Full-Time Assistant General Counsel – Programs and Regulatory Affairs
Sierra Club’s Office of General Counsel is hiring an Assistant General Counsel for Programs and Regulatory Affairs to provide legal advice and counsel to staff and volunteers on a wide variety of legal, compliance, and regulatory matters. Our ideal candidate is a seasoned, mission-driven leader and attorney who understands the role of in-house counsel within a nationwide nonprofit organization. Core job activities include providing legal support and advice to programs, teams and campaigns, reviewing and evaluating decisions for legal and regulatory risk and compliance, and advising on governance and policy questions.
Job Title: Assistant General Counsel – Programs and Regulatory Affairs
Department: Office of the General Counsel
Location: Oakland, CA; Washington, DC., Chicago, IL or Remote
Reports To: Chief Legal Officer
Context: At the Sierra Club, we believe in the power of togetherness. Together, we remain committed to the fight for a healthy climate built on a foundation of environmental, racial, economic, and gender justice – a future where all people benefit from a healthy, thriving planet and a direct connection to nature. As the climate crisis and deeply entrenched systemic racism all fuel inequity, we will continue to fight for a bold, transformational agenda that recognizes the interconnectedness between our planet, our humanity, and our democracy. By recognizing that our destinies are tied, we continue to name that all things are fundamentally connected, and the overlap between ecology, race, gender, and representative government will move to either advance our collective humanity or to oppress it.
Sierra Club has staff across the country and a network of local chapters that support our grassroots engagement. We are also proud to be a unionized employer, with two labor unions representing more than half of our employees.
Scope: The Assistant General Counsel provides a range of legal services and support across the Sierra Club, including legal support and advice to programs, teams and campaigns, reviewing and evaluating decisions for legal and regulatory risk and compliance, advising on governance and policy questions, and reviewing, negotiating and managing contracts. The Assistant General Counsel reports to the Chief Legal Officer and works closely with volunteer leaders and staff throughout the organization, at both the National and local level. The Assistant General Counsel provides legal advice and counsel to Sierra Club staff and volunteer leadership on a wide variety of legal and regulatory matters, including contracts, 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) regulatory compliance, campaign finance, intellectual property, governance, and enterprise risk management issues.
Job activities include but are not limited to:
- Coordinates with outside counsel on legal threats, litigation, and regulatory matters.
- Drafts, reviews and negotiates complex commercial agreements and contracts.
- Conducts internal investigations and prepares reports of investigation.
- Reviews and evaluates draft publications, including but not limited to, internal and external communications, advocacy pieces, campaign materials, and program-related documents, for legal and regulatory risk.
- Provides legal advice and counsel on a wide variety of regulatory and legal issues impacting Sierra Club as a 501(c)(4) tax exempt organization, including non-profit tax law compliance, intellectual property, campaign finance, non-profit governance, and political campaigns programming and compliance.
- Reviews the Club’s 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) operating policies, procedures, and publications to ensure the proper reporting and expenditure of funds. Prepares and disseminates training materials, policies, and guidance as appropriate.
- Draft policies and training materials for program compliance on a broad range of laws, regulations, and policies applicable to the Sierra Club, including but not limited to, the California Corporations Code, the IRS tax code, state election laws, organizational policies, and FEC regulations, advisory opinions, policy statements and interpretive rules.
- Advises and supports staff and volunteer leaders across the Sierra Club on a range of legal, business, and operational issues relevant to a large, complex tax-exempt organization.
Engages and collaborates with the Sierra Club Foundation on operational, financial, and compliance matters.
- Partners with the Director of Compliance to develop Sierra Club procedures and guidelines related to federal, state and local elections for use by staff and volunteers ensuring compliance with Sierra Club policies and applicable election law.
Supports the Sierra Club enterprise risk management function by reviewing and evaluating business practices, decisions and transactions for legal and regulatory risk. Provides legal advice and counsel to pre-empt and mitigate risk.
- Performs special projects and other duties as assigned.
The successful candidate must have the following skills and experience: The Sierra Club seeks a seasoned, mission-driven leader and attorney who understands the role of in-house counsel within a nationwide nonprofit organization. Among other qualities and experiences, this role requires the following skills and competencies:
- A J.D. from an accredited U.S. law school and admission in good standing to a state bar within the United States.
- Eight to ten years of relevant legal and/or regulatory compliance experience with a 501(c) organization or similar in-house (including non-profit) experience.
- Leading on Equity. You model effective equity analysis and practice and have a track record of operationalizing equity, and have embedded justice and equity throughout team/department policies, structures, culture, and programs.
- Proven ability to summarize information and communicate with stakeholders at the most senior level, as well as down and across an organization.
- Demonstrated ability to work independently, with innovation, initiative, and independent judgment.
- Proven ability to quickly grasp, research, and assess a broad range of complex problems and present sensible solutions and alternatives
The strongest candidates will also demonstrate the following experience, skills and competencies:
- Demonstrated knowledge of the California Corporations Code and the IRS tax code as applied to 501(c)(3) and (c)(4) organizations, including a strong working knowledge of IRS regulations and tax laws regarding 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) funds administration and generally accepted accounting principles and tax compliance for 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations.
- Broad exposure and experience with state election laws, campaign finance laws, and Federal Election Commission regulations, advisory opinions, policy statements, and interpretive rules.
- Proven experience with navigating complex corporate governance issues and intellectual property matters.
- Experience engaging state and federal regulatory officials.
- Demonstrated skill and effectiveness in drafting policies, guidance, and training materials.
- Experience providing thoughtful and practical legal advice and counsel in or to a complex advocacy organization, including advice and counsel on compliance and enterprise risk management issues.
- Knowledge and interest in climate change, conservation, and other impactful environmental issues.
- A passion and commitment to the Sierra Club mission.
- Culturally competent, inclusive, and adept at meeting people where they are.
Compensation and Benefits
The salary range for this position is $150,000 – $160,000
The Sierra Club offers a competitive salary package commensurate with skills and experience plus excellent benefits that include medical, dental, and vision coverage, and a retirement savings 401(k) plan.
This is an exempt non-represented, confidential position.
Sierra Club is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization. Sierra Club employees are not eligible to participate in the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.
Sierra Club values the expertise and talents of foreign nationals. Sierra Club sponsors both nonimmigrant and immigrant visas when certain criteria are met, based on immigration laws and organizational needs. Such sponsorship is at the discretion of the Department Head and Sierra Club Human Resources in consultation with the employee’s manager. The Sierra Club cannot guarantee the approval of a visa petition. The Sierra Club is an equal opportunity employer committed to workforce diversity.
How to Apply
- We are intentionally not asking for a cover letter, so please do not send one in with your application.
- We are accepting applications until November 1, 2022. Apply online on our Sierra Club Careers website.
- Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.