Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What to do with a subpoena or summons?

A: See the Subpoenas and Summonses page.

Q: What does the attorney-client privilege mean?

A: See the Attorney Client Privilege page.

Q: Who needs to review and approve a contract?

A: See the Contracts page.

Q: Who can sign a contract?

A: See the Signature Authority page.

Q: How can I contact the Office of General Counsel?

A: The Office of General Counsel is located in the Rebecca Crown building, located at 633 Clark Street, Evanston, Illinois 60208. We can be reached by phone at 847-491-5605 or by fax at 847-467-3092.

Q: Which attorney in the Office of General Counsel should I contact if I need legal assistance?

A: You can review the list of attorneys on our website and can call or e-mail one of the attorneys in the appropriate practice area. If it is unclear which practice area is involved in your question or concern, you can call the Office of General Counsel’s main number (847-491-5605) and you will be directed to the appropriate attorney.

Q: May I hire an outside lawyer for University business?

A: No. Only the Office of General Counsel may retain outside counsel for matters related to the University.

Q: Can the Office of General Counsel find me a personal attorney?

A: The Office of General Counsel does not generally refer employees to private attorneys. However, individual attorneys in the office on occasion can provide some information on local practitioners.

Q: Who does the Office of General Counsel represent?

A: The Office of General Counsel provides legal advice and representation to Northwestern University. The University and all of its schools and departments are one legal entity. In that capacity, the Office of General Counsel advises the Trustees, Officers, Faculty, and Staff, all in their official capacities, on various issues impacting the University to reach decisions that are in the best interest of the University. To the extent different areas of the University have different view points on any issue, the President, or if the situation requires, the University’s Board of Trustees have final authority.

Q: Can the Office of General Counsel represent or give legal advice to individual faculty members or students on non-University matters?

A: No. The Office of General Counsel represents the University and the attorneys work only on University-related matters.

Q: What should I do if I receive a court order or subpoena, or if I am contacted by an attorney in connection with University business?

A: You should not respond and immediately contact the Office of General Counsel. Our office will coordinate the appropriate response to such legal inquiries.