Assistant General Counsel: Job Description

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation ("Foundation") is a not-for-profit, grantmaking organization that seeks to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies.  It makes grants in five core program areas (higher education and scholarship in the humanities; arts and cultural heritage; diversity; scholarly communications; and international higher education and strategic projects).  The Foundation seeks an Assistant General Counsel.


The Foundation seeks an experienced, high-performing attorney with background in exempt organization law.  The Assistant General Counsel will assist the Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary and Associate General Counsel in providing legal representation to the Foundation on a wide range of matters.

Position Details

The Assistant General Counsel reports directly to the Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary and works closely with the Associate General Counsel, outside counsel, grant management associates, and program and operational staff throughout the Foundation.  Among the responsibilities of the Assistant General Counsel are the following:

  • Assist in providing day-to-day legal counsel to Foundation staff on a wide variety of subjects, particularly in exempt organization, tax, intellectual property, contract, and grant matters
  • Draft and review provisions of grant award letters and other grant-related documents
  • Draft, negotiate, and review numerous contracts, including intellectual property agreements
  • Keep current on new and emerging laws relevant to Foundation work, conduct legal research, and write legal and other memoranda for a range of audiences
  • Advise and provide training on the interpretation and application of laws and policies
  • Participate in and advise as needed on special projects throughout the Foundation
  • Assist in monitoring compliance with tax and not-for-profit corporation laws applicable to private foundations
  • Coordinate work with outside counsel
  • Travel required

Required Skills and Experience

The successful candidates will have the following qualifications:

  • A JD and 4–6 years of law firm experience including experience with exempt organization law; knowledge of private foundation law and/or intellectual property law is preferred
  • Superior academic record and writing and speaking abilities
  • Excellent negotiation, legal drafting, organizational, and interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrated track record of providing a positive, creative, problem-solving approach to challenging legal issues
  • Outstanding work ethic and attention to detail
  • Ability to manage a heavy workload, to handle multiple tasks effectively and efficiently, and to meet tight deadlines in a fast-paced work environment
  • Significant experience that demonstrates professionalism, outstanding judgment, discretion, and integrity
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively with colleagues
  • Ability to proactively anticipate and act upon the legal work of the office
  • Appreciation for a friendly and collegial work environment

The Foundation is an equal opportunity employer that offers a competitive salary, outstanding benefits, and excellent working conditions.

Contact Information

Candidates should apply by submitting a thoughtful cover letter describing fit for the position together with a resume to:  We will consider each response carefully, but contact only those individuals we feel are most qualified for the position.