Business Unit Description
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million that helps people turn their goals and dreams into 'Real Possibilities' by changing the way America defines aging. With staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and promote the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare security, financial security and personal fulfillment. AARP also advocates for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name.
The Office of General Counsel strives to actively and effectively represent the Association and its affiliates' legal interests and to facilitate the efforts of staff and volunteers in fulfilling AARP's mission. We provides legal guidance to the AARP Board of Directors and its committees and staff, the AARP Foundation Board of Directors and staff, AARP Services Board of Directors and staff, and the trustees of the AARP Group Health Insurance Program.
This is AARP’s chief legal officer and advisor. The position reports to the CEO in close collaboration with the Executive Vice President & Chief of Staff. This position is a member of the AARP Executive Team. The General Counsel represents AARP in all legal matters, provides legal guidance to the CEO and the AARP Board of Directors and acts as a policy advisory on major projects. The General Counsel hires, supervises and coordinates all external legal counsel and has overall responsibility for the Office of General Counsel (OGC), including the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer and his team and the Audit and Advisory Services Department (approximately 30 people). This person will protect AARP’s reputation, name, human and financial resources, programs and services. S/he will proactively identify and mitigate legal risk to protect AARP from undue legal exposure, liability and significant financial loss while facilitating achievement of strategic and operational objectives of Board and management. This role will also provide assistance to the Office of the Corporate Secretary with regards to the governance process of AARP and its affiliates.
The influence of this position is broad, as legal approval is required for most new initiatives coming from any department, including new partnerships, new products and services, new communications that involve privacy or consumer marketing rules, fundraising, and governance. Managing the legal risk of the organization, particularly in the tax area, also involves decisions that could have a multi-million dollar impact.
As a member of the AARP Executive Team, this position sets strategic direction and oversees initiatives supporting AARP’s strategic plan, Dashboard, members, suppliers, volunteers, and employees. S/he will provide senior executive leadership within AARP with guidance and support on all legal matters. Additionally, this position has budget responsibility (development and monitoring) for annual expenditures in his/her areas of responsibility.
This position has the overall responsibility for directing and coordinating the activities of multiple organizational departments in accordance with policies, goals, and objectives established by the CEO and the Board of Directors. Key responsibilities and duties of the position include:
Legal Guidance and Compliance
- Provide guidance and support to the Boards of Directors of AARP and its affiliated entities on all legal matters.
- Determine the scope of involvement and assign/delegate legal action or review to OGC staff as appropriate. Determine if external legal counsel is needed and if so, retain and supervise external law firms representing AARP.
- Provide legal guidance and support (and oversee same) to the operational staff of AARP and its affiliates on all legal matters, including but not limited to non-profit tax matters; intellectual property; human resources; employee benefits; insurance laws; federal election and lobbying laws; consumer protection laws; media and internet laws; privacy; contractual matters; litigation; postal regulations; and state and federal regulations.
- Supervise and monitor Ethics, Compliance and Enterprise Wide Risk Management, as well as Audit and Advisory functions.
- Ensure compliance with regulatory filing requirements such as registering for lobbying activities, election activities, filing for charitable solicitations, business licenses, sales and use tax, etc. in all applicable jurisdictions.
- Draft, negotiate, and review various types of contracts for AARP and its affiliates (e.g., highly complex vendor contracts and endorsed provider member benefit agreements, intellectual property licenses, sponsorships, consulting agreements, leases, etc.), and oversee the OGC’s work in this area.
- Provide (and oversee the provision of) legal services related to the corporate structure of AARP and its affiliates, including but not limited to the creation of new legal entities.
- Provide (and oversee the provision of) legal review and clearance of AARP materials, including but not limited to AARP print and online publications, AARP membership materials, AARP press releases, other communications materials, etc.
- Handle (or oversee the handling of) trademark searches and registrations for proposed names/logos that may be used for AARP programs, services or initiatives.
- Perform and manage other transactional matters as they arise.
- Oversee litigation and legislative matters.
- Manage any litigation in which AARP is involved, including but not limited to class action law suits, employee litigation, and contract disputes.
- Monitor misuse of AARP intellectual property (including but not limited to the AARP name, logo and member data), and enforce compliance through litigation or otherwise where appropriate.
- Evaluate requests and represent AARP, the client, in deciding to participate in public policy litigation, and provide legal clearance for direct litigation and amicus curiae briefs.
- Provide legal counsel on federal and state regulatory inquiries, congressional investigations and legislative matters.
- Provide AARP’s position on legal matters to the media and professional groups, as requested.
Education and Training
- Practice preventive law, by proactively educating and informing staff in order to mitigate risk to the organization.
- Support, communicate, reinforce, and defend the social welfare mission, value philosophy, and culture of the organization.
- Provide education and training to staff to insure awareness of legal issues and how to spot and/or avoid them. Subjects include ethics, privacy, political activity and procurement.
- Manage the legal and administrative staff and work of OGC. Provide strong leadership in creating a high performing, team-based environment. Make personnel decisions and conduct performance evaluations for the OGC staff.
- Mentor, guide, and coach 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.
- Leverage staff knowledge, skills and talent across functional areas to ensure that staff and volunteers fulfill the mission and objectives of AARP.
- Demonstrate WORLD CLASS cultural attributes and behaviors in all interactions.
Education and Qualifications:
- Undergraduate and Juris Doctor with superior academic credentials.
- Licensed in good standing to practice law in the District of Columbia or ability to waive into the District of Columbia bar within a reasonable time following the commencement of the position.
- At least 15 years of progressively responsible legal experience, preferably obtained both in a law firm and in-house.
- Demonstrated expertise working with and around nonprofit institutions.
- 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.
- Experience with complex nonprofit institutions.
- Strong experience with corporate law, including mergers and acquisitions and venture capital.
- Nonprofit tax experience.
- Experience in innovation and technology and with intellectual property issues.
Personal Attributes and Traits:
- A true passion for AARP’s mission.
- Demonstrated ability to collaborate and function as a contributing member on the senior executive team.
- Ability to gain internal respect and build consensus across organizational lines.
- Proactive, engaged, and comfortable with risk.
- Independent and creative thinker with the courage and moxie to be a thought leader and to challenge and push back when needed.
- Hands-on, customer service-oriented attorney. A “working” General Counsel with absolute integrity and ethical standards.
- Ability to handle challenging and politically sensitive situations with grace.
- 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 oral/written and presentation skills. Detail oriented. Proficiency in preparation and presentation of analytical reports and documents regarding operational status, achievement, and performance.
- Proven experience leading, motivating, and inspiring others.
- Proven ability to manage effectively in a matrix environment, contribute to cross-functional efforts.
AARP offers competitive benefits with a 401K, 100% company funded pension plan, health, dental, vision and life insurance, STD/LTD, paid vacation and sick, and other benefits.
Equal Employment Opportunity
AARP is an equal opportunity employer committed to hiring a diverse workforce and sustaining an inclusive culture. AARP 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.