General Counsel

Washington, DC
Jul 02, 2019
Jul 20, 2019
Full Time
About the Organization:

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts ("The Kennedy Center") is a world premier performing arts organization and our nation's cultural center. Diversity is a critical component of our mission, vision, and values. Our staff exhibits a wide variety of perspectives and experiences which enable us to foster and strengthen an environment of diversity and inclusion.

Mission Statement: As the nation's performing arts center, and a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy, we are a leader for the arts across America and around the world, reaching and connecting with artists, inspiring and educating communities. We welcome all to create, experience, learn about, and engage with the arts.

The Kennedy Center, which opened on September 8, 1971, is located on 17 acres overlooking the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. The Center continues its efforts to fulfill President Kennedy's vision by producing and presenting an unmatched variety of theater and musicals, dance and ballet, orchestral, chamber, jazz, popular, world, and folk music, and multimedia performances for all ages.

Job Description:

As a member of the senior leadership team and reporting to the President, this position oversees and directs all the day to day legal and related business affairs of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington National Opera and their respective affiliated entities. The incumbent provides ongoing legal counsel related to the operations and initiatives of these entities and programs as well as strategic and governance counsel to their respective senior management teams and the Boards of Trustees. This position manages a staff of in-house lawyers and a paralegal as well as multiple paid and pro bono outside counsel.

Duties and Responsibilities:
  • 70% Lead the delivery of expert legal advice and counsel for the Center in a proactive, timely, and responsive manner.
    • Provide general legal services to all Kennedy Center departments and boards including the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees, the Washington National Opera and the National Symphony Orchestra.
    • Provide legal advice and oversight with respect to personnel and employment issues, entertainment and production issues, union and collective bargaining agreements and issues, copyright and trademark and all intellectual property matters, not-for profit tax issues, EEO and affirmative action, general corporate matters, legislative and regulatory matters, relations with federal departments and agencies, licensing and merchandising agreements, donative and sponsorship agreements.
    • Oversee drafting, review and negotiation of all contracts including but not limited to performing arts (production, presentation and license arrangements; artist and vendor agreements); employment and contractor agreements; intellectual property, leases and event related.
    • Define and develop legal policies and procedures, legal operating guidelines and legal compliance review.
    • Evaluate emerging legal issues utilizing a solutions oriented framework.
    • Oversee and manage federal tort claims and act as Ethics Officer.
  • 10% Provide counsel on governance and business matters to the Kennedy Center, National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera Boards.
  • 5% Provide legal advice on federal contracting matters.
  • 5% Oversee risk management program (liability, D&O, Employed Lawyers and property).
  • 5% Serve as a key strategic partner and resource to President and senior management.
  • 5% Undertake special projects for the President, Chairman and Board of Trustees.
  • N/A Responds to the needs and requests of Kennedy Center management and staff in a professional and expedient manner; adheres to all employer policies and procedures; other duties as assigned.

Education/Experience Required:
  • Juris Doctor from an accredited law school
  • Minimum 15 years' experience as a practicing attorney, with specialized experience in the areas of contracts and negotiations (federal and non-federal), non-profit, intellectual property, licensing and technology agreements, and human resources related matters
  • Minimum 10 years' experience leading a team of attorneys performing related work

Minimum Skills and/or Knowledge Required:
  • Member in good standing of the District of Columbia bar
  • Broad legal knowledge
  • Outstanding written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to supervise in-house and outside counsel in terms of scope and quality of work
  • Ability to think strategically, creatively and proactively to identify and resolve legal and business issues
  • Ability to work with multiple departments, frequently "shift gears" rapidly with little notice while simultaneously meeting multiple and competing deadlines
  • Ability to work with multiple boards and advise on governance and business matters
  • Expertise and confidence to gain respect of internal and external partners
  • Excellent judgment and analytical skills

Physical Demands:

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to communicate in person and on the telephone. The employee is frequently required to use hands to finger, handle, or feel in order to operate computer keyboard, office equipment, and other essential tasks. The employee is frequently required to sit, stand, walk, bend, stoop, crouch, and reach with hands and arms. This position infrequently lifts, carries, or otherwise moves and positions objects weighing up to 25 pounds.

Work Environment:

The noise level in the work environment is normal.

No travel is anticipated.


We offer a comprehensive range of benefits to all full-time employees including: Medical, Dental, Vision, Paid Time Off, Paid Sick Leave, and a matching 403(b) Retirement Plan.

Additional benefits include: Commuter Programs, Education Assistance Programs, Social Activities, and other employee discounts and specials.

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