Office of General Counsel
The Office of General Counsel ("OGC") was established in September, 2010, to support the Stevens community in pursuing its educational and research mission in compliance with applicable law, ethical guidelines and the policies of the university. The General Counsel is responsible for providing legal advice for all matters relating to Stevens and its affiliates, including providing legal advice to the Board of Trustees, officers, faculty and staff, and for selecting and engaging all outside legal counsel to Stevens. The General Counsel will also be a member of various committees and other groups considering and formulating policies and procedures for Stevens, and will serve as the Secretary to the Board of Trustees. The Office of General Counsel is located on the 13th Floor of the Howe Center.
Faculty and administrative staff should contact the General Counsel if they believe that they need legal advice to further their teaching, research, administrative work, student or other activities at Stevens.
In a non-emergency situation, as preparation for contacting the General Counsel, please develop the factual context relating to your question by collecting background information and any relevant documentation, consulting with your department chair, dean or supervisor, and reviewing the actions you and others have taken to date. This level of prior review may not be necessary in each case and will be deferred in an emergency situation.
In any situation where litigation is threatened or likely, please contact the General Counsel for advice immediately. All settlements of claims against Stevens must be approved by the General Counsel.
All requests from the press or others about ongoing or threatened litigation against, or other legal or governmental matters involving, Stevens must be directed to the General Counsel or to the Vice President for University Relations. Do not answer questions or discuss matters with the press without first having received advice from these departments.
The OGC represents Stevens and its Board and employees. The General Counsel does not represent trustees, faculty, staff or students in their individual capacities.
The General Counsel is responsible for determining whether outside counsel is necessary to advise the Institute, and for selecting the right lawyer for the particular matter and making cost-effective and efficient financial arrangements with outside lawyers. When faculty or staff believe legal advice is appropriate, please contact the General Counsel. The General Counsel will determine whether outside counsel is needed and will work with you to select appropriate counsel to the University.
The General Counsel will monitor the provision of all legal advice by outside lawyers. In situations where outside counsel is authorized to work directly with Stevens personnel, the General Counsel must be copied on all communications and otherwise sufficiently involved to monitor the representation.
Payments by Stevens for legal advice of outside counsel will not be authorized for payment unless approved by the General Counsel.
As a general matter, lawyers are not ethically permitted to give legal advice or have communications with people who are already represented by counsel without having that counsel present. This applies to your work and activities on behalf of Stevens. If you are working on a matter with a vendor, governmental agency or person who is not a member of the Stevens community and their counsel is brought into a meeting, conversation, email or other correspondence, please promptly refer the attorney to the General Counsel. Thereafter, you should continue the communication only without the outside lawyer present or after you have had an opportunity to consult with the General Counsel.
Any legal process or demand letter (which may or may not be a letter from an attorney) addressed to or naming Stevens may only be accepted and processed by OGC.
If any person attempts to:
Serve a summons, complaint, subpoena or other legal document naming Stevens or an individual in his or her capacity as an employee of Stevens,
Deliver a letter from an attorney addressed to Stevens or a Stevens' employee relating to their activities at Stevens, or
Make a demand for action on the part of Stevens or an employee (e.g., a letter demanding that Stevens take or cease a certain activity), please politely refuse to accept such document and provide the person with the location of OGC or, if the document arrives by mail, forward it promptly to the General Counsel. Do not respond to any document of this type in writing or verbally without prior consultation with the General Counsel.
Prior to signing a contract, agreement or other document that legally binds Stevens – or prior to renewing any existing arrangement -- you should ensure that the document has received appropriate legal and other reviews (including financial authorization) and that you are authorized to sign the document. As a general matter, all legal documents should be reviewed in advance of signing by the General Counsel or by a department of Stevens with authority for contract review (e.g., The Procurement Department, The Office of Sponsored Research). In order to be legally enforceable, contracts and other legal documents must be signed by someone who has been delegated authority by the Board of Trustees of Stevens. The General Counsel can provide advice regarding who within Stevens must review and approve a legal document and who is an authorized signatory.
The Stevens Compliance Guide was issued on November 20, 2015 and will be updated from time to time. Stevens is committed to upholding the highest standards of integrity and ethical conduct in all of its operations and activities. The Office of the General Counsel is available for advice on matters involving compliance with law and regulations, both state and federal, as well as compliance with Stevens policies.
Stevens maintains a compliance hotline through a third-party vendor, EthicsPoint, at the link below. Matters or complaints raised through the hotline may be anonymous if desired. An employee will be protected from retaliatory action for disclosing or reporting activity that the employee believes is unlawful or in violation of a relevant government regulation or Stevens policy when the employee brings the alleged unlawful activity, policy, or practice to the attention of one or more of appropriate Stevens authorities and provides Stevens with a reasonable opportunity to investigate and correct the alleged unlawful or violative activity.
Attorney General Matter
On June 6, 2016, the Consent Judgment which had been in place since January, 2010, between Stevens Institute of Technology and the New Jersey Attorney General was lifted by Court Order and with the consent of the Attorney General’s Office. The Consent Judgment arose from circumstances at Stevens pre-2010, and addressed a number of matters relating primarily to governance. Stevens fully complied with the requirements of the Consent Judgment on schedule, and continues to focus on best practices in the area of governance. Stevens is proud of having transformed its governance and become one of the fastest-rising universities in the country, with improvements in virtually every relevant financial and academic metric. For more information on Stevens’ accomplishments and rankings, please see www.stevens.edu/about-stevens/rankings-and-recognition.