Not unless the legal matter is related to issues arising from your employment or other relationship at JMU or a JMU-sponsored event or activity.

If the legal matter is related to issues arising from your employment at JMU, this office and the office of the Virginia Attorney General may provide legal representation for you.  If it is a purely personal matter we are unable to provide any advice or referral.

Information provided to the Office of University Counsel for the purpose of seeking legal advice in connection with your employment is generally protected from disclosure by the attorney-client privilege.  This means that clients represented by the Office of University Counsel can communicate with the attorneys in our office about the legal issues facing the University with reasonable expectation that the communications are confidential and may not be disclosed to third parties.  As you would expect, such information is not withheld from other University officials who have a need to know it.  The attorney-client privilege may be waived if information is disclosed to others outside the attorney-client relationship.  Please consult with the Office of University Counsel if you have any questions about whether certain information is protected by this privilege.

Contact the Office of University Counsel immediately at 568-5242.  By law, the University must respond to lawsuits within a specified time period after service.  Accordingly, it is imperative that you notify us as soon as you are served so we can review the matter and respond in a timely manner.

All dealings with outside attorneys should be conducted through the Office of University Counsel.  If you are contacted by an attorney other than an OUC attorney, please refer him/her to our office without discussing the matter at issue.  Similarly, if anyone with whom you are dealing states that they intend to file a lawsuit against the University or indicates they are represented by counsel, please refer them to the Office of University Counsel immediately.

It is the policy of the Office of the Attorney General to defend state employees who become parties to legal proceedings by virtue of their good faith efforts to perform their responsibilities of employment. An employee personally named as a defendant in a lawsuit should contact our office immediately for more information.

As a state institution, JMU participates in state-administered insurance plans.  Pursuant to state law, the Division of Risk Management (DRM), within the the Virginia Treasury, protects the Commonwealth of Virginia's departments, agencies, institutions, boards, commissions, officers, agents, and employees against the financial risks that result from legal liability, property damage or loss, and loss of state funds.  DRM offers the following:

  • Liability (including Automobile Liability)
  • Property
  • Automobile Physical Damage (CarCare)
  • Bonds
  • Aviation and Watercraft

More information can be found on JMU's Office of Risk Management website.


Contact our office immediately.  A subpoena is an order of the court.  It may command you to appear at a specified date, time and location to testify, or a subpoena may command you to produce certain documents.  In either case, you should contact us immediately.  It is important to let us review the subpoena to determine the University’s rights and responsibilities for compliance.  Do not ignore a subpoena even if it addresses something you are unfamiliar with or asks for documents you don’t have. Failure to respond to a subpoena could result in you, or the University, being held in contempt of court.

If you receive a litigation or preservation hold from the Office of University Counsel, it is because we believe you may have documents related to the matter identified in the hold.  Please read through the document carefully as failure to comply may have legal consequences.  If you have questions about your obligations under the hold, please contact the attorney who sent the preservation hold to you, or call the Office of University Counsel at 568-5242.

A jury summons is a legal order from a court, and you are obligated to respond to the summons.  If you fail to respond the court may hold you in contempt.  If you explain your work or class situation, the court may excuse you from service for a specific summons, but JMU encourages its students and employees to fulfill their civic duty.  Unless there are unusual circumstances involved, your absence from work or class for this purpose should not result in any detriment to you if you notify your supervisor or faculty members of the summons.

If you receive a request for documents, data or other information maintained by the University, oral or written, and regardless of whether the request specifically cites FOIA, you should immediately contact University Communications at 540-568-3621, and forward a copy of any written request to  Do not delay in contacting that office after receiving a request.  The University has only five working days from receipt of the request to respond so it is important to notify them immediately.  Do not begin searching for or copying documents before talking to them.  They will work with you to formulate the response to the request and will advise you on the requirements of the law.

If you would like to request documents, data, or other information maintained by the University, please visit:

All media inquiries should be directed to University Communications.

You need specific authority to sign a contract that binds the University.  A contract may be referred to as many things such as an agreement, memorandum of understanding, and similar titles, but any document that purports to bind the Institution may be a contract.  Any signature that is not authorized may obligate you personally to the terms of the contract (including any payment requirements), but will not obligate the institution.  The policy on signatories for contracts is Policy 4100. 

The policy on signatories for contracts for student groups is Policy 4101.  If you are asked to sign any document to obligate the University, or a portion of the Institution, you should contact this office for guidance.

Federal and State laws apply to all Virginia public agencies, including JMU. 

JMU has adopted regulations, policies, and procedures. Some of these are listed below. 


Manual of Policies & Procedures:


In accordance with Code of Virginia § 23.1-401.1. JMU has adopted Policy 1121, Public Expression on Campus. 

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