The role of the Office of Legal Counsel is to provide representation to the 14 public universities which comprise the State System of Higher Education. The structure consists of the Board of Governors
, Chancellor, 14 presidents and 14 councils of trustees.
The Office of Legal Counsel consists of the Office of Chief Counsel and the Offices of University Legal Counsel which are both located at the Office of the Chancellor in Harrisburg. The office is composed of ten attorneys, a special investigator, an office administrator, and four clerical staff. Most attorneys are assigned two universities as primary clients. In addition, the attorneys have developed areas of specialization, such as: intellectual property, student affairs, employment discrimination, real estate, institutional development, construction contracting, litigation and technology.
Unlike other paradigms of representation within the Commonwealth, the attorneys at the State System are general practitioners who represent all facets of university operations as opposed to a narrow area of expertise.
The State System also uses the services of several outside firms for support in more specialized areas such as labor relations, immigration, taxation, workers compensation, and civil rights litigation. In addition, as a Commonwealth agency, the State System is formally represented by the Office of Attorney General in cases involving personal injury and employment discrimination as required by the Commonwealth Attorneys Act.