Chief Campus Counsel, University of California Merced

Job Description


The University of California (UC) Merced, the youngest campus in the world-renowned University of California system, seeks a new Chief Campus Counsel to help lead this unique institution into an exciting new era of rapid growth and distinction within the UC system and among research universities globally. With many aspirations and a recent $1.3 billion expansion, UC Merced is at a pivotal moment — a young campus moving into maturity. With many of its foundational needs now met, the institution seeks an innovative and collaborative Chief Campus Counsel to help continue its incredible trajectory.

Opened in 2005, the University of California, Merced was the first new University of California campus in 40 years, and the first American research university of the twenty-first century. After only a decade, UC Merced experienced a significant milestone, appearing in the U.S News & World Report rankings for the first time in 2017. UC Merced now ranks #40 among public universities and #97 overall among national universities, even as the youngest university on the list. In the past two years the campus rose 68 spots overall and 43 among public institutions. It has also risen to the #1 campus in the nation for outperforming graduation rate expectations and #27 among public universities in annual alumni giving rate. UC Merced achieved R2 status (“doctoral-granting university with higher research activity,” per the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education) in record time and is now setting a very ambitious trajectory towards quickly receiving R1. Additionally, the campus has earned Carnegie’s prestigious Classification for Community Engagement, a testament to its deep commitment to the Central Valley. Since welcoming its first freshman class, UC Merced has grown in enrollment to 9,018 students, including 742 graduate students in its three Schools: School of Engineering; School of Natural Sciences; and the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts. Additionally, the Ernest & Julio Gallo School of Management is proposed to open in the Fall of 2022 and will be the first new school since the campus’ opening. Envisioned as a “management school of the future,” this school will encompass interdisciplinary areas like cognition, economics, complexity, data science, sustainability, and management. The campus is proudly ranked #5 nationally in social mobility by U.S. News & World Report, #8 for economic diversity, and #13 among publics in undergraduate teaching.

For more information about the University of California, Merced, see:

Chief Campus Counsel, University of California, Merced

This position reports to the UC Merced Chancellor and to the University’s systemwide General Counsel and Vice President of Legal Affairs. This position serves as a member of the Chancellor’s senior management team, working collaboratively with and serving as advisor to the Chancellor and the campus’s senior leadership team and has responsibility for responding to the wide range of legal and regulatory, policy and governance issues that may arise on a campus, either by providing advice directly or in consultation with other University attorneys or by engaging the services of outside counsel. The position similarly serves on the leadership team and as an advisor to the General Counsel regarding campus legal issues and systemwide legal policy.

The Chief Campus Counsel provides advice and counsel on a strikingly broad range of highly complex legal matters or problems, including but not limited to complex labor and employment matters, land use and environmental law issues, First Amendment issues, complex business transactions, international and research collaboration initiatives, privacy and records management, student conduct, and transactional matters involving copyright and technology transfer. In addition to having deep legal subject matter expertise, the Chief Campus Counsel also provides sound, timely advice, not only on legal matters, but on matters of University policy and governance.

In addition, the Chief Campus Counsel, as a senior university officer on the campus, is an essential contributor to strategic administrative and management initiatives within the UC Merced campus and at the Office of General Counsel. The Chief Campus Counsel also plays a significant role in supporting sound risk management and compliance efforts on the campus. They will work closely with campus leaders, faculty and researchers to develop or modify practices and procedures to conform with legal requirements and reduce risk. The Chief Campus Counsel manages outside law firms and monitors litigation of importance to the campus and interacts with community and regional leaders on government relations matters.

Qualified candidates should have demonstrated leadership skills in a large, multifaceted organization and have a knowledge and appreciation for a rigorous academic and research environment. The ideal candidate must have an excellent record of professional accomplishment, a clear understanding and appreciation for shared governance and transparency; a demonstrated commitment to ethnic, cultural and socio-economic diversity.

Consistent with UC Merced’s values, this person must have the ability to work effectively with a wide range of constituencies in the San Joaquin Valley and across the State.

Education / Certifications

  • J.D. from an accredited law school and a member, in good standing, of the State Bar of California.
  • This is a national search, but current membership in the State Bar of California, or passage of the July 2021 bar exam, is required.
  • Required qualifications and skills

  • Requires approximately ten or more years of complex, high-level experience after receiving law degree, including, preferably, 2 or more years’ experience managing.
  • Experience to include the provision of sophisticated legal advice and counsel reflecting sound judgment, substantive in-depth legal knowledge, and an understanding of complex business.
  • Experience is also useful in a wide range of additional areas such as contracts, labor and employment law, real estate development, land use, intellectual property and health care.
  • Candidates are welcome to apply via . For confidential inquiries, nominations, and referrals, please email

    Reviews of candidate materials will begin immediately and the position will remain open until filled. For best consideration, please submit materials by January 28th, 2021. Salary will be commensurate with experience. The University of California has retained Caldwell Partners, a national executive search firm, to assist with this search. The University of California is committed to providing an electronic environment that is accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities. Accordingly, should you need special assistance through this application process, please email .

    The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer advancing inclusive excellence. 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, or other protected categories covered by the UC nondiscrimination policy. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:


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