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State of Montana Chief Legal Counsel in Helena, Montana



Chief Legal Counsel

The Montana University System invites applications for the position of Chief Legal Counsel. The position is located in Helena, Montana, in the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education.

The Montana University System is a state-supported system of higher education, governed by the Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education, administratively supervised and coordinated by the Commissioner of Higher Education. The system includes 16 public universities and colleges that enroll more than 40,000 students each semester. For more information, visit our web site at:

The Chief Legal Counsel is the chief legal officer for the Montana University System, including the Board of Regents, the Commissioner, and the educational units of the system. The Chief Legal Counsel reports to the Commissioner and supervises a legal team that includes attorneys and compliance staff on campuses and in the Commissioner’s Office. The Chief Legal Counsel collaborates with university Presidents in the supervision of campus counsel. Together, the Chief Legal Counsel and associate counsel are responsible for providing legal advice and representation to the administrators, faculty and staff of Montana State University, the University of Montana, and their affiliate colleges and universities on a wide variety of legal matters.

The Chief Legal Counsel analyzes laws, regulations, and proposed legislation for their possible impact on the system, which includes keeping the campus communities informed about legal risks and their management. The Chief Legal Counsel provides guidance on legal matters including university governance, student affairs, policy formation, employment issues and grievances, health care, intellectual property, real property transactions, commercial transactions and bond offerings undertaken by the System. The Chief Legal Counsel also coordinates with the system lobbyists on legislative issues, including drafting potential legislation.

The Chief Legal Counsel is responsible for supervising and managing all areas of litigation and serves as a liaison to the Attorney General’s Office and other entities outside the universities. This representation often involves being lead counsel in matters before judicial forums, arbitrators or administrative bodies, from preparing the answer, through the discovery, briefing, motion and hearing stages. When necessary, such as for jury trials, the Chief Legal Counsel and campus counsel may secure and manage outside legal services for the MUS or a campus.

Minimum Qualifications. Candidates for the position must possess the following minimum qualifications:

  • law degree from an accredited law school;

  • legal experience, preferably including some litigation and transactional experience, with 10 years of experience required.

  • licensed to practice law in Montana and be in good standing, or eligible to obtain such admission promptly after hiring.

Preferred Qualifications. The successful candidate should also have outstanding skills and abilities in the following areas:

  • ability to work cooperatively and collegially with a small legal team, including support personnel, having a significant workload but limited resources;

  • ability to communicate effectively in writing and orally with members of the Board of Regents, university communities, and outside entities;

  • demonstrated ability to manage and supervise attorneys and litigation;

  • strong analytical, problem solving and research skills;

  • knowledge and experience with public higher education legal issues;

  • possess unquestioned integrity and a proven record of outstanding professional ethics.

Salary is dependent upon experience and qualifications (anticipated range of $135,000 to $150,000). This is a full-time, term-contract position renewable annually in accordance with Board of Regents personnel policies. The position is eligible for employee benefits (health insurance, sick leave and vacation leave, state holidays, retirement program, staff & dependent tuition waivers in accordance with state law and Board of Regents policy).

Application Requirements and Deadlines: A letter of interest specifically relating the applicant’s experience and qualifications to the position, a resume, and a list of contact information for three professional references should be submitted to OCHE (Attention: Jackie Salveson), 560 N. Park Ave., P.O. Box 203201, Helena, MT 59620-3201, or emailed to, or submitted on the State of Montana Careers website ( Electronic submission of application materials is encouraged.

The position will remain open until filled, but candidates should submit completed applications by5:00 p.m. on Monday, October 19, 2020,to be considered in an initial screening of applications. This position is eligible for veterans’ preference in accordance with state law.

Reasonable Accommodations: Under state and federal law qualified applicants with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations. Modifications or adjustments may be provided to assist applicants to compete in the recruitment and selection process. An applicant must request an accommodation when needed. If you need any such accommodation, contact the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education at 406-449-9155. TDD users may use the relay service by dialing 711.


Job: *Legal

Title: Chief Legal Counsel

Location: Helena

Requisition ID: 20142324