The Legal Counsel and Vice President, Government Relations serves as the primary authority on government relations and legal issues related to independent schools. He/she oversees all government relations activities for the organization, setting the organization’s legislative agenda, directing all government relations outreach to the independent school community, and following and analyzing legal issues affecting the sector. He/she also writes advisories, offers general legal information, speaks in the field, and refers schools to counsel as needed. He/she also serves as primary liaison for the Legal Assistance Advisory Panel and as a consultant on office operational legal issues as needed. This position reports to the President and supervises the Staff Attorney.
At NAIS, we are passionate about education and the work that we do to advance it. We are customer-focused and always strive for excellence. We work collaboratively and value creativity and initiative. We foster empathy, flexibility, and cultural competence. As an integral part of the NAIS staff, this position is expected to serve as an engaged and involved team member, supportive of the varied experiences and perspectives of internal and external colleagues; to support and actively build an office culture dedicated to superior customer service that exceeds customer expectations; and to work within the team and among teams to ensure that decisions are made to further the organization’s goals, particularly the goals of modeling multiculturalism and helping to build inclusive school communities.
Primary duties and responsibilities:
Serves as the chief government relations officer for the industry, overseeing the development of NAIS’s legislative agenda. Analyzes the legal precedents and parameters of proposed rules and prepares comments on proposed rulemakings. Also, reviews and analyzes proposed legislation within the context of federal law and develops legislative language as requested.
Offers general legal information to members and refers them to counsel as necessary; works with attorneys for school and association members as requested.
Authors and coordinates legal and regulatory advisories for NAIS members on court decisions, final rulemakings, and legal issues pertaining to independent education and schools. Identifies areas for and coordinates specialty legal publications with appropriate counsel.
Presents on legal and government relations issues relative to the independent schools’ community.
Directs the legal and government relations team in analysis and outreach to the industry. Oversees the development and execution of the team budget and supervises and coaches team staff.
Builds alliances with related associations, coalitions, and strategic partners to enhance sources of information relative to independent schools.
Serves as primary liaison for the Legal Assistance Advisory Panel, assisting member schools seeking NAIS legal assistance as needed. Prepares legal analyses of relevant documentation and works with outside counsel in writing of amicus filings.
Serves as a consultant on NAIS legal issues as needed, coordinating activities with outside counsel. Ensures that NAIS stays in legal compliance on all matters.
Fields parent and other complaints and inquiries.
Assumes other responsibilities, as assigned.
Legal degree required
Be eligible to become a member of the DC bar
At least 8 years’ experience working in a law firm, as general counsel for an organization, or in a related position
Knowledge of schools (strongly preferred)
Experience managing and coaching other attorneys or legal support staff
Familiarity and understanding of federal, state, and local legislation related to business/contract law, employment law, human rights, and education (strongly preferred).
Strong public speaking and presentation skills
Demonstrates decision making and actions that are fiscally sound and responsible, using cost-benefit thinking to set priorities and cost-effective approaches, when budgeting and considering other financial obligations impacting the organization
Ability to handle multiple tasks/activities simultaneously while maintaining quality
Ability to work independently while still being an effective, contributing team member
Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite; able to adapt and learn new software and web-based systems
Conscientiously and consistently attends to details by demonstrating concern for thoroughness and accuracy
Exceptional customer service skills
Strong written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills
Excellent organizational and time-management skills
Special or particular requirements:
Travel up to 25% is required (This could be at least once a month or 2-3 weeks a quarter, as necessary). International travel is not frequent but may be required.
This position is essential personnel and is expected to be on call for emergencies.
The standard work schedule expected is Monday-Friday, 9 AM- 5 PM. Occasional evening and weekend work may be required, as the duties demand.
Business perspective – Demonstrates a thorough understanding of a wide range of elements of the organization’s business and partners; integrates an understanding of the business into strategic plans and decision-making actions and involves key stakeholders in developing strategic plans.
Client focus – Provides excellent service and a strong commitment to meeting the needs of members, striving to ensure their full satisfaction.
Initiative – Deals with situations and issues proactively and persistently, seizing opportunities that arise.
Conflict competence – Uses cognitive, emotional, and behavioral skills that enhance productive outcomes of conflict, while reducing the likelihood of escalation or harm to improve the quality of relationships, resolutions, and lasting agreements.
Ensuring accountability – Holds self and others to high standards of accountability and helps to create an infrastructure and culture that supports and measures personal and organizational responsibility and accountability.
Fostering communication – Listens and communicates openly, honestly, and respectfully with different audiences, promoting dialogue and building consensus.
Teamwork and cultural competence – Promotes cooperation and commitment within the team; seeks input from others, helps others achieve goals and deliverables, and shows consideration for and respect for individual differences. Actively listens, demonstrating a high level of empathy, and using effective engagement skills to help create a welcoming environment and establish the appreciation of similarities and differences among cultures.
Internal Number: 1903CGRO
About National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) is a nonprofit membership association that provides services to more than 1,800 schools and associations of schools in the United States and abroad, including 1,500 independent private K-12 schools in the U.S. NAIS serves as the national voice of independent education, advocating on behalf of its members. The association offers research and trend analysis, leadership and governance guidance, and professional development opportunities for school and board leaders.
The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, personal appearance, marital status, family responsibilities, political affiliation, matriculation, or status as a covered veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws.