Public Affairs, The California State University

CSU Office of General Counsel a “Best Legal Department”

CSU Office of General Counsel a "Best Legal Department"

The CSU’s Office of General Counsel oversees 23 campuses, 44,000 faculty and staff, and nearly 440,000 students. As lawyers for the world’s largest four-year university system, they must navigate complex and often unprecedented legal matters. Because they do so with innovation, efficiency and passion, Corporate Counsel magazine has recognized the CSU team as a “Best Legal Department.”

The CSU team was one of only four outstanding departments selected for the annual award by Corporate Counsel, the leading publication for general counsel and in-house attorneys. It’s one of the most significant honors a legal department can get, and the CSU distinction marked the first time it has ever been awarded to a public institution.

“One trait that all these departments share is that the individual lawyers are passionate about the work they do,” wrote Corporate Counsel Editor in Chief Anthony Paonita. “And I mean that frequently misused word (passionate) literally. Some of the university’s lawyers and staff are alumni … They’re all committed to a mission that motivates them to do their jobs in thoughtful, innovative ways.”

The publication’s in-depth profile of the CSU legal team illustrates that commitment and innovation. The department received praise for reducing caseload and expenses, while maintaining a high approval rating. The article also highlights the team’s deep connection with the CSU’s mission to provide an affordable education.

Corporate Counsel credits the leadership of Christine Helwick, who recently retired after 16 years of service as CSU’s general counsel, noting that “Helwick leaves behind a great law department that’s strong enough to last beyond her tenure.”