strategic and creative thinking.
Thorough understanding of complex legal issues and ability to foresee implications in a University setting, even when ambiguous or hidden.
Strong interpersonal communication skills, including proven ability to actively listen, negotiate, persuade and educate.
Skills to gain trust and build credibility with a broad group of colleagues and clients, to include senior leaders.
Strong written communication skills and ability to create and deliver effective materials and/or presentations appropriate to a particular audience.
In-depth research skills to draft accurate, complete and persuasive legal documents, such as pleadings, legal responses, affidavits, position statements and briefs.
Proven decision making ability, even when unpopular, earning credibility and support from colleagues.
Relied on to represent institutional concerns persuasively to internal and external parties.
Strong coaching and leadership skills to provide clear expectations, guidance and performance feedback to less experienced attorneys and legal support staff.
Proven ability to maintain confidentiality and exercise discretion and tact when handling sensitive or potentially sensitive issues.
Demonstrated commitment to the highest ethical standards.
Advanced skills in project management, and facilitating policy review and changes.

Preferred Qualifications

Minimum of 5 years of experience handling general liability cases, complex litigation, or tort defense work.
In-house or public sector work is a plus.
Litigation experience beyond traditional general liability cases.


Advanced degree in related area and / or equivalent experience / training required

Licenses and Certifications

Must be a member in good standing with the State Bar of California

Travel Requirements
25% Occasional business travel.


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: Counsel 4
Job Code: 000201
Salary Grade: Grade 29

Payscale: $220,000 – $255,000, commensurate with experience
Full Salary Range: $165,200 – $333,800

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. Apply via this link.


The first review date for this job is June 24, 2024. 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

As a condition of employment, you will be required to comply with the University of California Policy on Vaccination Programs, as may be amended or revised from time to time. Federal, state, or local public health directives may impose additional requirements.


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

The University of California, Office of the President, strives to make this job board accessible to any and all users. If you have comments regarding the accessibility of our website or need assistance completing the application process, please contact us at: Accessibility or email the Human Resource Department at: epost@ucop.edu.

Job Bank Sponsorship Opportunity

Each quarter, one law firm and one company will have the opportunity to show their support for diversity in the legal profession and help advance the careers of attorneys of color by becoming a CMCP Job Bank Sponsor.