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General Counsel

Req ID: 5524
Location: Chicago - Loop
# of Openings: 1
FT/PT: Full time
Employment Type: Regular
Salary Schedule:
Job Notes:


  Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights

Heartland Housing, Inc. Heartland Health Outreach, Inc. Heartland Human Care Services, Inc.

Job Description


Organization:  Heartland Alliance is one of the world’s leading anti-poverty organizations, working in vulnerable communities in the U.S. and 12 countries abroad. Heartland serves those who are homeless, living in poverty or seeking safety by partnering with communities to break cycles of inequality. The organization is comprised of five nonprofit corporations, which provide a comprehensive array of services in the areas of health, housing, jobs and justice and leads state and national policy efforts that target lasting change for individuals and society.

Summary:   The General Counsel is responsible for leading strategic and tactical legal matters for the organization, and overseeing the Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) department. The general counsel advises senior-level executives, officers, directors, and employees on company strategies and their implementation; manages Heartland Alliance’s legal function; and obtains and oversees the work of outside counsel. The general counsel is directly involved in complex business   transactions and in negotiating critical contracts. Individual accountabilities and work volume will be established through the development of annual Success Objectives, within the framework outlined below.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities: 

  1. Navigates business issues with senior leadership and provides consultation on legal issues and risks.
  2. Participates in defining and developing corporate policies, procedures, and programs and provides continuing counsel and guidance on legal matters.
  3. Serves as a member of the executive leadership team.
  4. Consults with leaders and subject matter experts in the organization to manage current or potential legal exposure and issues.
  5. Manages the organization’s compliance with laws, regulations, contracts, and other legal requirements.
  6. Oversees the selection, retention, management, and evaluation of all outside counsel.
  7. Advises on legal matters associated with regulatory, policy changes/considerations/responses, and lobbying compliance issues.
  8. Provides counsel and oversight of complex business transactions and reviews and/or negotiates critical contracts.
  9. Structures and manages the company’s internal legal function.
  10. Improves organizational change management efforts (e.g., implements legal workflows or tools associated with organizational changes).
  11. Using outside counsel, as appropriate, and represents the organization on cases filed against or on behalf of a Heartland Alliance company; works with the appropriate executive(s) to define a strategic defense and approves settlements of disputes, where warranted.
  12. Serves as corporate secretary for the organization. 
  13. Provides sound legal guidance on other matters that affect the organization:
    • Business model, legal/corporate structure (acquisitions, new entities, mergers, and divestitures), and company and board governance
    • Reviews vendor contracts and contractor agreements
    • Financial management (credit/financing needs, compliance, financial governance matters)
    • Organizational strategies and implementation
    • Real estate, leases, property management
    • Litigation and defense
    • Information privacy, security, and management matters
    • Participant-related matters
    • Employee relations, personnel management, and union negotiations


Supervisory Responsibility:  This position oversees the Enterprise Risk Management & Compliance Department and serves as a coach and mentor for others in the organization.

Qualifications:  To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform the essential duties satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Education and/or Experience:   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 ten years’ experience with relevant legal issues in a law firm, as in-house counsel, or in a corporate compliance department.
  • Communication:  Excellent written, verbal, interpersonal, and public speaking skills, especially at the Executive Board level.
  • Leadership/Managerial skills: An experienced leader of people and teams with a track record of providing direction, holding teams accountable, solving problems, and giving timely feedback .
  • Negotiation: Ability to independently  negotiate business contracts, settlement agreements, and other legal matters.
  • Critical thinking:  Use critical thinking skills to examine contractual language and provide risk management advice.
  • Preferred Skills:  Knowledge of contract law, nonprofit and/or corporate governance, lobbying, employment, and intellectual property law is a plus. Experience working on matters of non-profit corporate governance and with a board of directors.
  • Computer Skills:  Proficiency in Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Outlook; Windows operating systems; and other software routinely used by Heartland Alliance.

Physical Demands:  The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk or hear.
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to sit; use hands to handle or feel and reach with hands and arms.
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; climb or balance and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl.


Heartland Alliance makes all hiring and employment decisions, and operates all programs, services, and functions without regard to race, receipt of an order of protection, creed, color, age, gender, gender identity, marital or parental status, religion, ancestry, national origin, amnesty, physical or mental disability, protected veterans status, genetic information, sexual orientation, immigrant status, political affiliation or belief, use of FMLA, VESSA, military, and family military rights, ex-offender status (depending on the offense and position to be filled), unfavorable military discharge, membership in an organization whose primary purpose is the protection of civil rights or improvement of living conditions and human relations, height, weight, or HIV infection, in accord with the organization's AIDS Policy Statement of September 1987.

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