Chief Campus Counsel/Associate Counsel

The Office of General Counsel at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
July 29, 2022
Brooklyn, NY
Job Type


The Office of General Counsel at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is seeking a full-time Chief Campus Counsel / Associate Counsel.

The Office of General Counsel (“OGC”) provides legal services and support to the Board of Trustees, the Chancellor, and senior officers for the State University of New York (“SUNY”) at SUNY System Administration at Albany, New York, and the presidents and administrators of the campuses within the System. Under the leadership of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs and General Counsel, the SUNY Office of General Counsel is responsible for providing legal services to the System and the 29 state operated campuses. The OGC consists of more than 45 experienced higher education attorneys, paralegals and support staff located in Albany at the System Administration headquarters and in campus-based offices at the four University Centers, Health Science Centers, and various SUNY colleges.

The legal practice of the OGC involves a substantial array of topics, including public procurement, governance and ethics, legislation, health care, capital construction, public finance, labor grievances and arbitration, litigation oversight (the New York State Office of the Attorney General defends litigation brought against the University), student affairs, and the use of real property, among others. The OGC represents the State University in interactions with State officials who may regulate the affairs of the State University, including the Attorney General, State Comptroller, the Governor and staff, and members of the State Legislature and staff as well as other state and local agencies and entities.

The Chief Campus Counsel – Downstate will act as lead attorney in all aspects of the management and supervision of the OGC satellite office for the SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University (“Downstate”), including providing highly competent, professional, and timely legal services to leadership and administrators at Downstate, effective legal advice, advocacy, and preparation and review of campus documents/policies. The Chief Campus Counsel reports to the SUNY Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs and General Counsel through the Assistant Deputy General Counsel with the Downstate President being the chief client for all legal matters.

The Downstate Chief Campus Counsel will provide legal guidance to colleagues in the Downstate OGC Office and campus administrators on areas within subject matter expertise and/or working with subject matter experts; manage the office; manage complex transactions; support the implementation of OGC’s strategic plan; serve as a liaison to the Attorney General’s Office and other State agencies; and perform other duties as requested and/or needed by OGC leadership and campus leadership.

The ideal candidate will have legal experience in the following areas:

  • Complex legal matters related to contracts, fraud and abuse, general health law, hospitals, medical affairs, and regulatory issues;
  • Legal issues related to graduate medical education and research, credentialing, medical staff bylaws, and professional licensure;
  • Stark and Antikickback laws;
  • Corporate legal functions and activities of a hospital or academic medical center, with specific responsibility for healthcare/corporate transactions; major business transactions, and financings, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, affiliations;
  • Clinical trials & sponsored research from government and foundation research; clinical trials; compliance programs, including basic science, product development, animal and human subjects research, and clinical trials);
  • Research compliance (including animal research; scientific misconduct; research conflicts of interest; lab safety (environmental concerns);
  • Managed care; medical malpractice; Medicare/Medicaid cops and provider-based rules; pharmacy/controlled substances; quality/patient safety collaborations; revenue cycle appeals; risk management/clinical safety; telemedicine; EMTALA; fraud and abuse; health information technology; HIPAA, release of phi, forms; licensure (including faculty, staff, facilities); serving as a primary advisor related to healthcare matters, including healthcare compliance;
  • State contracts & procurement (and familiarity with New York State finance laws);
  • Non-procurement agreements (such as Inter-Agency MOU’s, affiliation, and academic agreements);
  • Student affairs issues, including Federal CLERY, FERPA, and Title IX compliance;
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 legal issues; and
  • Ethics and public officers law compliance.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Developing, negotiating, reviewing academic agreements with other colleges and universities;
  • Providing advice and recommendations regarding campus-based policies;
  • Advising in various student-related matters concerning reasonable accommodations, academic leaves, student discipline, and dismissal;
  • Representing Downstate in state and federal administrative agency proceedings as well as, on occasion, in state and federal courts;
  • Representing Downstate in employee and student discipline matters, discrimination cases and internal investigations, and with labor and employment issues;
  • Developing and delivering training to campus constituencies on key compliance issues including First Amendment/free speech, attorney-client privilege, record retention/e-discovery, email, FOIL, media response, and other areas of importance to the campus;
  • Maintaining an awareness of the activities of the organization, its constituent hospitals and other corporations to provide more comprehensive up-to-date legal advice;
  • Identifying areas which could benefit from proactive action by corporate and hospital personnel in order to minimize liability and other risks and working with such personnel to develop programs, policies and procedures to address the impact of such risks, laws and regulations;
  • Supervision of Downstate attorney(s) and/or legal support staff;
  • Providing advice and mentoring attorneys on a variety of topics;
  • Performing non-litigation assignments and special projects as well as other duties, as assigned.

Administrative Duties:
The Chief Campus Counsel is responsible for the direct administrative management and oversight of the Downstate legal office, including the supervision of associate/assistant counsels, and paralegals, the assignment of legal matters, and other office administrative matters. The Chief Campus Counsel directly handles or delegates to direct reports all other duties as may be assigned by the SUNY General Counsel. The Chief Campus Counsel may recommend to the Campus President, with approval of the SUNY General Counsel, the engagement of outside counsel for certain legal matters and offer recommendations to the SUNY General Counsel on hiring/termination of direct reports.

SUNY Office of General Counsel Duties:
This position reports directly to the SUNY General Counsel regarding all aspects of the position. In addition, the Chief Campus Counsel interfaces with other OGC colleagues to coordinate the delivery of consistent legal services, including participation in OGC staff meetings and training.

Additional responsibilities include an extensive range of legal matters on behalf of the SUNY, including statutory and regulatory interpretation; drafting legal guidance; and answering legal inquiries from campus clients; and, performing special projects as well as other duties as may be assigned.

Direct Reports:

  • All legal staff supporting Downstate including the Downstate attorney(s), paralegal(s) and administrative staff.

Additional Information (Travel, Work Schedule etc.):

  • This position will be physically located at SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn, NY. Travel will be required to other SUNY campuses and from time to time to Albany, NY and/or other OGC regional offices. Limited telecommuting may be available.
  • Management/Confidential appointments serve at the pleasure of the Downstate Presidents and are not represented by a union.
  • Offers of employment may be contingent upon successful completion of a pre-employment background check and verification of degree(s) and credentials.

Required Qualifications:

  • Juris Doctor degree (or foreign equivalent).
  • Candidates should have approximately ten (10) years of significant and progressively responsible legal experience.
  • Admitted to New York State Bar in good standing or eligibility for admission to the NYS Bar within six (6) months of employment.
  • Significant legal experience working in-house and/or in healthcare, higher education and/or government law on complex matters.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Significant experience advising clients on complex healthcare transactional and finance matters is strongly preferred;
  • Superior written and oral communication;
  • Strong analytical and legal research skills;
  • Ability to translate complex problems into practical solutions;
  • High ethical standards and mature judgment;
  • Ability to function effectively in a fast-paced environment with multiple and changing priorities and objectives;
  • Demonstrated ability to make and communicate hard decisions; demonstrated credibility to win support for those decisions;
  • Judgment, tact, and diplomacy to partner with senior teams to help them achieve their strategic objectives;
  • Outstanding communication and presentation skills, including the ability to communicate clearly, logically, and persuasively during interactions and utilize active listening skills;
  • Proven ability to maintain confidentiality with regard to sensitive issues and information and exercise discretion in dealing with sensitive or potentially sensitive topics;
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills to interact effectively and develop and maintain productive working relationships with an array of diverse interests, individuals, and constituencies;
  • Demonstrated ability to act as a team player in all circumstances, as defined by contributing to the successful outcome of initiatives, accountabilities, and operations of others; especially in unionized environments, is a plus;
  • Knowledge of or familiarity with statutory and constitutional framework and federal and administrative regulations applicable to a public university, and process of governance in academic settings;
  • Proven record of ability to undertake complex legal issues, and capacity to serve as a creative thinker and problem-solver able to negotiate creative solutions to complex problems; and
  • Candidate should have an appreciation of operational implications of legal advice.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement: An approved COVID-19 vaccination.

Contact information:
Interested candidates are invited to apply online at As part of your application, please submit a cover letter, resume and 3 professional references. A search committee consisting of members from both Downstate’s Senior Administration and The State University of New York’s Office of General Counsel will be convened to identify the best candidate for this position.