Office of General Counsel

University of Mississippi

FAQsPhoto by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Whom does the Office of General Counsel represent?

A: University of Mississippi’s Office of General Counsel represents the legal interests of the university itself. In practice, this generally involves giving advice to the Chancellor, the Board of Trustees, the deans and members of the administration, student judicial bodies and faculty committees on legal risks associated with various university operations and programs, acting as a resource to administrators and committees in the development and interpretation of university policies, reviewing contracts to be signed on behalf of the university, and providing support to university administrators for ongoing compliance initiatives, among other things. Top.

Can I obtain personal legal advice and services from the Office of General Counsel?
A: The attorneys of the Office of General Counsel do not provide personal legal services to university students or employees. Top.

Attorney-Client Privilege
Are my discussions and written communications with OGC attorneys confidential?
A: The ethical obligations of University attorneys are to represent, protect, and defend the best interests of the university. The university ultimately acts through the Board of Trustees, officers and other members of the administration, and faculty and student decision-making bodies. Generally, under the attorney-client privilege, oral and written communications that University “agents” have with University attorneys, in confidence, for the purpose of obtaining legal advice about University matters are protected from disclosure to third parties. For this purpose, “agents” of the University would include those individuals working on behalf of and in furtherance of the best interests of the University – – trustees and administrators, and, depending upon the circumstances, faculty, staff, and students. University attorneys strive to work with discretion and sensitivity at all times. Our obligations to the University as our client may require that we advise appropriate University administrators with a legitimate need to know regarding certain confidential matters that may trigger an obligation for the University to take action or that may present particular legal risks to the University.

Note: The attorney-client privilege applies when University’s attorneys are providing legal advice to agents of the University, and not in circumstances where University attorneys may simply be present in conversations without the provision of legal advice.

Coverage/Defense for University-Related Lawsuits against Employees/Students
A: The Mississippi Tort Claims Act (MTCA) limits the University’s liability for injuries caused by an act or omission of the University or its employees to $500,000. The MTCA also protects State employees from personal legal liability for injuries caused by that employee’s negligence, including automobile accidents, which occur during the scope and course of the employee’s job performance. Any act or omission of an employee within the time and at the place of employment is presumed to be within the course and scope or his or her employment. However, the protections and coverage afforded State employees under the MTCA do not extend to conduct that constitutes fraud, malice, libel, slander, defamation, or any criminal offense. Top.

Coverage for Vehicle Use on University Business
A: The University of Mississippi carries auto liability coverage only on all vehicle. Current Insurance Cards, as proof of insurance, must be placed and kept in every university vehicle. Insurance cards can be downloaded from the Procurement Services website. The MS Tort Claims Act provides liability protection for the driver and the University, and is the exclusive remedy under the law while the automobile is being used within the scope and course of one’s duties for the University. Within Mississippi, the limit is $500,000 per occurrence. When out of state, other state laws apply. There is NO liability protection coverage in force when a university vehicle is operated unlawfully or for other than official university business.

What should I do if I am in an accident?
Immediately report an accident involving a university-owned or rented vehicle to law enforcement, the department head, Human Resources, and the Director of Procurement Services. Always get the name, driver’s license number, tag number, and insurance carrier from the other person involved
in an accident. Do not make statements except to answer questions asked by law enforcement officials. Top.

Outside Attorneys, Government / Law Enforcement Inquiries and Subpoenas
What do I do if I am contacted by an outside attorney regarding a University matter?
A: All dealings with outside attorneys should be conducted through the Office of General Counsel. If you receive a subpoena involving University business, please inform the Office of General Counsel immediately, preferably the same day. Additionally, you should also keep a record of the date, time and method (by hand or mail) by which you received the notice. For more information on Subpoenas, click here.

Reporting of Various University-Related Matters
How do I report . . .?
A: Accident on Campus – (employee workplace injury)
Report a Crime
Report Fiscal Misconduct
Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, or Retaliation.Top.

Use of University Name, Logos, or Marks
When may I use the University name or any of its logos or marks?
A: Faculty, staff, and students may use the University’s names, logos, and/or other marks where necessary to identify themselves on matters of official University business. University names, logos, and other marks shall not be used by individuals or entities otherwise in a manner that implies University endorsement or responsibility for particular activities, products, or publications involved, or by any individual or group promoting itself, without the express written permission of the from the Department of Licensing. Any and all use of the University names, logos, and/or other marks for commercial purposes is prohibited unless approved by the Department of Licensing. Top.