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General Counsel

Chicago, IL
Full Time
Job #: 1505 Exp.: 6+ Years
Shedd Aquarium is seeking a General Counsel who will provide legal services in connection with the Aquarium's exhibits, public and programs, research and general business activities. This position renders advice and counsel on a variety of legal issues including: the review, drafting and negotiation of contracts; copyright and trademark matters; labor and employment matters; assistance with the management of the Aquarium's liability insurance portfolio and responding to inquiries concerning coverage; and interpretation of certain Aquarium policies and procedures. The General Counsel also provides support for the staff that interfaces with the Board of Trustees including ensuring appropriate record maintenance and providing counsel concerning Board governance matters.

This position will serve as liaison and point of contact with specialized outside legal counsel as needed

As a newly created position, the candidate will have the opportunity to help define the role to bring maximal productive value to Shedd Aquarium. This position is a direct report to the CFO with certain reporting responsibilities to the President/CEO.

Duties & Responsibilities:
  • Demonstrate commitment to Shedd’s vision, mission and values.
  • In partnership with the Aquarium’s Purchasing Manager, review, negotiate, and draft contracts related to all aspects of operations, including construction, special events, independent contractor, performance, and educational program agreements.
  • In coordination with the VP of Finance/Controller, advise on laws governing federal and state tax-exempt, non-profit organization status, including IRS charitable gift acknowledgement, corporate sponsorship, and unrelated business activities and income tax.
  • In coordination with other senior managers, advise on federal and state laws and regulations affecting the Aquarium’s operations including animal welfare and research activities.
  • Provide advice regarding copyright, trademark, rights of privacy and publicity, and product licensing issues for exhibitions, education programs, publications, and public relations activities.
  • Assist in the administration of the Aquarium's insurance program; provide counsel on matters related to insurance coverage and risk management. Partner with the Chief Financial Officer on Enterprise Risk Management.
  • In consultation with the SVP of Human Resources, provide support and legal advice to ensure compliance with relevant federal, state, county, and city laws, regulations and ordinances.
  • Represent the Aquarium in alternate dispute resolution and litigation matters, working with outside counsel as appropriate
  • In coordination with the VP of Technology, provide support and legal advice on IT agreements and information privacy
  • Provide legal support to the S Senior Director, Executive and Board Administration and advise on Board governance and record keeping matters
  • Provide support to Shedd’s research team in securing appropriate domestic and international research permits
  • Serve as member of the Aquarium's leadership team, providing strategic input about the Aquarium’s business matters.
  • Other duties as assigned.

  • Must be a graduate of an accredited law school and licensed to practice law in the state of Illinois.
  • Incumbent must remain a member of the Illinois State Bar in good standing for the duration of this employment.

  • Minimum of six years’ experience with relevant legal issues in a law firm or as in-house counsel.
  • Not-for-profit experience is preferred.
  • Knowledge of contract law , technology contracts, information privacy issues, tax issues relating to exempt organizations, and employment law preferred.

Skills & Characteristics
  • Must be comfortable working with range of clients, managing busy practice with multiple competing priorities, high integrity standards and learning about new areas of practice.
  • Must approach the position from a perspective of helping the Aquarium achieve operational goals while staying legally complaint in all matters.
  • Ability to independently and effectively negotiate business contracts, settlement agreements, and other legal matters.
  • Use critical thinking skills to provide legal advice in all aspects of roles and responsibilities. Excellent written, verbal, and interpersonal skills.

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