The mission of the Office of General Counsel is to lead and serve our nine academic and six health institutions and UT System Administration to proactively manage legal affairs and solve legal problems to achieve UT System’s overall educational mission.
To achieve its mission, the Office of General Counsel is organized into sections: Business Law, Claims and Financial Litigation, General Law, Health Law, and Real Estate.
The Business Law section is organized into specialty practices: Construction, Contracting and Procurement, Intellectual Property and Technology Transactions, Tax, Employee Benefits and Gift Planning, and University Lands. The section supports the commercial and business activities of UT System and UT institutions and provides legal counsel and advice primarily to the chief business officers and the departments under their supervision relating to:
Claims & Financial Litigation is responsible for the collection of delinquent student loans, estate claims, certain hospital accounts and related liens, physician accounts, bankruptcy claims, and miscellaneous business accounts for UT System and UT institutions. Additionally, the section reviews contracts that relate to collections issues, such as contracts between institutions and outside collection agencies, and advises institutions regarding various legal and business issues relating to receivables management. In general, delinquent student loans are routinely referred by the institutions to OGC for litigation pursuant to National Direct Student Loan guidelines and/or OGC guidelines. Delinquent hospital and physician accounts, as well as the bankruptcy, estate and miscellaneous accounts, are referred in accordance with UT System business procedures and OGC guidelines. Collection of these claims/accounts is attempted through negotiated settlements or lawsuits. The authority to litigate is granted to the section attorneys by the Office of the Attorney General.
The General Law section provides legal advice and counsel to UT System and UT institutions on a broad range of issues, including:
The Health Law section provides legal advice and counsel to the UT System health institutions regarding operational, regulatory, and transactional matters. Additionally, the section administers The University of Texas System Professional Medical Liability Benefit Plan. Administration of the Plan involves legal review and investigation of medical liability claims, negotiation of settlements, coordination of potential state liability with the Office of the Attorney General, defense of lawsuits, and management of outside defense counsel. Risk management education is aimed at reducing the risk of involvement in incidents and allegations of medical negligence. All physicians covered by the Plan are required to participate in risk management education. To accomplish this, an online course is available to all UT physicians. Credentialing documents are available through the Health Law section.
The Professional Medical Liability Benefit Plan has been in existence since 1977 and is authorized by Sections 59.01 et seq. of the Texas Education Code. The Plan insures faculty physicians, dentists, residents, fellows, and medical students. The Vice Chancellor and General Counsel is the Plan Administrator.
Plan accounting is the responsibility of the UT System Office of Risk Management. The University of Texas Investment Management Company invests the Plan's assets. An independent actuarial review of the Plan is conducted annually. Plan premiums are determined on the basis of the annual actuarial review. The Health Law Section works closely with the actuaries in evaluating existing litigation and forecasting future Plan premiums.
The Medical Liability Management Committee membership consists of the Vice Chancellor and General Counsel (Chair), the Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Executive Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs. The committee meets quarterly to review actuarial, financial, and claims history reports, and recommend premium rates and coverage levels.
The Real Estate Office provides centralized and comprehensive real estate services for the UT System and UT institutions and provides guidance and assistance to the institutions for compliance with policies and laws governing real property and real property transactions. The office is also responsible for the management, sales, and leases of surface interests in real property donated or bequeathed to a UT System institution, and evaluation of any proposed gifts or bequests of surface interests in real property. Mineral interests are handled by University Lands. The Real Estate Office represents the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System and enters into all real property agreements on behalf of the UT System and UT System institutions.