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State of Massachusetts Assistant General Counsel in Boston, Massachusetts

Please Note: Both a cover letter and resume are required with this job submission. Attachments must be marked as “relevant” to this job submission The Department of Higher Education (DHE or Department) seeks a highly motivated individual with a commitment to public service to serve as the Department’s Assistant General Counsel. The Assistant General Counsel reports to the Chief Legal Counsel and works closely with all divisions of the agency (e.g., academic affairs and student success, fiscal, strategic planning, external relations, and research and planning). The Assistant General Counsel’s responsibilities shall include representing and advising the Commissioner, the Board of Higher Education and Department staff in the areas of consumer protection, program approval, the administration of state and federal financial aid, civil litigation, contract and procurement law, regulatory law and policy development. _The Board and Department of Higher Education_ The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (the Board) is the Commonwealth’s state higher education authority with coordinating and regulatory authority over all public and private higher education institutions operating in the Commonwealth and authorized to grant degrees. The Board is staffed by the Department of Higher Education (the Department), which is run by a Commissioner who serves as the executive and administrative head of the Department, and Secretary to the Board. Together, the Board and Department are the leading voice and advocate for post-secondary education in the Commonwealth, serving critical roles as the state’s regulator of state authorization and consumer protection. The Massachusetts System of Public Higher Education (“System”) serves approximately 290,000 students annually. The System consists of 15 community colleges, 9 state universities and 5 University of Massachusetts (“UMass”) campuses. Each community college and state university institution has its own board of trustees, while the 5 UMass campuses are overseen by the UMass board of trustees. The Board has coordination and oversight responsibilities for the entire System, including the responsibility to analyze the present and future goals, needs and requirements of public higher education and to establish goals to achieve a well-coordinated, quality system of public higher education. M.G.L. c. 15A, §1/et seq/. In addition, the BHE’s authority includes administering state financial aid, managing and responding to consumer complaints, conducting financial assessments of institutions, and approving degree-granting authority for all public and most private higher education institutions operating within the Commonwealth. Currently, there are 82 private institutions of higher education operating in the Commonwealth and authorized to grant degrees. Essential Job Functions: Working under the direction of the Chief Legal Counsel, the Assistant General Counsel will help advance the work and mission of the Department and Board of Higher Education by providing timely, effective, and thorough legal advice and support. Within this framework, the Assistant General Counsel’s essential job functions shall include the following: * Researching, drafting, interpreting, and enforcing agency regulations, guidelines, procedures and policies. * Providing general day-to-day legal support and advice to staff, as needed, on the administrationof Board and Department functions and initiatives, including the administration of regulations related to: public and private higher education institutions’ degree-granting authority; contracts and procurements; the Commonwealth’s optional retirement and excess benefit plan programs; and state and federal data-sharing regulations. * Interpreting and advising on state and federal laws, rules, regulations, court decisions and advisory opinions applicable to higher education. * Drafting proposed or amended legislation, and interpreting and advising on the effects of proposed legislation on Board and Department functions. * Providing legal, administrative, and other support to a cross- divisional and interdisciplinary team involving the Department’s financial, academic, and legal staff charged with implementing the Department’s statutory and regulatory responsibilities to screen, assess and monitor the financial health of all private institutions higher education in the Commonwealth. * Serving as the Records Access Officer for the Department, and primary point of contact for public records law and records retention inquiries from staff. Managing responses to public records requests, ensuring full compliance with the public records law and all applicable Executive Orders and policies. * Responding to subpoenas and other public information requests served upon the Department or staff members and, when necessary, representing the Department or staff in depositions or related legal proceedings. Helping to respond to other public information requests, including information requests from members of the media or the public. * Helping to manage and respond to consumer complaints regarding all public and private institutions of higher education authorized or approved to operate in the Commonwealth by the Board. * Conducting legal research and drafting legal memoranda, correspondence, position statements, public resolution letters, Attorney General referral recommendations, and advisory opinions. * Working collaboratively and constructively with legal counsel from other state agencies, legal counsel representing public and private higher education institutions, and other state agency officials. * Developing and offering training programs for Department staff, Board members and others regarding state laws, regulations, policies and guidelines related to state government administration in general, and public higher education in particular. * Other duties as assigned. Preferred Qualifications: * At least three years of full-time, or equivalent part-time, professional experience engaged in the practice of law, preferably in the area of education or public service. * Knowledge of Massachusetts state government and working knowledge implementing, state laws such as Conflict of Interest, Public Records, Records Retention and Open Meeting laws. * Substantial experience working with governmental agencies and/or governmental boards. * Knowledge of administrative law and the regulations of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. * Respect for Diversity and awareness of cultural competency. * Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with others to achieve consensus and progress on complex issues. * Exemplary ethical standards. * Demonstrated skills in legal research and analysis. * Ability to take the initiative and to use sound judgment to make decisions and resolve problems. * Ability to understand, apply and interpret the provisions of the laws, regulations, policies, and procedures governing agency operations. * Ability to adjust to varying or changing situations to meet emergency or changing requirements. * Knowledgeable of the Board’s Equity Agenda and the Department’s initiatives to address social and racial justice. * Professional, courteous manner * Flexible, analytical thinking. Questions regarding this posting may be directed to Jillian Auerbach in Human Resources Minimum Education and Experience: * A law degree from an accredited law school. * The incumbent must be a member in good standing in the Massachusetts bar. * One to three years of full-time, or equivalent part-time, professional experience in the practice of law. * Knowledge of the theory, principles and practices of law, including administrative law. * Knowledge of and experience in legal research methods and procedure. * Ability to exercise discretion in handling confidential information. * Exceptional, demonstrated ability to communicate well both orally and in writing. * Special Requirement: * Possession of a current and valid Massachusetts Class D Motor Vehicle Operator's License. Executive Order #595:As a condition of employment, successful applicants will be required to have received COVID-19 vaccination or an approved exemption as of their start date. Details relating to demonstrating compliance with this requirement will be provided to applicants selected for employment. Applicants who receive an offer of employment who can provide documentation that the vaccine is medically contraindicated or who object to vaccination due to a sincerely held religious belief may make a request for exemption. An Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer. Females, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. Job: Legal Services* *Organization: Department of Higher Education *Title: *Assistant General Counsel Location: Massachusetts-Boston-1 Ashburton Place Requisition ID: 22000596