University Counsel and Chief Legal Officer

Established by royal charter in 1827, the University of Toronto is consistently ranked among the world’s top universities. Located in Toronto—Canada’s largest city—the University encompasses 18 Faculties and Schools, more than 100 departments, and 170 research centres and institutes. Its teaching programs are delivered on the historic St. George campus in the heart of Toronto’s downtown, on campuses in Mississauga and Scarborough, and in nine fully affiliated teaching hospitals. With approximately 22,000 faculty and staff, 93,000 students of which 25% are international, and an annual operating budget of $3.0 billion, the University is one of the world’s largest publicly funded research-intensive universities, and contributes $15.7 billion to the Canadian economy each year.

The University of Toronto (U of T) seeks a strategic, dynamic, and seasoned leader for the role of University Counsel and Chief Legal Officer.

The University Counsel and Chief Legal Officer reports to the President and has overall responsibility for managing the legal affairs of the University, providing expert advice on a wide variety of complex legal matters, leading a team of experienced internal legal counsel, and managing the University’s relationships with its external law firms. Among other responsibilities, they will lead the establishment of the University Legal Services unit, partnering with senior leadership and institutional stakeholders to plan and execute the transition of an existing divisional service model to a more centralized legal team, thus transforming the current highly distributed structure of legal services at U of T. They will provide strategic consultation to the University community on matters of law, University operation, policy, and governance, and advise on rigorous risk management and compliance.

The ideal candidate holds a Bachelors of laws degree (LL.B) or Juris Doctor (J.D.), and is eligible to become a member in good standing of the Law Society of Ontario. Given the size and scope of the University, an extensive record of exemplary leadership in private law practice, or as in-house counsel, preferably acquired in a university environment, will be a hallmark of the successful candidate. The University Counsel and Chief Legal Officer must demonstrate an understanding of the University’s policies, processes and systems, an aptitude for identifying practical solutions to challenges of a legal nature arising from University business, and experience leading organizational change. To be successful in the role, the incumbent must be a strategic collaborator and strong facilitator with an ability to foster respectful and collegial relationships with members of the university community. They will communicate in a compelling manner; possess a deep and abiding commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion in all its forms; exercise sound judgement, tact, and discretion in all interactions; and manage multiple competing and frequently changing priorities.

Consideration of candidates will commence mid-May 2021 and continue until the position is filled. Nominations, enquiries, and applications, in confidence, should be directed to Gerri Woodford or Krutika Hotwani at uoftlegal@odgersberndtson.com.

Regularly named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers and one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers, the University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from racialized persons / persons of colour, women, Indigenous / Aboriginal People of North America, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ persons, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas. Please note that all qualified candidates are encouraged to apply, but applications from Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. In accordance with the AODA Act, accommodation will be provided to individuals with disabilities throughout the recruitment process.