Are you my lawyer?
The OGC’s ultimate client is Emerson College, not any individual or administrator. Thus, the OGC’s attorney-client relationship is between the lawyer and the College, and not you personally.
Are our conversations confidential?
Because the OGC represents Emerson College, subject to laws and requirements, we may share the substance of our discussions with you with other individuals within the College with a need to know the information. We will, however, make every effort to limit disclosures.
Are our conversations privileged?
When you are asking for legal advice on behalf of or as part of the College, our conversations (whether verbal or written) are likely subject to what is called “attorney-client privilege” as well as other protections from broad disclosure. In those instances, it is particularly critical to keep the discussions confidential and avoid sharing the communications and advice with anyone outside of the College or anyone internally without a need to know the information. When you are speaking with us, the best course of action is to ask us about the privilege that may be associated with a particular situation.
Can you give me legal advice? What about issues I have unrelated to the College?
The OGC represents only Emerson College and not any students, faculty, or staff in their individual capacities. If you need a lawyer to help you with something like the negotiation of a publishing contract or the purchase of a piece of real estate, there are many skilled lawyers in private practice who you can contact.
What should I do if a process server comes to campus? Or if somehow a subpoena or summons directed to Emerson College or one of its departments is delivered to me?
If a sheriff or process server asks you to accept service of a document such as a complaint, do not do so. Instead, direct them to the OGC. If you do receive a subpoena or other legal document, always make note of when you received it and how (personal delivery, mail, etc.). Immediately provide the document to the OGC. Do not discard any mailing envelopes or cover letters. This is important because the receipt of these documents can trigger legal deadlines and obligations.
At home or otherwise in my personal capacity, I received a subpoena asking for materials that belong to or concern Emerson College. What should I do?
Contact the OGC for assistance.
Can I hire an outside law firm to do work on behalf of Emerson? My project is specialized or I have a longstanding relationship with a particular firm.
Emerson College uses various outside law firms to deal with specialized issues or time-intensive matters. OGC is often eager to hear about recommendations for excellent outside counsel. If you have a particular matter and believe outside counsel would be best suited to handle it, please contact OGC. We generally oversee legal services provided to Emerson College to be sure that consistent strategies and practices are being used. In addition, we can review the firm’s engagement agreement to be sure that it contains appropriate terms and conditions.
Can I sign a contract on behalf of Emerson College?
The Procurement Office determines who has authority to sign contracts on behalf of Emerson College. You should consult the Signatory Authority Policy at /policy/signatory-authorization
I have been asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or confidentiality agreement related to a project I am working on in my Emerson College capacity. What should I do?
An NDA related to your work here may implicate the College. Please contact the OGC for guidance.
I have received a letter from someone seeking information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Since we receive federal funds, should I respond?
No. Private colleges are not subject to FOIA. Please provide the letter to OGC and we will respond.
I have been contacted by an attorney for someone outside Emerson College asking questions or seeking documents from Emerson College. What is the best course of action?
Contact OGC. If, for example, this attorney represents someone in a lawsuit against Emerson College, it is not proper for the opposing counsel to contact Emerson’s employees directly.
If I am called as a witness in a lawsuit against the College, do I need my own lawyer?
Emerson College typically retains outside counsel to represent the College in court cases. In most cases, the outside counsel and/or the OGC will prepare witnesses for testimony in such matters.
A student has a question about immigration issues. Where should the student turn?
The OGC is not able to provide students with personal legal advice. In many instances, immigration issues require consultation with the Office of Internationalization and Global Engagement for assistance with documentation and questions relating to visa maintenance. Some legal issues will require that the students consult with their personal attorneys. OGC or the Office of Internationalization and Global Engagement may have names of firms, organizations, or pro bono resources for immigration issues.