General Counsel
Description

For over 50 years, Legal Aid Chicago has provided free civil legal assistance to people living in  poverty in metropolitan Chicago. Each year our attorneys, volunteers, and staff help resolve civil legal problems, including domestic violence, consumer fraud, and unfair evictions. Legal  Aid Chicago was founded on the philosophy that all individuals are entitled to quality civil legal representation, regardless of their income. We work to ensure that poverty is not an impediment to justice by dismantling the legal barriers that perpetuate inequality. 


Legal Action Chicago is a subsidiary of Legal Aid Chicago. Legal Action works closely with the advocates at Legal Aid Chicago and with community groups to identify the most pressing issues affecting low-income families, with a special focus on racial equity. Legal Action is not bound by the restrictions tied to Legal Aid Chicago’s federal funding that prohibit Legal Aid Chicago from litigating class actions and pursuing legislative initiatives, and uses these tools and other forms of community-based policy advocacy to effect systemic changes.


Legal Aid Chicago and Legal Action Chicago staff live our mission through our core values of equity, excellence, inclusion, kindness, and respect.


Position: Legal Aid Chicago seeks a General Counsel (GC). The GC is responsible for the legal affairs of Legal Aid Chicago and Legal Action Chicago. This role includes providing legal counsel to the Board of Directors, the Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director (CEO/ED), and senior management. Under the general direction of the CEO/ED, the GC ensures that Legal Aid Chicago and Legal Action Chicago operate within the law at all times, ensuring legal compliance and limiting risk exposure. The GC advises on major contracts and transactions; labor and employment issues; litigation; and external counsel management. 


This could be a full or part-time position. Time commitment will be subject to negotiation. 

 

Responsibilities: 

Compliance

  • Ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations laws regarding programmatic and administrative operations, including compliance with government grants’ legal requirements, audits, and reporting 
  • Stay abreast of changes to relevant laws and regulations that impact legal services delivery and nonprofit operations
  • Provide legal compliance training for staff
  • Oversee internal and external programmatic audits
  • Maintain and update by-laws and other non-profit documents

Risk Management

  • Manage malpractice and general liability insurance coverage, including the reporting of potential and actual claims
  • Manage the resolution of Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission complaints and internal client grievances
  • Work with the Chief Information Officer (CIO) on issues of cybersecurity and other risk management issues relating to technology and information management 
  • Provide risk management administration and compliance administration as requested by Legal Action Chicago pursuant to its Joint Services Agreement with Legal Aid Chicago

Policy and Practice 

  • Manage responses to organization subpoenas
  • Serve on the Benefits Plans Administrative Committee
  • Provide legal advice on strategic initiatives 
  • Provide counsel on claims filed against Legal Aid Chicago, work with the CEO/ED to define a strategic defense, and approve settlements of disputes where warranted
  • Work with members of senior leadership to write or advise on internal policies 
  • Engage with pro bono counsel as necessary to advise on key organizational issues

Board Governance

  • Update by-laws and other corporate documents as needed, engaging pro bono counsel as needed
  • Ensure Board membership complies with by-laws and Legal Services Corporation grant requirements
  • Provide Board governance trainings and assist with new director orientations
  • Serve as a liaison for the Board’s Governance Committee, Client Relations Committee, and any other board committee as directed by the CEO/ED
  • Maintain the corporate records of the organization

Salary: Commensurate with experience Legal Aid Chicago offers a comprehensive benefits package, including low-cost employer-paid health plan options, employer-provided group life and long-term disability insurance, fitness center access, generous paid time off, and much more. 

Requirements

Applicants must be licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois and have significant legal practice experience. The ideal applicant will be knowledgeable about nonprofit best practices, including board governance and have experience advising on compliance related issues. Applicants should have keen analytic, organizational, and problem solving skills which support and enable sound decision-making, excellent communication and relationship building skills with an ability to prioritize, negotiate and work with a variety of internal and external stakeholders. Applicants’ personal background, experience, or professional background should reflect an ability to work effectively in cross-cultural situations with clients, co-workers and the community we serve.


  

Cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information of two professional references are required to apply.



Legal Aid Chicago is firmly committed to creating a diverse workplace and is proud to provide equal employment opportunities to all applicants and therefore does not discriminate on the basis of creed, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age religion, marital or parental status, alienage, disability, political affiliation or belief, military or military discharge status, or ex-offender status. Applicants who have experiences with our client communities are encouraged to apply.