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CLOSED: In-House Counsel

We are no longer accepting applications for this role, but we keep the page up so previous links don’t break. If you are excited to support our work, but don’t see any open roles that are a match for your skills, you can always fill out our General Application.

Open Philanthropy is looking to hire an In-House Counsel to help manage legal issues related to grantmaking, contracts, and various aspects of operations. Our staff of ~40 currently gives away over $150 million per year with the aim of doing as much good as we can per dollar, in causes like criminal justice reform, farm animal welfare, and biosecurity and pandemic preparedness. Over the next decade, we plan to increase our giving by several times while continuing to raise our bar for impact.

About the Role

As Open Philanthropy’s In-House Counsel, you would take point on helping our growing team navigate legal questions, and collaborate with staff to generate solutions. Your primary responsibilities could include:

  • Taking ownership of our internal legal strategy, managing the relationship with our outside legal counsel, and developing creative solutions to help us do as much good as possible.
  • Managing all compliance issues related to grantmaking, such as conducting due diligence on grants, offering advice to the grants team on choosing the optimal vehicle for routing each grant, drafting grant agreements and leading term negotiations or discussions with grantees, and training staff on legal issues related to grantmaking.
  • Ensuring that our contractor, employee, grant, scholarship, and other agreements are in line with our strategic goals and could serve as a model for others.
  • Answering internal HR questions related to offer letters, NDAs, contracts, and other employee relations issues.
  • Developing an understanding of OP’s broader priorities and proactively seeking out ways to help us achieve our goals.

    Our mission is to fund the most impactful work we can identify. To ensure we are able to carry out our program staff’s recommendations for giving, Open Philanthropy is made up of several affiliated organizations and we work with entities including a 501(c)(3) private foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity, a 501(c)(4) organization, and a donor-advised fund at an outside charitable organization. We make general support and project grants to U.S. nonprofits, international grants requiring additional diligence and reporting, scholarships and research grants, investments in for-profit companies, and contributions to support lobbying and political work. We don’t expect you to be familiar with all these areas of grantmaking yet — but developing an understanding of the trade-offs between different giving vehicles and helping us come up with creative solutions for routing grants would be a key component of the role.

    About You

    You might be a good fit if you:

  • Have experience providing legal advice, preferably as an in-house counsel to a tax-exempt organization. We are also happy to consider candidates with for-profit or corporate experience who are interested in transitioning to the nonprofit space.
  • Are flexible about the work you do, ready to help in many different capacities, and able to issue-spot and analyze legal issues in a variety of contexts. We’re a small organization, and your day-to-day responsibilities would run the gamut from reviewing basic contracts to advising on complex legal matters.
  • Are impatient with unnecessary legalese, delays, and over-complications, and are comfortable seeking creative or unconventional solutions to help us achieve our programmatic goals. Our priority is generally to get resources to grantees as simply and efficiently as possible while still protecting the organization’s interests (e.g., we use one-page award letters rather than full-fledged agreements in most cases).
  • Are practical about risk and don’t default to “worst case scenario” assessments; are comfortable comparing different risks in terms of how likely they are.
  • Communicate clearly about legal considerations to non-legal audiences (e.g., explaining IRS tax-exempt organization rules to a potential grantee or new program officer).
  • Are licensed to practice in California or meet the requirements for California’s registered in-house counsel program. We’d prefer candidates to have 5-7 years years experience practicing in the legal field, but are open to considering exceptional candidates with less.
  • Knowledge or experience with LLCs, non-traditional philanthropic funding models, grants management and/or international grantmaking is not required, but a plus.

    If this sounds like you, and you are interested in using your legal expertise to help us achieve our mission of improving the world as much as possible, we hope you’ll apply.

    Additional Information

  • The baseline compensation for this role is $235,021, which includes a base salary of $215,521 and an unconditional 401(k) grant of $19,500. However, we are open to many levels of seniority and we are willing to consider a higher compensation for more experienced candidates, in line with our compensation principles, and we would encourage you not to let uncertainty about salary deter you from applying. The start date is flexible.
  • This is a full-time position, which could be done fully remotely or from our San Francisco office. (However, if you are not licensed to practice in California and instead planning to register through the in-house counsel program, you will be required to have residence in California.) The salary listed above is based on the cost of living in the San Francisco Bay Area or New York City; please note there are cost of living adjustments downward for employees based in other locations.
  • We offer a comprehensive benefits package including full health, dental, vision and life insurance, an unconditional 401(k) grant of 15% of your salary up to $19,500, flexible work hours and location, a stipend for ergonomic equipment and other benefits.
  • All OP staff are working remotely due to COVID-19 and will continue to do so until it is deemed safe to work from the SF office.

    We are committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and encourage individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences to apply. We especially encourage applications from self-identified women and people of color who are excited about contributing to our mission. Open Philanthropy is an equal opportunity employer. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, or have any other questions about applying, please contact [email protected].