Legal Counsel, Research Operations

  • Simon Fraser University
  • Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
  • Jul 25, 2018
Contract Lawyer (In House Counsel) Lawyer (Public Sector) Lawyer (Other)

Job Description

SFU's Research Operations unit manages over $140M in sponsored research income each year. This rapidly growing portfolio includes research partnerships with industry, community agencies, hospitals, government, and other educational institutions. Over 1500 grant agreements and 400 research contracts run through the RO units annually, managed by a dedicated staff of grant and contract officers.

The most complex bespoke agreements are developed and negotiated by the Legal Counsel. This critical member of the senior team provides services and both legal and business advice to unit Directors, the Executive Director and Vice-Presidents. Working closely with our Industry Engagement Office, the Counsel is directly responsible for a broad array of complex commercial negotiations, with particular emphasis on IP protection.

The RO team is located on the Burnaby campus, at the top of Burnaby Mountain and surrounded by 500 hectares of protected forest and recreation land. We provide a flexible work environment surrounded by a dynamic university setting.

Provides privileged, legal counsel to the Office of the Vice-President, Research and the Research Operations Portfolio, including the Office of Research Services, the Industry Engagement Office, and the Office of Research Ethics, and their respective staff. The Legal Counsel manages the legal portfolio for the University's research undertaking and establishes legal protocols and mechanisms for the review, negotiation, preparation, implementation, and enforcement of a wide range of research-related legal matters and contracts. The Legal Counsel is directly responsible for all senior-level University research-related contracts such as research consortia, network, inter-institutional, joint venture, affiliation, and technology licensing agreements. In addition, the Legal Counsel advises, educates, and consults with management, faculty, and staff on the preferred legal protocols and mechanisms for reviewing, negotiating, and preparing research-related contracts. The Legal Counsel provides guidance on a broad range of related corporate/commercial legal issues, and assists the Executive Director, Research Operations in determining the appropriate allocation of contract reviews depending on anticipated legal issues and staff competencies. The Legal Counsel liaises with the University's General Counsel, SFU Procurement Services, SFU Safety and Risk Services, and outside legal counsel. The Legal Counsel represents the University in negotiations with opposing public and private legal counsel on matters concerning the University's research portfolio, including contract negotiation, contract enforcement, and dispute avoidance and resolution. The Legal Counsel seeks to ensure both the ability to comply and actual compliance with the terms and conditions in research-related contracts for the purpose of facilitating University research and commercialization, ensuring legal and University policy compliance, and managing and minimizing risk and loss to the University.


  • LLB. Degree and professional designation as a lawyer eligible to practice in BC (e.g., a member in good standing in The Law Society of British Columbia or eligible for membership) with eight years of related legal experience divided between academia and industry, or an equivalent combination of education, training, and experience.
  • Excellent knowledge of the laws of British Columbia and the laws of Canada applicable therein with specific emphasis on the BC University Act, the BC Financial Administration Act, the BC Guarantees and Indemnities Regulation, the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, corporate, commercial, and contract law, and international/national patent and copyright laws.
  • Ability to manage a large, complex, and diverse legal caseload.
  • Excellent, oral, written, and interpersonal skills, exhibiting a high level of tact, professionalism, and diplomacy.
  • Excellent organizational, analytical, problem-solving, negotiation, and conflict resolution skills.
  • Excellent knowledge of the University's research-related policies and processes.
  • Ability to negotiate contractual issues with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Ability to manage highly confidential matters where the improper release of information would be injurious or detrimental to the University.
  • Ability to exercise diplomacy in the process of successfully concluding multi-party agreements that are in compliance with University policies.
  • Ability to uphold exemplary standards of the ethical and professional conduct.
  • Ability to make sound decisions and respond appropriately in all situations within the given time constraints.
  • Ability to accurately determine effective solutions to complex problems.
  • Ability to multi-task and determine priorities in a demanding work environment.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with numerous stakeholders (e.g., executives, faculty, staff, researchers, and industry and government research sponsors).

Assignment End Date: October 4, 2019

Practice Area(s)

corporate law