About the Office of the General Counsel

Doing Business Online


Event Planning



Privacy and Copyright

For additional information regarding copyright, see “Copyright and Fair Use: A Guide for the Harvard Community.

Real Estate


Student Records


Can I retain outside counsel for a University matter?

No. As a matter of University policy, only the Office of the General Counsel can retain outside counsel. If you believe outside counsel is needed for a University matter, you should contact the OGC which will determine whether the work may be handled in-house or whether we should retain outside counsel. If it is necessary to retain outside counsel, the OGC may consult with you on selecting the outside attorney.

Does the OGC represent or give legal advice to faculty members or employees in their individual capacities?

No. The OGC is able to represent the University only, and the OGC works only on University-related matters. Harvard faculty and employees may be able to obtain legal services through Harvard’s Employee Assistance Program. See the Harvie website for information on this program.

Does the OGC represent students?

No. The OGC is not able to represent students or student organizations.

How can I contact the Office of the General Counsel?

Harvard University Office of the General Counsel

Smith Campus Center, Suite 980 
1350 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138-3834

Smith Center Reception: 617-495-1280
Smith Center Fax: 617-495-5079

Massachusetts Hall Office: 617-495-4778
Massachusetts Hall Fax: 617-496-6109

If you need assistance from the Office of the General Counsel but do not know which lawyer to contact, please call Ranna Farzan at 496-3006 or Email, if she is unavailable, Diane Lopez at 496-4172.

What type of legal services does the OGC provide?

The Office of the General Counsel is responsible for providing a full range of legal services to the University. OGC attorneys work in a wide variety of practice areas. (See the full list of services.) We also engage outside counsel on behalf of Harvard when legal matters presented are not within the expertise of the office.

Where should process servers be directed to serve the University, or its schools, institutes, centers and the like with subpoenas, summonses, etc?

Effective March 16, 2020: 

Harvard University has curtailed normal operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, the Office of the General Counsel is closed and there is no access to the Smith Campus Center without a Harvard ID. Process servers should serve papers in hand during normal business hours at the Harvard University Police Department located at 1033 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Cambridge, MA. The business phone number for HUPD is 617 495-1215.

You should take into account that during this time, the University’s response to subpoenas or other information requests will be limited by the unavailability of staff.

If a subpoena or summons happens to be delivered to your school or department, please note the date, time and method of receipt (in hand, by mail) and whether or not a payment was wth the document. The document should then immediately be delivered to the Office of the General Counsel.

Who does the Office of the General Counsel represent?

The Office of the General Counsel provides legal advice and representation to Harvard University. OGC attorneys advise the President and Fellows, officers, faculty, and staff, all in their official capacities, on various issues affecting the University. The OGC also represents entities separately incorporated and controlled by Harvard, such as Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation and Harvard Global.

Can I use the Harvard Logo?