General Counsel and University Secretary

Barbara Eccles

HBSc, JD, LLM
Barrister, Solicitor, and Notary Public

Deb Comuzzi

Barbara Eccles is an Ontario Lawyer with over 21 years experience in corporate law, intellectual property issues, management labour law, innovation management, technology transfer and contracts related to University operations.  She has extensive in-house, corporate governance, and general counsel experience.

Barb was appointed Lakehead’s first General Counsel and University Secretary in August 2016, after several years Senior Advisor to the President and Legal Counsel, and over a decade leading Lakehead's innovation management program.  Prior to joining Lakehead University, Barb was an associate lawyer at a local law firm, practicing primarily in the areas of corporate law, tax, and bankruptcy and insolvency, and management labour law.  For eleven years, Barb was a Contract Lecturer in Lakehead's Faculty of Business Administration, teaching law at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

The General Counsel and University Secretary, a member of the University's senior executive team, provides in-house legal services to the University, supervises external counsel when specialized legal expertise is necessary,  supports and advises Lakehead's governing bodies in exercising their legislative, monitorial or judicial functions, and acts as a liaison between governance and administration.

Barb graduated in 1990 with first class standing from Lakehead University with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Physics with Energy and Fuel Science.  After one year of graduate studies at McMaster University, she attended law school at the University of Toronto, graduating in 1994 with a Juris Doctor degree. She was called to the Ontario Bar as a Barrister and Solicitor in 1996.  In 2009 she received her Master of Laws in International Commercial Law with Distinction from Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  She was awarded the Registered Technology Transfer Professional designation by the Alliance of Technology Transfer Professionals in 2010.

Position Overview

The General Counsel and University Secretary (GC&US) is a member of the University's senior executive team. This position plays a dual role, that of providing in-house legal services to the University and of ensuring the provision of whatever support and organizational assistance is needed for the governing bodies at Lakehead (Board of Governors, the Senate, the Ogimaawin-Aborginal Governance Council) to exercise their legislative, monitorial or judicial functions.

On the legal side, the GC&US is a generalist, providing on-going advice on a wide range of issues to the President and Vice-Chancellor, the executive team, as well as to the deans and other administrative and academic managers. They also determine if a situation requires specialized legal expertise and, if counsel need to be retained, supervises external counsel in such situations.

In addition to providing governance advice and logistical support to Lakehead's governing bodies and for the governance-related work of the President and the executive team, the GC&US acts as a liaison between governance and administration, promoting best practices and strong, effective working relationships. The GC&US reports to the President and Vice-Chancellor.

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