Francesca Hennigar appointed as SFU general counsel

June 05, 2023

Following an extensive external recruitment process, Simon Fraser University is pleased to announce the permanent appointment of Francesca Hennigar as SFU general counsel.

A seasoned lawyer with multi-jurisdictional experience and a thorough understanding of the university landscape, Hennigar joined SFU as legal counsel in September 2019 and has served as acting general counsel since October 2022. During this time, she repeatedly demonstrated her ability to balance diverse internal and external stakeholder interests, while fostering positive relationships and developing creative and practical solutions to mitigate legal risk.

A supportive and energetic leader, Hennigar is valued for her ability to adapt and learn with enthusiasm and diligence. She has worked in both public and private practice and has a particular expertise in corporate/commercial law and deal making. She was called to the New York State bar in 2008 and was admitted to the Law Society of B.C. in 2012.

At SFU, Hennigar has provided legal advice to university leaders across a range of complex issues, including contracts, intellectual property, privacy, litigation, administrative law and procedural fairness, human rights and employment and labour. She created a process to engage and retain external legal counsel, with an eye to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion. She also co-led an initiative to transition the SFU Community Trust into a single-beneficiary trust; and developed updated employment agreement templates.

Reporting to the president, SFU’s general counsel serves as the university’s senior legal advisor, protecting the university from legal, governance, financial, operational and reputational risk. 

The general counsel is the lead for all legal matters and oversees the delivery of a full range of legal services, while being responsible for Archives and Records Management and policy development pursuant to university policy B10.00 (Policy on University Policies and Procedures).

Congratulations, Francesca!