General Legal Counsel and Managing Director

  • Dalhousie University
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Oct 03, 2018
Full time General Counsel

Job Description

Dalhousie University is Atlantic Canada's leading research-intensive university and a driver of the region's intellectual, social and economic development. Located in the heart of Halifax, Nova Scotia, with an Agricultural Campus in Truro/Bible Hill, Dalhousie is a truly national and international university, with more than half of our 18,500 students coming from outside of the province. Our 6,000 faculty and staff foster a vibrant, purpose-driven community, celebrating 200 years of academic excellence in 2018.

Reporting to the President, General Counsel is the University's most senior legal position and manages all legal services for Dalhousie. The General Counsel and Managing Director is called upon to provide the President and Senior Executive Team with expert legal strategic advice on a variety of issues affecting the University. This is a position of leadership and oversight and plays a critical role in the University's risk management process.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Provides the President and the Senior Executive Team with constructive, timely and strategic advice. In doing so, the General Counsel and Managing Director is expected to scan the environment, anticipate future trends and issues, assess the current landscape, and provide advice on successful navigation among the many university and external interests and perspectives.
  • Identifies legal issues that pose significant risk to the University, and identifies legal trends that may impact the University in the future. Provides formal and informal education and awareness with multiple stakeholders within the institution regarding such legal issues, how to approach them and how to mitigate exposure to them.
  • Assesses the University's legal liability with respect to its policies, processes and procedures. Recommends the appropriate steps for risk management. Analyses major areas of concern to the organization and recommends changes in policies and procedures. Provides advice to ensure that major University policies are aligned with best practice.
  • Provides university governance advice to the President and senior officers of the University Board of Governors and Senate, to assist them in ensuring that University practices and processes comply with Board By-Laws, the Senate Constitution and underlying regulations, and the University's enabling statute.
  • Works closely with the University Secretariat on policy development, compliance with Board by-laws and the Senate Constitution, and other matters relating to Board and Senate governance.
  • Manages the day-to-day operations of the Legal Counsel Office, including delegation of operational duties to the Assistant General Counsel and other members of the legal services team.
  • Recruits highly qualified staff to the Legal Counsel Office and leads, guides and monitors a complement of in-house lawyers whose practices comprise a wide range of legal specialities including education, corporate and commercial, construction, real property, intellectual property, human rights, civil litigation, administrative law, health law and insurance, among others.
  • Oversees the Privacy Officer, who has the responsibility of overseeing the University's compliance with privacy legislation and responding to access to information requests.
  • Offers guidance and support to the Office of Human Rights and Equity Services as appropriate.
  • Retains and instructs outside counsel in the conduct of litigation involving the University, and in the execution of legal work that is of such a specialized nature that it cannot be undertaken by the office or that requires legal resources beyond what the office can provide.
  • Engages with the Faculty of Law on programming and partnership opportunities.

Qualifications: Qualified candidates will possess a LLB or JD degree, be eligible to practice law within Nova Scotia, and be a member in good standing of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society. Must have significant experience as a practicing lawyer. Current knowledge of the university legal environment and a solid understanding of the university community is preferred. Familiarity with human rights and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, particularly within a post-secondary context is preferred. Must have strong interpersonal skills and the ability to deal with a wide range of individuals tactfully and diplomatically in a wide variety of circumstances. Demonstrated appreciation of issues surrounding equity and diversity is required, including cultural competency with historically disadvantaged communities in Nova Scotia. Must have experience providing advice to multiple stakeholders, including underrepresented groups, with diverse interests in a complex organization. Demonstrated ability and experience in recruiting, retaining, leading and inspiring a high-performing team in a legal services office or similar environment is required.

Must demonstrate effectiveness in Dalhousie's Core and Leadership Competencies, in particular:

  • Integrity
  • Respect and Inclusion
  • Communication
  • Thinking and Acting Strategically
  • Relationship Building
  • Development

Dalhousie University supports a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Our total compensation package includes a defined benefit pension plan, health and dental plans, a health spending account, an employee and family assistance program and a tuition assistance program.

Apply online by October 14th 2018 to competition EXAD-18003.

Applications from university employees and external candidates are given concurrent consideration. Among short-listed candidates, university employees will be given special consideration. We thank all applicants for their interest, however, only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

Dalhousie University is committed to fostering a collegial culture grounded in diversity and inclusiveness. The university encourages applications from Aboriginal people, persons with a disability, racially visible persons, women, persons of minority sexual orientations and gender identities, and all candidates who would contribute to the diversity of our community. For more information, please visit

Practice Area(s)

general counsel