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Legal & Governance Support Specialist

Date: March 2016
Reports to (Job Title): Associate University Secretary & Legal Counsel
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles): None
Department: Secreteriat & Office of General Counsel


Waterloo Campus



Primary Purpose

The Legal & Governance Support Specialist (the “Specialist”) will support the Associate University Secretaries & Legal Counsel (“Counsel”) by providing: expert administrative and logistical support to Counsel in relation to committees, councils and other decision-making bodies of the University; and professional administrative, drafting and research support to Counsel with respect to University policy management and legal matters. The Specialist is often the first point of contact for members of the University community in their dealings with Counsel, and, therefore, must personify professional courtesy, maintain current knowledge of the work of the Secretariat & Office of General Counsel (the “SOGC”), and observe utmost confidentiality concerning discussions, correspondence and other written materials.


The SOGC functions to support, facilitate, and guide governing bodies, committees, councils, tribunals, the University executives, and other decision-makers at the University in carrying out their mandates and on virtually any matter of operation. The SOGC also manages, carries and leads with respect to the legal affairs of the University and oversees management of the University’s policy framework and risk environment. The SOGC performs these functions independently and impartially, with extreme confidentiality, discretion and the highest level of professional ethics at the center of every activity.


The Specialist assists in achieving the mission of the SOGC as described above, striving to enhance the department’s overall effectiveness and efficiency by performing a wide range of tasks.

Key Accountabilities:






Position Requirements


Because of the research and writing requirements of the position, a university degree or equivalent experience and education is required.


4-5 years of experience providing legal, administrative and governance support in a highly confidential, challenging environment. The incumbent will have a thorough knowledge of the University, its governance structure and policies and procedures, and a proven ability to manage a large volume of work, conflicting priorities, and competing deadlines. The incumbent must have excellent communication, organizational, problem solving, technical and writing skills.


MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other
Advanced Advanced

Waterloo Content Management System - Advanced


MS Access - Advanced


MS Outlook - Advanced


SharePoint - Advanced


Adobe Acrobat Professional - Advanced

Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

Required attributes include the following: demonstrated experience working in a highly confidential environment at the executive level; excellent legal administration skills; a thorough understanding of the University’s governing documents (including The University of Waterloo Act among others), committee/council/governing body mandates, and policies, procedures and guidelines; demonstrated outstanding interpersonal and relationship-building skills; tact, judgment and diplomacy and a positive and professional attitude; resourceful, creative and thorough researcher and problem-solver; demonstrated ability to take initiative and work both independently and as part of a team in a fast-paced and challenging environment; organizational and planning skills, with ability to think logically and anticipate outcomes; independent judgment in areas of time management and task prioritization; ability to balance competing demands on tight deadlines; demonstrated experience with filing systems.  Excellent oral and written communication skills are a requirement.

Level of Responsibility:

The Specialist performs no direct supervision of others, but is responsible for coordinating the inputs of many internal and external parties to legal, policy and governance matters and decision-making bodies. The incumbent will use judgment to assist in the formulation of decisions in a highly confidential environment and will be involved in developing recommendations to settle highly sensitive, confidential matters that are critical to the University.


Problem Solving:

The Specialist provides assistance, advice guidance and problem-solving support to members of the SOGC and wider University community, as outlined above and as may be determined time to time in conjunction with Counsel. 

Decision-Making Authority:

The Specialist is expected to be primarily self-directed in executing his/her responsibilities. The role has a mix of defined, specialized, routine, and non-routine tasks and requires sound judgment, tact, and discretion in balancing and executing these responsibilities. The incumbent will make recommendations to Counsel regarding the execution of their responsibilities.

Physical and Sensory Demands:

Minimal demands typical of a position operating within an office environment.

Working Environment:

Minimal exposure to disagreeable conditions. There can be a lack of control over work pace due to irregular and/or high volumes of work and multiple and/or tight, unalterable deadlines, and frequent interruptions.

The SOGC deals with a heavy workload and regularly interacts with senior University officers, high-ranking external Board members, external legal counsel, members of the public, as well as faculty, staff and students. There is frequently the need to give close attention simultaneously to various stimuli such as written material and information communicated verbally to/from co-workers. There are strict deadline pressures and potential for multiple, sometimes competing, priorities and frequent interruptions. Because the work of the SOGC supports decision-making at the highest levels of the University and is subject to public scrutiny, thoroughness, accuracy, and attention to detail are absolutely essential. The incumbent will routinely deal with confidential and sensitive information.