Chief Legal Officer

With world attention on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. By focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches, we tackle urgent threats with practical solutions. We are one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of approximately 700 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. We operate in 22 geographies with unique projects running across four programs. You will be part of a vibrant workplace where innovation and results are a way of life.

 

EDF envisions a world in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected to the environmental challenges we face and are engaged in creating durable, equitable solutions. We seek talented candidates who share our Core Values of Respect, Results, Innovation, Optimism, and Integrity, and support our Commitment to Diversity.  

Overall Function

 

 

The Chief Legal Officer (CLO) directs and manages the provision of legal services to EDF globally to ensure maximum protection of its legal rights and to maintain its operations within the limits prescribed by law. The CLO provides strategic guidance, consultation and legal expertise to EDF executive leadership and senior management on a comprehensive range of legal and associated issues related to the operations of carrying out EDF’s mission. As a senior advisor, the CLO evaluates potential impacts of operational decisions or courses of action; anticipates issues and estimates risks strategically; and identifies proactive solutions that meet operational requirements while also mitigating risks to the organization.  

 

The CLO must be a business partner and hands-on attorney, adept at creating associations of trust and respect with key stakeholders, both internal and external. The CLO is expected to successfully manage complex, significant matters that cut across multiple legal areas: commercial, employment, international registrations and filings, privacy, etc. As EDF’s principal ethics officer, the CLO also directs and manages a comprehensive, organization-wide ethics compliance and training program. The CLO also stays abreast of legislative changes, whether in the U.S. or abroad, which may have an impact on EDF operations.

 

This role reports to the EVP & Chief Administrative Officer, who reports to the President. 

Key Responsibilities

 

  • Set overall strategy and direction for EDF’s legal department
  • Advise the Executive Team, Board of Trustees and other senior business management on myriad corporate and commercial legal areas such as: commercial contracts, strategic corporate transactions, licensing, compliance, internal controls, organizational governance, privacy and data privacy, risk management, international business, intellectual property, and employment law.
  • Select and retain outside counsel, as required, to obtain legal opinions or to handle claims and litigation.
  • Provide oversight and legal advice on ethics and governance issues among the business segments and other functional areas
  • Provide actionable, timely and strategic legal advice on organizational compliance with local, state, federal and international laws and regulations
  • Provide legal and strategic guidance to facilitate EDF’s global enterprise expansion
  • Provide legal expertise on risk exposure, liability, compliance, and governance
  • Manage defensive litigation strategy in collaboration with external counsel
  • Develop and manage the legal resources, budget, and outside counsel
  • Train and mentor a small legal staff

 

Qualifications

 

  • Juris Doctorate required and license to practice law in at least one U.S. state
  • Proven general counseling experience, at a senior level, in business and/or not-for-profit enterprises.
  • A minimum of twenty years of broad legal experience, including corporate law, not-for-profit law, employment law, litigation, etc.
  • Proven experience advising enterprises or organizations with multifold, geographically dispersed,  international presence and operations.
  • Personal presence and gravitas to present to executive leadership as well as Board of Trustees
  • Demonstrated team management experience
  • Results-oriented, self-starter with the ability to think strategically and work on fast-paced, dynamic issues
  • Ability to work both independently and as a leader or member of teams in a dynamic and creative environment with colleagues and partners of varied background and experience
  • Demonstrated ability to work cross-functionally and in a collaborative manner up and down the organization
  • Able to prioritize and be flexible
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills

Location

 

Ideally, this role will be based in one of our larger offices - New York, Washington DC, Boston, San Francisco.

 

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Environmental Defense Fund is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant's qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.

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