University of Pittsburgh

About the Office of General Counsel

The University of Pittsburgh’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) provides legal services to the University of Pittsburgh.  The OGC attorneys are responsible for preparation and review of University contracts and agreements, representing the University in legal proceedings and providing legal advice to the University.

When to Consult the Office of General Counsel

The University Policy on Legal Services (No. 01-05-01) sets forth the circumstances under which faculty and staff should consult with OGC for legal advice.  OGC should always be consulted when the University receives subpoenas, a notice of the filing of a lawsuit, or in any governmental investigation.  Any contractual matters that do not involve a pre-approved contract form (such as the forms that are approved for use by the Office of Research or by Purchasing Department), or in which the other party is represented by counsel, should be reviewed and approved in advance by OGC.  OGC should be consulted in advance of any involuntary termination of employment, and in student disciplinary matters where the sanction may involve suspension for one term or any more severe sanction.  Departments should contact OGC in advance of any activity which presents legal issues or concerns.  Finally, outside counsel may not be hired to assist in legal matters unless such counsel are selected and retained through the OGC. 

"The major responsibility of General Counsel is to ensure that the legal rights and opportunities of the University and its employees are protected, and that their legal obligations are met."
— University Policy 01-05-01

The attorneys in OGC represent the University.  When OGC attorneys interact with faculty or staff on legal matters, it is important that the faculty and staff understand that OGC attorneys owe their allegiance to the institution.  If at any time in the course of an investigation a conflict of interest arises between the institution and an employee, the OGC attorneys will represent the institution.  For further information, see Role of University Vis-à-Vis Individual Employees in Fact-Finding Investigations. (PDF)