Harvard has begun searching for a new member of its executive legal staff, and officials say they hope to make a final selection within the next few months.
The decision to create a new assistant's position on the law staff marks the second major recent change within the department.
The new assistant, who will be designated as "deputy general counsel," will allow Harvard to save funds by handling additional case work within its own staff rather than relying on outside firms, officials said yesterday.
Officials downplayed the effects on policy of the new assistant, saying that responsibility for labor and real estate issues--two areas where the University has weathered substantial criticism--would not be changed.
Daniel Steiner, '54, who for 12 years has served as the University's chief legal counsel, said yesterday that he decided to create the new assistant's post about a month ago.
In October, President Bok promoted Steiner to the position of Vice President and General Counsel. In his elevated post, Steiner continues to direct the University's legal department and also oversees Harvard Real Estate, which manages the University's portfolio of residential housing--the largest in the city.
"We are not experiencing any problems" on the law staff, Steiner said. "We only plan to move more of our [legal] work in house.
The new assistant will be responsible for handling various legal problems, including cases involving contracts, taxes, and donations to the University.
Edward W. Powers, associate general counsel, will continue to handle "all employee-related matters such as benefits, grievances, workers' compensation and unemployment compensation," he said yesterday.
The new assistant will work at the same bureacratic level as Powers, he said.
Steiner said he is currently trying to "identify a pool of candidates" and that he has not yet begun interviews.
Candidates for the job should have at least eight years experience as an attorney and "excellent interpersonal skills," according to an advertisement placed by Harvard.