The university counsel is a member of the president's senior management team and the attorney for the University and all persons acting on behalf of the University.

The university counsel is responsible for the development and implementation of legal policy and for ensuring that the University's activities conform with all applicable laws. The university counsel also provides legal advice for all administrators as well as those instructional faculty that are acting on behalf of the University.

The university counsel is appointed by the attorney general of the commonwealth of Virginia in consultation with the Board of Visitors and the president. The university counsel serves at the pleasure of the attorney general of the commonwealth of Virginia. On matters of legal advice and representation, the university counsel reports to the attorney general of the commonwealth of Virginia. On matters involving the implementation of legal policy, the university counsel reports to the Board of Visitors. On matters involving day-to-day administrative tasks, the university counsel reports to the chief of staff.