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Senior Counsel - Benefits

University of California Office of the President

in Oakland CA

The University of California, one of the largest and most acclaimed institutions of higher learning in the world, is dedicated to excellence in teaching, research and public service. The University of California Office of the President is the corporate headquarters to the ten campuses, five medical centers and three Department of Energy National Labs and enrolls premier students from California, the nation and the world.

Position Summary

The Office of General Counsel (OGC) delivers ethical, timely, efficient and high quality legal services to the University of California ten campuses, five medical centers, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as well as to the Board of Regents, the President, the Chancellors and other officers of the University. Its services include prosecuting and defending litigation, drafting and negotiating agreements, providing advice, counsel and interpretation of laws, regulations and policies, and assisting with development of effective compliance and risk mitigation strategies to facilitate the University's complex operations.

Reporting to the Deputy General Counsel, Employment, Labor and Benefits, the Senior Counsel provides advice to clients regarding risk assessment and liability, independently handling a full range of legal matters and projects in the employee benefits area. Provides substantial expertise within the University in employee benefits law. Advises on legal issues affecting retirement and health and welfare benefits across the UC system, including system-wide and campus Human Resources, Academic Personnel, Office of the Chief Investment Officer, as well as managers and supervisors.

Drafts, reviews and revises a variety of plan documents and communications involving the University's employee benefit plans, as well as benefits-related policies and contracts. Acts as a liaison with outside counsel engaged to assist on employee benefits matters and may assist University and outside counsel in benefits-related litigation.

The position requires substantial knowledge of federal and state laws affecting employee benefits plans, including the Internal Revenue Code, HIPAA and state privacy laws, and the Affordable Care Act. Must be familiar with defined benefit and defined contribution retirement plans and the range of health and welfare benefit plans. Knowledge of governmental plans a plus.


Special Conditions of Employment

  • Travel outside of normal business hours

Other Special Conditions of Employment

  • Work beyond normal office hours may be required on occasion. Travel outside of normal business hours may be required on occasion.

Successful completion of the background check is required for this critical position.

Special Instructions / Additional Information

  • This position has been reposted as of January 9, 2018 and those who have previously applied are not required to reapply.
  • This position maps to Payroll title Counsel 4; Payroll title code 0201; MSP grade 28.

Job Close Date: Open Until Filled


  • Provides advice and counsel on highly complex legal matters in benefits. Independently handles a full range of legal matters and projects, to include those which hold substantial importance and impact. Interprets complex facts and the law in areas of moderate to high ambiguity.
  • Establishes effective relationships with key internal and external constituencies. Recognizes strategic needs of organization and proactively builds relationships with appropriate stakeholders to ensure successful outcomes. Serves as a trusted strategic partner with University business units, providing practical advice and alternative solutions to business issues.
  • Advises and renders opinions to clients with respect to the legal implications of establishing or changing policy. Works with colleagues at the Office of the President or campus/medical center locations to develop and modify practices and procedures to conform with changing legal requirements.
  • May act as a liaison with outside counsel, and/or represent the University in administrative or court litigation. Directly negotiates matters on behalf of The Regents.
  • Keeps informed on changing legislation and case law developments affecting overall operations of the University as they relate to the area of specialty.
  • Provides functional advice, training and/or guidance and effectively mentors less-experienced attorneys.
  • Develops objectives and ensures service according to established priorities.
  • Delegates work effectively to maximize efficiencies. Provides clear expectations and mentors legal support staff to meet expected levels of productivity and accuracy.
  • Practices OGC's established Values for Principles of Community: collaborative, supportive, respectful of differences, and committed to fairness and diversity in all interactions, both within and outside the team.
  • Supports OGC's commitment to diversity efforts.

Job Requirements


  • Requires J.D. from an accredited law school and membership, in good standing, of the California State Bar.
  • Typically requires 8 years employment and/or labor law experience in a law firm, or in-house counsel for an academic institution, corporation or other entity.
  • In-depth abilities in collaboration, facilitation, and strategic and creative thinking.
  • Excellent relationships building skills to become a trusted partner with senior management and a diverse spectrum of clients.
  • In-depth understanding of highly complex legal issues and ability to foresee implications in a University setting, even when ambiguous or hidden.
  • Advanced interpersonal communication skills, including proven ability to actively listen, negotiate, persuade and educate.
  • Skills to gain trust and build credibility with a broad group of colleagues and clients, to include senior leaders.
  • Advanced written communication skills and ability to create and deliver effective materials and/or presentations appropriate to a particular audience.
  • Advanced research skills; ability to readily identify critical legislative changes in area of specialty.
  • In depth decision making ability, even when unpopular, earning credibility and support from clients and colleagues.


  • Advanced skills in project management, and facilitating policy review and changes.
  • Experience with Governmental plans.
  • Experience in a university setting.

Requisition Number: 20170052
Working Title: Senior Counsel - Benefits (0201)
Appointment Type: Staff - Career
Work Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm
Organizational Area: Office of General Counsel
Location: Oakland, CA
Posting Salary: Commensurate with experience

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status.

How to Apply

To apply, please be prepared to attach your cover letter and resume to your application.

For complete job description and application instructions, visit:

This ad has been viewed 324 times. It expires on 3/12/2018.

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