Principal Counsel – Labor and Employment


University of California

Oakland, CA

UC Legal delivers ethical, timely, efficient and high quality legal services to the University of California’s ten campuses, five medical centers, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as well as to the Board of Regents, the President, the Chancellors and other officers of the University. Its services include prosecuting and defending litigation, drafting and negotiating agreements, providing advice, counsel and interpretation of laws, regulations and policies, and assisting with development of effective compliance and risk mitigation strategies to facilitate the University’s complex operations.

This position requires substantial expertise in the labor and employment practice area, providing advice to a diverse client base for the University’s 230,000 person workforce, including system-wide and campus human resources, academic personnel, compliance, and risk management staff. Services include handling and negotiating/mediating pre-litigated claims in the University’s employment practices liability program; responsibility for traditional labor matters such as advice and counseling during labor negotiations, interpretation of collective bargaining agreements, and handling or overseeing litigation before administrative agencies such as before the Public Employment Relations Board; drafting, reviewing and revising a variety of documents involving the University’s interest, such as policies, contracts, position statements, mediation briefs, and advice memoranda; advising clients on a broad range of employment issues; and conducting trainings.

The position requires substantial knowledge of federal and state labor and employment laws including the Fair Employment and Housing Act, Americans With Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, California Family Rights Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, California public sector labor laws such as the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act or the National Labor Relations Act, as well as privacy, First Amendment, and whistleblower issues. The position involves independently handling a full range of legal matters and projects in the labor and employment area, to include the most complex and that of substantial importance and impact; interpreting complex facts and the law in areas of high ambiguity; and, providing functional advice to clients regarding risk assessment and liability.

By practicing OGC’s established Values for Principles of Community, this position contributes to a workplace that is collaborative, supportive, respectful of differences, and committed to fairness and diversity in all interactions, both within and outside the team. It also supports OGC’s commitment to increasing and maintaining diversity in the legal profession.


Provides advice and counsel on highly complex legal matters in labor and employment law.
Independently handles a full range of legal matters and projects, to include those which hold substantial importance and impact.
Represents the University in pre-litigation employment claims including engaging with opposing counsel and participating in alternative dispute resolution.
Interprets complex facts and the law in areas of moderate to high ambiguity.
Advises and renders opinions to clients with respect to the legal implications of establishing or changing policy.
Directly negotiates matters on behalf of The Regents.
May act as a liaison with outside counsel, and/or represent the University in administrative or court litigation.
Complies with delegations of authority for committing University funds.

Delegates work effectively to maximize efficiencies.
Provides clear expectations and feedback to help others to meet expected levels of productivity and accuracy.
Provides functional advice, training and/or guidance and effectively mentors less-experienced colleagues.
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.

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.

Keeps informed on changing legislation and case law developments affecting overall operations of the University as they relate to the area of specialty; i.e., labor and employment law.
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.

Required Qualifications

Minimum of 8 years of employment and/or labor law experience in a law firm, or in-house counsel for an academic institution, corporation or other entity.
Thorough understanding of highly complex labor and employment legal issues and ability to foresee implications 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.
Advanced written communication skills and ability to create and deliver effective materials and/or presentations appropriate to a particular audience.
Effective research skills; ability to readily identify material information in area of specialty; i.e., labor and employment laws and regulations.
Proven decision making ability, even when the decision is unpopular, earning credibility and support from colleagues and clients.
Excellent abilities in collaboration, facilitation, and strategic and creative thinking with OGC colleagues, clients and outside vendors and agencies.
Commitment to the highest ethical standards
Ability to maintain confidentiality and exercise discretion and tact when handling sensitive or potentially sensitive issues

Preferred Qualifications

Relevant practice experience for public sector or higher education clients.
Experience in a university setting.
Skills in project management, and facilitating policy review and changes.
Experience handling traditional labor matters
Experience evaluating, negotiating and resolving employment claims through settlement negotiations and mediations.

Please apply through this link 

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.