Frequently Asked Questions

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

Q. Does the Office of the General Counsel provide legal advice to students?
A. No.  The Office 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 attorneys in the Litigation unit for information.  You may receive a subpoena because you are a witness in a matter not involving the University.  If so, the 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 our Office immediately if you are served with a complaint so that we may review and respond.  Information about the University’s insurance and indemnity policies is on the Treasurer’s Office General Insurance Information page.

Q. How do I use or register a UMass trademark or logo?
A. You can contact Evelin Szymborn, Trademark & Licensing Coordinator at with your request.  The Trademark and Licensing Administration manages all University trademark or logo requests.