Office of the General Counsel

The Office of the General Counsel operates as a full-service law firm that represents only one client, San Francisco Community College District. The District, as a client, is embodied in the Board of Trustees and the Chancellor. In representing the District, the General Counsel represents the Board of Trustees, the District as an independent entity, and, where appropriate, individual District employees.

The General Counsel is a strong believer in preventative law and taking steps to avoid litigation before it occurs. If you have legal questions or are facing a legal situation, consult your supervisor, who will either clear your question through the relevant Vice-Chancellor that is authorized to contact the General Counsel’s office or have you do it directly. If it is an emergency (i.e. police officers with a search warrant), call the office of the General Counsel immediately, and then inform your Vice-Chancellor. Issues identified early are often resolved quickly.

Almost all litigation is assigned to an outside law firm specializing in the subject area. If you are acting within the course and scope of your employment (i.e. doing your job) and acting in good faith, the District has the obligation to defend and indemnify you. That means the District will provide you with a lawyer and pay any judgment or settlement from the case. If, on the other hand, you are acting outside the scope of your employment, or you are engaging in bad faith, fraud, or criminal misconduct, the District is likely not to represent you in the matter.

Tasks include:

  • Drafting, revising, and updating District Policies and Regulations. Although the General Counsel takes the lead in this process, it is a collaborative effort involving affected employees and relevant constituent groups.
  • Drafting and reviewing contractual documents. Responsible for developing forms and contracts to speed the processing of routine transactions.
  • Most community college districts do not have in-house general counsel. Consulting the Office of the General Counsel can help you to avoid adverse legal situations, allowing you to be more productive in your job. You are encouraged to take advantage of this source of legal advice.

The Department is in charge of the Office of Title 5/EEO/ADA Compliance which handles the investigation of unlawful discrimination and harassment complaints against the District. It also provides reasonable accommodations to employees and applicants in compliance with disability laws.

District Policies and Administrative Procedures