Office of the General Counsel

Frequently Asked Questions

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Q. Does the GCO provide personal legal advice to individual employees?
A. No, the GCO represents the University and its employees in their official capacities, we cannot advise employees on matters which are not within the scope of their employment.

Q. Does the GCO provide legal advice to students?
A. No, the GCO does not provide assistance to students, unless a student is also acting as an employee, or agent, of the University in a particular matter.

Q. I received a subpoena to testify, what should I do?
A. A valid and properly served subpoena generally requires a person to appear at a deposition or court proceeding to give testimony under oath.  If the subpoena is in a matter in which the University is a party, or in which the University is a witness, you may contact the GCO litigation unit for information.  You may receive a subpoena because you are a witness in a matter not involving the University.  If so, the GCO litigation unit can provide you with general information about your rights as a witness, but we cannot represent you in any private matter.

Q. I have a question about using material on our department's website, who should I contact?
A.  The attorneys in our intellectual property unit advise employees about the use of photos, text, or other material on University websites or other locations and can advise you on this issue.

Q. If I'm sued because of something I did in my job, will the University defend me?
A. University employees who were acting in the scope of their employment duties and in the interests of the University will generally be defended and indemnified by the University in the event they are subject to legal action.   However, each situation is different and you should contact the GCO immediately if you are served with a complaint so that we may review and respond.  More information about the University's insurance and indemnity policies is on the Treasurer's Office risk management site:  http://www.massachusetts.edu/treasurer/generalinsurance.html

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