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Schmidt Futures Lead Counsel (Hillspire, LLC)

Legal and tax support for Schmidt Futures is provided by Hillspire, LLC. Hillspire is an integrated family office serving the philanthropic and non-philanthropic activities of Eric and Wendy Schmidt and provides shared services across their organizations, including tax, legal, finance, accounting, IT, and human resources.

Reporting to Hillspire’s General Counsel, with Schmidt Futures as his/her chief client, the Schmidt Futures Lead Counsel will be an integrated part of the Schmidt Futures team and will sit in the Schmidt Futures office in New York. Periodic travel to Hillspire offices in California should be expected.

The Schmidt Futures Lead Counsel will be assigned to work directly with the Schmidt Futures team, as well as with other stakeholders across the organization, to conduct the following activities:

  • Serve as Schmidt Futures’ lead attorney.
  • Coordinate with Hillspire to create and manage systems to provide legal review and associated risk management analysis and advice on contracts and other legal matters pertaining to the activities of Schmidt Futures.
  • Provide day to day legal support and expertise, including contract administration, legal research, and other legal support as needed.
  • Help streamline practices and processes to meet legal and tax requirements while also promoting Schmidt Futures’ culture of agility, innovation, and speed.
  • Assist to assure communication, coordination and collaboration between Schmidt Futures and Hillspire.

The Schmidt Futures Lead Counsel will be responsible primarily for all day to day legal functions, which are anticipated largely to consist of corporate and transactional matters, and will not generally be responsible for personal, litigation, tax, or trust matters directly impacting Eric or Wendy Schmidt or any of their other foundations or family office entities. The Schmidt Futures Lead Counsel will, however, have available the full resources and support of the Hillspire team and be a valuable part of the legal team.

Key Responsibilities

Programs

  • Advise on the development and execution of critical programs or new initiatives, including those to develop and/or implement new uses of technology, innovative ideas, and public-private partnerships.
  • Provide legal review and due diligence of activities and projects to be determined across the Schmidt Futures portfolio.
  • Develop, negotiate, and review contracts and other agreements in support of Schmidt Futures efforts.

Strategic planning support and development

  • Proactively surface, interpret, and advise on new legal and policy developments that could affect the work of Schmidt Futures or its grantees or partners.
  • Serve as strategic advisor on matters related to the interplay between business and legal needs for Schmidt Futures.
  • Identify education and training needs across all applicable organizations on key legal matters and suggest alternatives for training delivery.
  • Assist to assure communication, coordination and collaboration between Hillspire and Schmidt Futures, including assistance in the establishment of cross-sectoral partnerships.

Legal processes, partnership support, and risk management

  • Assist in the development and negotiation of MOUs and other agreements with outside organizations, as well as to support expansion across geographies and potentially rapid scale-up of programming in an agile, compliant, and efficient manner.
  • Assist in the identification, development and implementation of practices, policies, and guidelines that will improve Schmidt Futures team productivity consistent with its culture and family office requirements.
  • Assist the Schmidt Futures team in day to day legal matters, including (i) negotiating and interpreting contracts, MOUs, and letter agreements, (ii) managing compliance requirements and contractual obligations, (iii) administering contracts, (iv) providing legal research and general legal advice as needed, and (iv) assisting in diligence, negotiation and documentation.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Knowledge and working understanding of key legal and tax requirements relating to private foundations and tax-exempt organizations, with experience in alternative philanthropic vehicles, including their donors and grantees, including rules applicable to lobbying, international grantmaking and grant-making to non-charitable entities.
  • Knowledge and working understanding of rules pertaining to all types of grantmaking, investments and other forms of philanthropic activity, with demonstrated ability to research new or evolving areas of law and practice.
  • Sound business judgment with flexibility and willingness to manage multiple wide-ranging matters and conflicting deadlines and to learn new areas of expertise.
  • Proven ability and commitment to work independently and collaboratively with diverse groups.
  • Demonstrated ability to identify, prioritize and resolve issues in a positive and practical manner, quickly and efficiently.
  • Superb and proactive communication skills, both oral and written.
  • Highest ethics and integrity.
  • Extremely responsive.
  • Experience delivering legal counsel on innovative programs and investment strategies, particularly those with technology-forward components.
  • Knowledge and understanding of legal issues likely to emerge in a science or technology-focused context (e.g., trademark and IP issues, public-private partnerships, data-sharing and privacy) and early stage venture backed companies.
  • Experience assessing tradeoffs, balancing risks, and helping business executives to exercise business judgment and balance that judgment with legal input.
  • Understanding of business considerations, particularly the legal components, in the design, launch, and management of new ventures.
  • Demonstrated capacity to provide innovative solutions to complex business challenges involving multi-sector partners.
  • Ability to present complex materials to a variety of audiences.
  • Systems-thinker with ability to develop and implement initiatives that promote consistency and appropriate feedback mechanisms.
  • Strong analytical and conceptual skills.
  • Experience working with ultra high net worth clients or similar scale clients.

Requirements

  • J.D from an accredited law school and state bar membership required (CA and/or NY)
  • 5+ years working at a major US law firm
  • 3+ years working in an family office, philanthropic, impact investing, or PE/VC context
  • Solid experience working with and advising private foundations and other exempt organizations
  • Previous working experience with investments and operations clients
  • Willingness and ability to travel within the U.S. or abroad as needed
  • All candidates will be required to submit a writing sample and law school transcript and to successfully perform skills assessment exercises
Ready to apply?