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Outside Counsel

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Guidelines for Litigation Disclosure Statement
Litigation Disclosure Statement
OAG Rules Concerning Outside Counsel

Outside Counsel Firm Details Information Form
 Outside Counsel Contract Example (FY22-FY23)
Outside Counsel Conflict Waiver Template


 

The University of Texas System and the 13 UT institutions fulfill most of their legal needs through in-house counsel. In limited situations, we retain outside counsel who display the skill, versatility, and commitment we expect of our own attorneys.

This page explains how we select and retain outside counsel and answers a few common questions. For questions not addressed here, please contact Carolyn Faulkner or Omar Syed.

The Role of the Texas Attorney General

By law, the Texas Attorney General’s Office must approve all state agency contracts for outside legal services. Within the UT System, every contract is approved by the Vice Chancellor and General Counsel. For this reason, the Office of General Counsel coordinates all requests to the Texas Attorney General for permission to retain counsel.

Whether a law firm advises one UT institution or several, every contract is between the firm and the UT System. Each contract is also based on a template created and approved by the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

Outside Counsel RFQ

Every two years, the UT System publishes a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) in the Electronic State Business Daily. The RFQ lists the areas of law in which we anticipate needing outside legal services and invites interested law firms to respond within 30 days. Our most recent RFQ is here.

A qualifying response places a law firm on a referral list. From that list, UT institutions can select outside counsel and, through the Office of General Counsel, obtain the Texas Attorney General’s approval to retain them. Placement on the list does not guarantee an outside counsel contract.

Retaining Other Law Firms

In rare situations, the UT System retains law firms that did not respond to the RFQ. These exceptions include situations in which highly specialized or unique experience is required, urgent time constraints apply, or local counsel is needed. In those situations as in others, the UT System coordinates approval from the Texas Attorney General.

Litigation

By law, the Texas Attorney General represents state agencies in most litigation. On occasion and with permission from the Texas Attorney General, UT institutions retain outside counsel to represent their interests in litigation. All affirmative litigation that is instituted on behalf of the Board of Regents, UT System, or any UT institution must have prior, specific approval from the Vice Chancellor and General Counsel.

Conflicts of Interest

Under rules issued by the Texas Attorney General, law firms we retain have an ongoing obligation to disclose situations that involve (a) conflicts of interest under Rule 1.06 of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct and (b) Sections 9.8.1 - 9.8.2 of the state’s outside counsel contract.

If a firm has a Rule 1.06 situation, it must:

If a firm has a Section 9.8.1 - 9.8.2 situation, it must: