About Us

Mission Statement

The Washington and Lee University ("University" or "W&L") Office of General Counsel ("OGC") is committed to providing high-quality legal services and facilitiating the mission of W&L, while practicing and promoting core values of civility, integrity, inclusiveness, and respect.

Our Services

The OGC provides and coordinates all legal services for the University, and manages all of the University's legal affairs, including compliance and enterprise risk management ("ERM"), to assist in the advancement of W&L's mission, strategic priorities, and goals. The OGC also provides advice and counsel to the Board of Trustees, the President, and other University agents on the broad spectrum of legal, compliance, governance, and ERM issues that arise with respect to their University responsibilities.

The OGC serves as a resource to administrators, students, faculty, and staff on a broad range of areas such as the provision of education and workshops to promote a culture of compliance, the interpretation of University polices and related laws, the development and implementation of new programs and policies, and compliance with new rules and regulations such as those created by the Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, or the NCAA.

The OGC's areas of experience and practice include litigation, alternative dispute resolution, governance, policy development and implementation, first amendment and free speech, civil rights, disability law, Title IX, Due Process, drafting and negotiating contracts, commercial transactions, governmental regulation, labor and employment, promotion and tenure, student affairs, student conduct, construction and facilities, intellectual property, ERM, ethics, compliance, employee benefits, donor relations and gift planning, grants and sponsored research, information privacy and security, FERPA, domestic and international travel, export controls, tax, bankruptcy, real estate, and faculty, student, and employee grievances.

Whom does the Office of General Counsel represent?

The University's OGC represents the legal interests of the University itself. While this generally involves giving legal advice to the President, the Board of Trustees, the Provost, deans and members of the administration, student judicial bodies and faculty committees, the OGC does not represent individual students or University employees in their personal capacity. 

Can I obtain personal legal advice and services from the Office of General Counsel?

The OGC does not provide personal legal services to University students or employees in their individual capacities.

What is the "attorney-client privilege?"

The attorney client-privilege encourages full disclosure by protecting the confidentiality of communications between lawyers and their clients. Thus, written and oral communications that University faculty and staff have with the OGC for the purpose of obtaining legal advice may be protected from disclosure to third parties.

Not all communications qualify for the attorney-client privilege; for example, the mere presence of an attorney at a meeting without the provision of legal advice is not sufficient. Furthermore, the privilege can be lost if the subject matter is discussed with anyone who does not need to know.

For examples of when the attorney-client privilege applies and doesn't apply and how to best protect communications with the OGC, see the OGC Attorney-Client Privilege Primer.

Notarial Services

The OGC provides notarial services. Please contact Penny Patterson (540-458-8940) or ppatterson@wlu.edu to arrange for document notarization.