Frequently Asked Questions
Who does the Office of the General Counsel represent?
OGC provides legal advice and representation to Princeton University, including all its schools and departments. This includes providing advice and counsel to Princeton’s trustees, officers, administrators, faculty and staff acting in their official capacities on a variety of issues affecting the University. The office does not and cannot represent individual faculty, staff members or administrators in personal legal matters outside the scope of University business.
What type of legal services does the OGC provide?
The OGC provides a full range of legal services to the University in a variety of fields, including labor and employment, real estate, corporate governance, student and faculty issues, contracts, intellectual property and tax, among others.
How do I know which OGC attorney to contact?
Will OGC represent me if I am sued?
OGC may represent you directly or through counsel engaged by the University if you are sued in your official capacity as a University employee. The OGC cannot provide legal advice or representation to students, employees or others for personal matters. An OGC attorney may be able to refer you to an outside attorney.
Can I retain outside counsel for a University matter?
No. University personnel should not contact outside counsel concerning University business without first consulting the Office of the General Counsel. Only the OGC can retain and approve compensation for outside counsel on behalf of the University. If you believe outside counsel is needed for a University matter, you should contact the OGC. An OGC attorney will evaluate the matter and determine whether outside counsel is necessary or appropriate. If so, the OGC attorney will retain outside counsel with the required expertise.
What should I do if someone tries to serve me with legal documents?
You cannot accept service of legal documents on behalf of the University. If a process server attempts to serve you with documents, you should politely decline and direct him or her to the OGC. If you are served documents that name you personally in your official capacity, notify OGC immediately and forward the documents to this office. You may wish to keep a copy for your records. OGC will review the documents, determine what steps are necessary and discuss your involvement with you, if any.
If you are served with a subpoena or other legal document addressed to you concerning a non-University matter, you should seek the advice of private outside counsel.
Are my communications with OGC attorneys confidential?
Your communications with OGC attorneys are privileged as to third parties, but not as to other University officials. However, we will make every effort to keep communications confidential to the extent possible, and we will notify you if such a disclosure is necessary. If you have any questions or concerns about the confidentiality of a particular conversation, you should ask the lawyer before the conversation begins.
How do I report unethical behavior?
Princeton University has selected EthicsPoint, an independent provider of hotline services, to provide you with a simple and confidential way to report concerns that may involve possible noncompliance with government or external agency regulations, related University policies, errors or irregularities in Princeton's financial accounting practices, and unethical behavior.
To whom should I report suspected child abuse?
Under New Jersey Law, “Any person having reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to child abuse or acts of child abuse shall report the same immediately to the Division of Youth and Family Services by telephone or otherwise. Such reports, where possible, shall contain the names and addresses of the child and his parent, guardian, or other person having custody and control of the child and, if known, the child's age, the nature and possible extent of the child's injuries, abuse or maltreatment, including any evidence of previous injuries, abuse or maltreatment, and any other information that the person believes may be helpful with respect to the child abuse and the identity of the perpetrator.”
What should I do if I receive a call or letter from an outside attorney?
If you are contacted by an attorney in connection with University business, or your work for the University, notify OGC immediately. OGC will work with you to determine what steps are necessary. Please do not speak or correspond directly with an attorney representing someone outside the University who is engaged in or threatening a lawsuit.
What if I need a document notarized?
The Office of the General Counsel provides notary services for Princeton University faculty, staff and students.
How can I contact the OGC?
The OGC is located in the New South Building, Fourth Floor. We can be reached by phone at 609-258-2500, or by fax at 609-258-2502.