In This Section:

General Counsel

American Museum of Natural History

Process: Submit a resume in Microsoft Word format with a letter describing your interest and relevant skills addressed to the following email address: AMNH@mlaglobal.com.

Overview: AMNH’s General Counsel will serve as the principal legal officer for AMNH, with overall responsibility for the leadership of AMNH’s legal function. Reporting to the President, the General Counsel will provide legal advice and counsel to the President, Senior Management, Board of Trustees, and other members of the AMNH community on a broad and diverse range of legal matters. The General Counsel will be involved in the administration and management of a complex, multifaceted organization. The General Counsel will be responsible for leading the diversified legal needs of a hybrid organization encompassing public and private legal issues. The General Counsel will support the scientific, educational and cultural components of the museum. The General Counsel must have the ability to lead the legal function of an organization with 1,000 plus staff and 1,000 plus volunteers. This position provides an excellent opportunity to serve as a trusted advisor on the senior leadership team of one of the most prominent museums and non-profit organizations in the world. This position will be located in New York, NY.

Compensation: Competitive salary and benefits.

Experience: AMNH is seeking candidates who have significant legal experience gained through an extensive career. Given the breadth of issues facing AMNH, a broad based, generalist capacity and background will be vital to supporting the diversified legal issues facing AMNH. The ideal candidate will have demonstrated experience handling matters in a number of the following areas: commercial contracts, transactions and financings, tax, construction and real estate law, licensing, compliance, governance, pre-litigation and litigation counseling/management, privacy and data privacy, intellectual property, human resources, employment law, environmental law and insurance law. An understanding of matters relating to a museum, collections management, international authenticity and provenance, research federal grants, non-profit law, philanthropic activities and gifts/bequests is desirable. In a broad sense, as the General Counsel of AMNH, the General Counsel:

  1. Provides institutional leadership as a strategic thought partner and the principal legal counsel to the President, and other members of AMNH, including those involved with scientific research, educational and exhibition programs, on all legal questions and issues that affect the operations of AMNH;
  2. Directs and coordinates all legal matters working with the President and Senior Management Team;
  3. Manages the activities of the Legal Office, comprised of two attorneys and two administrative staff, with the ability to roll-up-the-sleeves, directly handling legal work as necessary; as well as providing direction to and oversight of two other areas; the Human Resources Department and the Revenue Security Department.
  4. Builds relationships internally with the Senior Management Team, scientists, researchers, educators and others across AMNH, as well as externally to AMNH. The General Counsel must be seen as a business partner committed to supporting the diversified objectives of AMNH.

Personality Profile: Technical legal skills are essential – but the successful candidate’s personal fit is critical to the success of the role and AMNH. Because the General Counsel will interact with a wide variety of people, at all levels across AMNH, outstanding communication, judgment and interpersonal skills are necessary. The General Counsel must be a relationship builder who presents creative solutions to the President and Senior Management and is open to intellectual discussion and debate on a presented course of action. A candidate who is inflexible on approach will not match the internal environment of AMNH. The right candidate will be a consensus builder, a team member, consultative, collaborative and think holistically​​ about courses of action. The right candidate will respect the institutional knowledge and area expertise of the members of the senior leadership team and will look to incorporate these insights into his/her decision making process. The right candidate will possess a record of professional experience and success that demonstrates progressive responsibilities and significant interaction with senior leadership teams. The successful candidate will be highly ethical, creative and forward-thinking, and have demonstrated collaborative, evaluative leadership in his or her prior roles. The General Counsel must be able to navigate the “Not-for-Profit” world, as well as be able to engage with a “NYC politically savvy” environment.

Relocation: Yes, this is a national search. Relocation assistance will be provided.

Bar Admission: Licensed to practice in New York or admitted to a State Bar of any US State or the District of Columbia.

DETAILED POSITION INFORMATION

AMNH’s General Counsel will serve as the principal legal officer for AMNH, with overall esponsibility for the leadership of AMNH’s legal function. Reporting to the President, the General Counsel will provide legal advice and counsel to the President, Senior Management, Board of Trustees, and other members of AMNH on a broad and diverse range of legal matters, on all significant matters affecting AMNH, legal or otherwise. The General Counsel must have the ability to lead the legal function of an organization with 1,000 plus staff and 1,000 plus volunteers.

Regarding legal counsel, the broad range of issues that will arise include but are not limited to: commercial contracts, transactions and financings, tax, construction and real estate law, licensing, compliance, governance, pre-litigation and litigation counseling/management, privacy and data privacy, intellectual property, human resources, employment law, environmental law, insurance law, museum law, collections management, international authenticity and provenance, research federal grants, non-profit law, philanthropic activities and gifts/bequests. The General Counsel also will be responsible for providing advice and counsel to the President and Senior Management, and as appropriate, the Board of Trustees on all governance issues. This position provides an excellent opportunity to serve as a trusted advisor on the senior leadership team of one of the most prominent museums and non-profit organizations in the world.

Reporting Structure: Direct reports to the General Counsel are:

  • Two associate counsels and two administrative staff;
  • The Vice President of Human Resources ; and
  • The Director of Revenue Security, responsible for audits and investigations of cash handling at AMNH.

​Detailed Technical Requirements:

Institutional Leadership

  • Develop and implement best practices and recommendations for how to best execute legal services at AMNH with an eye towards institutional risk, finite resources, and ongoing support for AMNH’s diverse range of programs.
  • Serve as a strategic thought partner to the President, and Senior Leadership on institutional objectives and priorities.
  • Attend meetings of the Board of Trustees, and where relevant, its committees, and when appropriate, executive sessions, to provide legal advice and guidance.
  • Anticipate issues and risk, sharing pertinent information with the President and Senior Leadership, as well as other relevant parties, including the Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees.

Direction and Coordination of Legal Matters

  • Resolve legal issues arising out of AMNH’s day-to-day administration, ensuring that AMNH’s basic character is not compromised.
  • Provide advice concerning the management and operations of AMNH on legal and business issues, including, but not limited to, commercial contracts, corporate transactions, tax, construction and real estate law, licensing, compliance, governance, pre-litigation and litigation counseling/management, privacy and data privacy, intellectual property, human resources, employment law, environmental law, insurance law, museum law, collections management, international authenticity and provenance, research federal grants, non-profit law, philanthropic activities, gifts/bequests and all other areas of AMNH’s activities.

Office Management

  • Directs, supervises, coordinates and reviews the activities of subordinate legal and
    administrative staff; issues office policy, procedures, and guidelines, and prepares and oversees the office budget in compliance with AMNH’s financial management policies and practices.
  • Establishes the basic legal and administrative framework within which day-to-day counseling and other legal activities are carried out.
  • In consultation with the President, determines when matters require assistance from outside counsel.
  • Ability to roll-up-the-sleeves to directly handle organizational priorities in a leanly staffed office.
  • Provides direction to and oversight of the Human Resources Department and the Revenue Security Department.

Building Relationships

  • Work, communicate and collaborate effectively with members of a not-for-profit Senior Management Team, Executive Committee and others across AMNH.
  • Positive, professional and collaborative demeanor coupled with strong legal judgment and business acumen in order to gain the confidence, trust and reliance of colleagues at AMNH.
  • Develop a strong network of relationships inside and outside AMNH to support the
    objectives of the legal function and AMNH’s business.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with counsel for other museums, cultural institutions, institutions of higher education and other non-profits.

Other Qualifications and Interpersonal Skills Needed:

  • An interest in AMNH and its mission.
  • Demonstrated leadership and management experience with professionals and support staff, including a successful track record in management and people leadership with the capacity to lead and motivate colleagues and other leaders confronting change and increased expectations in a highly visible organization.
  • Ability to build strong relationships – inside and outside of AMNH - and be viewed as a trusted, accessible advisor.
  • Ability to successfully work in a fast-paced environment by thinking quickly on one’s feet and managing multiple tasks and constituencies at once, in a complex and multifaceted organization.
  • Superior intellect, with the ability to think critically, strategically and creatively to find solutions to complex legal issues while balancing organizational priorities.
  • Demonstrate a strong, pragmatic business and financial acumen (not solely focusing on the legal issues) with the ability to recognize the broader consequences of a course of action and its impact on the many stakeholders at AMNH.
  • Effectively communicate (both orally and in written form) well-reasoned decisions and adapt communications to the audience, simplifying complex legal matters as necessary.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills and the ability to work collaboratively and cooperatively, as a member of a team (a roll up the sleeves attitude is required), while empowering clients and colleagues and emphasizing accountability.
  • Gravitas, judgment and self-confidence, but also humility and respect for others, regardless of position, and willingness to act as a team member.
  • Unquestioned ethics and integrity; strong moral compass, courage and perseverance; strong attention to detail; unflappable; wise; and creative.

THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER AND ENCOURAGES DIVERSE CANDIDATES TO APPLY.

Process: Submit a resume in Microsoft Word format with a letter describing your interest and relevant skills addressed to the following email address: AMNH@mlaglobal.com.

Paul Williams     Sheri Michaels     Elizabeth Long  
Partner Partner Director

No calls please. You may be required to complete additional documents to be considered for this position.