Center for Reproductive Rights is a non-profit law practice that advocates for legal and human rights to make the world a better place. The firm has attorneys that are dedicated to providing their services globally. With expertise in the US constitution and international human rights law, the firm goes before courts, United Nations committees and regional human rights to represent reproductive healthcare. The healthcare issues that are of their concern include birth control, safe abortion, prenatal and obstetric care, and unbiased information. It goes beyond courtrooms to working with policymakers to promote measures about reproductive health and human rights. It was established in 1992 and has offices in Africa, Asia, Europe and America. Job opportunities available are operations associates, graphic designer, global advocacy, and associate general counsel.
The Organization Center for Reproductive Rights
Mission The Center for Reproductive Rights uses the power of law to advance reproductive rights as fundamental human rights around the world.
Year Founded 1992
Budget $36.6 million; augmented by an additional $25.7M in donated pro bono services.
Employees 220 staff positions across the globe, with regional offices in Washington, DC; Bogota, Colombia; Nairobi, Kenya; Kathmandu, Nepal; and Geneva, Switzerland
Headquarters New York, NY
The Center for Reproductive Rights envisions a world where every person participates as an equal member of society with dignity, regardless of gender; where every woman is free to decide whether or when to have children and whether to marry; where access to quality reproductive health care is guaranteed; and where women can make these decisions free from coercion or discrimination. Background The Center for Reproductive Rights (the Center) is the global leader in using the power of law to advance reproductive rights as fundamental human rights. Since its founding in 1992, the Center’s game-changing litigation and advocacy work, combined with its unparalleled expertise in constitutional, comparative, and international human rights law, have transformed how reproductive rights are understood by courts, governments, and human rights bodies worldwide. The Center’s attorneys have secured landmark legal victories in the United States, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe on issues including access to life-saving obstetrics care, maternal health, contraception, and safe abortion services, as well as the prevention of forced sterilization and child marriage. It has brought groundbreaking cases before national courts, U.N. Committees, and regional human rights bodies. In addition to shaping law and policy on reproductive rights, the Center has built the legal capacity of women’s rights advocates in more than 65 countries and established legal networks in Africa and South Asia. The Center’s compelling global human rights mission and reputation for excellence and cutting-edge legal work has won the respect of the world’s leading law firms and is reflected in their pro bono partnerships. In its most recent fiscal year, 870 attorneys, from 55 countries, donated legal services valued at $25.7 million.
Position Title General Counsel
Location New York, New York
Reports To Nancy Northup, President & Chief Executive Officer
The Center for Reproductive Rights has stood as the only organization of its kind, globally, and its efforts have moved the needle for women around the world. To continue this momentum and address regressive policies on women’s equality and rights, the Center has been on an extraordinary growth trajectory since 2012, tripling its operating budget and pro bono support. With this organizational growth and evolution in strategy has come, necessarily, increased organizational complexity. As a result, the Center has reached a natural point in which bringing on board an inaugural General Counsel is necessary both for its sound operation as well as its strategic growth. Reporting to the President and CEO, the General Counsel will serve as a strategic legal executive and counselor to the CEO, senior management team and Board of Directors. As one of just three direct reports to the CEO in addition to the Chief of Staff and Chief Strategy and Operations Officer they will be a particularly critical member of the top team. The General Counsel will oversee all legal, compliance, and risk management matters for the organization; help manage legal and reputational risk; ensure the practices, policies and operations of the organization meet all legal and regulatory requirements wherever the Center operates; and oversee the Center’s expansive pro bono program. As the organization continues to expand its work overseas, the role that this individual will play as a senior inhouse leader in these areas is indispensable.
The General Counsel will have the following responsibilities:
Serve as counsel, strategic advisor and thought partner to the CEO, leadership team and Board of Directors.
As the organization’s first in-house General Counsel, establish the office and function.
Develop strategies to evaluate and reduce organizational risk.
Manage all non-profit / tax-exempt-related compliance matters, including those involving political activities and lobbying, unrelated business income, and records retention.
Handle other compliance matters in the United States and around the world, including: overseeing compliance with international legal regimes where the Center operates; establishing and updating global compliance policies and procedures governing the management of compliance risks; providing compliance training; and overseeing internal investigations as needed.
Manage all corporate legal needs, including contracts, labor and employment matters, insurance coverage, intellectual property, and privacy, handling questions as they arise around the world and selecting, engaging and managing outside counsel.
Provide legal support to the Board and its committees; supplement advice from the Board’s external counsel on Board governance matters on corporate governance.
Manage the defense and/or response of the organization to lawsuits, claims, audits and investigations, and the prosecution of the organization’s claims against others. • Manage the selection and engagement of outside counsel supporting in-house legal needs.
Oversee the Center’s pro bono program, including a team of 4 with 1 direct report.
Provide counsel to Center attorneys on legal ethics issues.
Travel internationally and within the U.S. as required.
Pivotal Experience & Expertise
The successful candidate will have a:
JD from an ABA-accredited law school and have a license to practice law and be in good standing in any state or territory of the US (or be a foreign-trained lawyer with an LLM from an ABA accredited law school who has met the necessary requirements to be so licensed)
Senior In-House Experience: 15-20+ years of legal practice, including time spent in senior in-house legal roles, with a preference for some private sector experience and experience as a sitting General Counsel.
Not-for-profit Understanding: Experience working full-time and/or in a Board capacity at a not-for-profit organization; familiarity with the various legal requirements facing not-for-profit organizations.
Global Background: Experience working at a global organization and/or on a global basis; facility with the legal and compliance issues that are inherent in operating in both developed and emerging markets around the world.
Change Management Experience: Experience working in organizations at times of significant growth and/or change; ability to effectively partner and lead others in dynamic environments.
Culture Fit & Leadership Abilities
The successful candidate will demonstrate the following traits:
Mission Oriented: A focus on achieving organizational goals; a deep belief in and a drive based on the Center’s work.
Flexible, entrepreneurial: ability to work in a rapidly-changing, high-energy environment.
Collaborative, Team-First Mentality: Collaborative approach to one’s work; genuine interest in working with others towards common goals.
Accountable: A get stuff done’ and solutions-oriented mentality; holds oneself and others accountable for achieving goals.
Skilled at Feedback: ability to receive and directly provide positive and constructive feedback.
Cross-Culturally Competent: Track-record of working with diverse teams of multiple nationalities.
Thinker and Doer: Has a high-level strategic perspective, yet willing to roll up their sleeves when necessary.
The Center recognizes the inherent dignity and worth of each individual as a whole. In turn, we value and respect the differences that comprise each individual, including but not limited to age, citizenship, class, color, culture, ethnicity, family status, gender identity and expression, health status or disability, income, language, national origin, partnership status, pregnancy status, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation. We do not tolerate prejudice or discrimination.
Interested candidates may submit expression of interest (including a resume or CV) to or to the Heidrick team listed on the following page. Only candidates who submit to the Heidrick team will be considered.
Jackie Zavitz Office: Mobile: Email:
David Burd Office: Mobile: Email:
Jillian Sprong Office: Email:
Karol Gibbons Office: Email:
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