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General Counsel

SCO FAMILY OF SERVICES

Glen Cove, NY, USA

Commensurate with experience

Background:

The SCO Family of Services has been providing critical social services for over 100 years and is now one of the largest not-for-profit children and family services agencies in New York State.  SCO’s mission is to care for those most at risk, focusing on community-based preventive services, residential programs for children and adults with special needs, foster care and adoption.  More than 55,000 children, families, and adults with special needs, receive care and support at 120 locations throughout Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. 

SCO’s current budget hovers around $270 million and supports the more than 80 programs serving its clientele.  As a complex, multi-faceted operation, SCO often has a need for legal counsel, particularly with respect to real estate and business matters, contract review, litigation and general liability, risk and compliance, and employment issues, among others.   SCO has now decided to bring much of this work in house, and is now looking for a skilled attorney to join its leadership team as SCO’s first General Counsel.

Position:

The General Counsel (GC) reports to the CEO and works in close collaboration with, and is a key member of, the SCO Senior Management Team. The General Counsel represents SCO in all legal matters, provides legal guidance to the Executive Director and staff and acts as a policy advisory on major projects. He/she recommends, supervises and coordinates activities of outside legal counsel and has overall responsibility for ensuring that SCO complies with all applicable laws, rules and regulations.   S/he proactively identifies and mitigates legal risk to protect SCO from undue legal exposure, liability and significant financial loss while facilitating achievement of strategic and operational objectives.
 

Specific Responsibilities:

This position has the overall responsibility for supporting the activities of multiple organizational departments in accordance with SCO’s policies, goals, and objectives. Key responsibilities and duties of the position include:

    • Provide legal guidance and support to the Executive Director and operational staff of SCO on all legal matters.
    • Oversee litigation and potential litigation relating to general liability matters.
    • Determine the scope of involvement and assign/delegate legal action as appropriate. Determine if outside legal counsel is needed and if so, retain and oversee external law firms representing SCO.
    • Provide advice and counsel on matters concerning government and other contracts, review and draft contracts as required.
    • Review, draft, and provide advice and counsel on policy related matters.
    • Manage any litigation in which SCO is involved, including but not limited to, client litigation, employee litigation, government and contract disputes.
    • Provide legal counsel on federal and state and local regulatory inquiries and legislative matters.
    • Provide advice on real estate and business matters.
    • Represent SCO’s position on legal matters to the media and professional groups, as requested.
    • Support, communicate, reinforce, and defend the social welfare mission, value philosophy, and culture of the organization.
    • Provide education and training to staff and board to insure awareness of legal issues and how to spot and/or avoid them. Subjects include ethics, privacy, political activity and procurement, among others.
    • Provide strong leadership in promoting a high performing, team-based environment.
    • Mentor, guide, and coach any direct reports and staff in order to expand their capabilities and build management depth in the organization. Ensure the right leaders with the right skills are available to develop and execute strategies.
    • Facilitate communications with staff through meeting and planning sessions and implement enhanced effectiveness and operational efficiencies.
    • Demonstrate impeccable ethical and cultural attributes and behaviors in all interactions.
    • Ensure adequate insurance coverage is maintained to protect SCO’s assets.

Candidate Qualifications:

Education & Bar Membership:

  • Juris Doctor degree from an accredited law school.
  • Member in good standing of the New York State Bar.

Required Experience:

  • At least 7 years of progressively responsible legal experience, preferably obtained in a law firm, as in-house counsel, and/or in government.
  • Demonstrated expertise working with and around nonprofit institutions.
  • Working knowledge of Federal, State and City laws and regulations governing the delivery of Social Services in New York State, preferably in Mental Health, Child Welfare, Persons with Disabilities, education and Medicaid programs and Labor Law.
  • Substantive experience managing relationships with and providing guidance to a diverse group of senior executives, including the CEO, as well as an ability to work across organizational lines.
  • Experience effectively leading, managing, developing and mentoring an experienced legal team.

Personal Attributes and Traits:

  • A true passion for SCO’s mission.
  • Demonstrated ability to collaborate and function as a contributing member on the senior executive team.
  • Ability to gain deep respect and trust and build consensus across organizational lines.
  • Proactive, engaged, and comfortable with risk.
  • Independent and creative thinker with the courage to be a thought leader and to challenge when needed.
  • Hands-on, customer service-oriented attorney.
  • A “working” General Counsel with absolute integrity and ethical standards.
  • Ability to keep abreast of current and changing trends, laws, and regulations affecting strategy and development of function area.
  • Highly developed skills in communication, negotiation, conflict resolution, and leadership.
  • Ability to be persuasive, coordinate and mediate groups and persons of divergent views and interests.
  • Demonstrated experience building external partnerships and strategic alliances.
  • Action and results oriented, decisive, adaptable quick study, with proven ability to accurately analyze information and act.
  • Excellent negotiation skills as well as verbal and written presentation skills.
  • Proficiency in preparation and presentation of analytical reports and documents regarding operational status, achievement, and performance.
  • Possess a strong belief in people’s ability to grow and change; forge a mutually respectful partnership with persons served and their families. 
  • Proven experience leading, motivating, and inspiring others.
  • Proven ability to manage effectively in a matrix environment, contribute to cross-functional efforts.

Working Conditions:  The General Counsel position is located within the SCO Administration Office in Glen Cove, New York.  Travel is required, as necessary, to attend SCO Family of Services program and agencies meetings.

SCO Family of Services is an equal opportunity employer committed to hiring a diverse workforce and sustaining an inclusive culture. SCO does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, color, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, mental or physical disability, genetic information, veteran status, or on any other basis prohibited by applicable law, and shall also follow the requirements of the Human Rights Law with regard to non-discrimination on the basis of prior criminal conviction and prior arrest.

HOW TO APPLY

SCO Family of Services has retained the services of Harris Rand Lusk to conduct this search.  Inquiries, nominations, and applications may be directed in confidence to:

Anne McCarthy, Esq., Senior Director and COO

Harris Rand Lusk

122 East 42nd Street, Suite 3605

New York, NY 10168

Please put “SCO GC” in the subject line and e-mail your resume and cover letter in Word or PDF format to amccarthy@harrisrand.com

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