University of Washington Policy Directory

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*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Presidential Orders

Executive Order

No. 19

Attorney General's Division


Functions and Responsibilities

  A. Legal Advisor Role of the Attorney General

According to the statutes of the state of Washington, "The attorney general of the state shall be the legal advisor to the presidents and the boards of regents and trustees of the state's colleges and universities and he shall institute and prosecute or defend all suits in behalf of the same." [RCW 28B.10.510] Also, according to the statutes, "The attorney general may appoint necessary assistants, who shall hold office at his pleasure, and who shall have the power to perform any act which the attorney general is authorized by law to perform." [RCW 43.10.060]

  B. Attorney General's Division at the University of Washington

Pursuant to these provisions, the Attorney General has established a division at the University of Washington headed by a senior assistant attorney general with such assistant attorneys general as may be needed. Where special circumstances warrant it, the Attorney General occasionally appoints a special assistant attorney general to perform special legal assignments on behalf of the University under the supervision of the head of the division. The assistant attorneys general assigned to the University are directly responsible through the head of the division to the Attorney General and his or her chief deputy.

  C. Consultations and Communications with the Attorney General's University Division

All legal matters pertaining to the University must be handled by the Attorney General's University Division and should be directed to that office through the President or vice presidents of the University. Consultations and communications with that office should be in accordance with procedures authorized by the President or the Board of Regents.


Legal Procedures Involving the University and Its Personnel

  A. Subpoenas, Depositions, and Legal Process

In any instance where a person is served a subpoena, notice of deposition, or other legal process which relates to University business, that person shall immediately inform the Attorney General's Division of that fact. This policy does not apply to cases where the relation of the person to the legal proceedings is purely personal.

  B. Lawsuits, Claims, Actions, Summons, and Complaints against the University and Its Personnel

    1) Whenever any claim, suit, or proceeding is brought against an employee, student, or agent of the University which is believed to arise out of the performance or failure of performance for, or employment with, the University and the individual wants to be defended by the University, a written request that the University appear, defend the suit, and to hold the individual harmless from any expenses connected with the defense, settlement, or payment of monetary judgments from such action, claim, or proceeding, should be submitted to Claims Services. A copy of the request shall also be submitted to the individual's immediate supervisor and the Attorney General's Division of the University. Such request should include a copy of the claim, complaint, or other document asserting claim against the employee and a brief statement of the circumstances giving rise to the claim. To assure that defense of the matter is not compromised by a failure to respond within required time lines, such request should be made as soon as possible after receipt by the employee of any written notice that a claim is being served against him or her.

    2) The immediate supervisor shall confirm to Claims Services that the employee, agent, or student was within the course and scope of his or her University employment, agency, or student activities when the actions giving rise to the claim, suit, or proceeding occurred. A copy of such confirmation shall be provided to the employee, agent, or student who made the request for legal representation and indemnification by the University.

    3) Claims Services shall review the request and may utilize such means or actions deemed necessary in order to make a recommendation to the Associate Vice Provost, Compliance and Risk Services regarding the action to be taken on the request. Before recommending against a finding that the suit or claim is University related, Claims Services shall allow the employee, agent, or student to present, in person or by legal counsel, the reasons he or she believes that the claim arises out of his or her University duties.

    4) The Associate Vice Provost, Compliance and Risk Services shall review the request and the recommendations of Claims Services, and grant or deny the request based on the terms and conditions set forth in the Board of Regents Governance, Standing Orders, Chapter 5, "Indemnification of University Personnel."

    5) The Attorney General's Division shall take all necessary steps in the interim to protect the interest of the parties.


Personal Legal Consultation Not Available

The assistant attorneys general are not available for personal legal consultation.

June 1, 1972; February 21, 1978; June 13, 1980; June 1, 1990; April 20, 1994; February 19, 2004; RC, September 16, 2014; RC, July 14, 2015.

For related information, see:

  • Board of Regents Governance, Standing Orders, Chapter 5, "Indemnification of University Personnel"
  • Executive Order No. 3, "Legal Actions"