Postdoc Jobs
Counsel/Senior Counsel
Institution: William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Location: California, United States
Category: Philanthropy - Administrative - Non-profit
Posted: 04/03/2020
Application Due: 00/00/0000
Type: Fulltime

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, based in Menlo Park, California, is seeking a counsel/senior counsel to work in the General Counsel’s Office.

About the Foundation

For more than 50 years, we have supported efforts to advance education for all, preserve the environment, improve lives and livelihoods in developing countries, promote the health and economic well-being of women, support vibrant performing arts, strengthen Bay Area communities, and make the philanthropy sector more effective. In addition, we also make grants for special projects and to address other timely problems, such as challenges related to cybersecurity and U.S. democracy.

The foundation is one of the largest philanthropic institutions in the United States, awarding roughly $400 million in grants in 2019 to organizations across the globe to help people build better lives. Established through the personal generosity of the Hewlett family, the foundation is wholly independent of the Hewlett Packard Company and the Hewlett Packard Company Foundation.

The foundation has approximately 120 employees, in programmatic, operational, and investment roles, located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Across the organization, our employees are challenged with meaningful work, have the resources for ongoing professional development and learning, and contribute to a collegial and engaging environment where they can thrive. We are committed to fostering a culture of inclusion as part of our core values and encourage individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences to apply. The foundation offers excellent benefits and competitive salaries.

About the General Counsel’s Office

The General Counsel’s Office is responsible for providing timely, coordinated, and thoughtful legal advice that is grounded in applicable laws and tailored to the foundation’s programmatic needs, enhancing its ability to achieve its charitable goals. Legal staff counsel internal clients on a wide variety of regulatory, compliance, and risk-management matters. The office currently comprises four individuals: the general counsel; a deputy general counsel; a counsel; and an executive assistant.  We are looking to add an additional counsel.

About the Position

This full-time employee reports to the general counsel and helps facilitate the foundation’s grantmaking by advising staff and conducting legal research on the rules that apply to the foundation’s programmatic work and operations; developing and implementing legal compliance-related templates, policies, processes, and trainings; and reviewing grant proposal reports, and agreements, consultant agreements, and other contracts. This lawyer will also be expected to assist the foundation’s administrative departments on legal issues, support technology projects to streamline processing of grants and contracts, and lead projects to keep the foundation’s general policies and procedures up-to-date with the law and best practices. The lawyer should have corporate transactional experience; experience in-house or with the nonprofit sector is preferred. Basic familiarity with intellectual property issues is also desirable. Strong interpersonal and client service skills are extremely important, as are abilities to prioritize and multi-task. Title and compensation dependent on years of applicable experience.


Support for Education Program, Serving Bay Area Communities Program, Political Economy Initiative, and Effective Philanthropy Group

A core responsibility of this position is to act as primary counsel to three foundation grantmaking programs -- Education, Serving Bay Area Communities, and Effective Philanthropy -- and one grantmaking initiative – Political Economy Initiative -- to ensure compliance with relevant laws and best practices related to grantmaking. It is anticipated that this set of responsibilities will take approximately 60 percent of the lawyer’s time. Specific duties include:   

  • Partnering with the program teams to act as a counselor on grantmaking activities.

  • Advising program staff on the legal issues that apply to the foundation’s domestic and international grantmaking and activities, including U.S. and foreign tax issues and the application of U.S. advocacy rules in both the domestic and the international context.

  • Drafting, reviewing, and negotiating a broad range of grant agreements and contracts, including collaborative agreements with other funders.

  • Reviewing grantee documents to confirm tax status and/or to ensure compliance with applicable internal and external rules and requirements.

  • Reviewing and advising on program team contracts.

  • Participating in program team meetings and convenings to develop greater understanding of the relevant programmatic portfolio.

  • Other Departmental Responsibilities and Support for Administrative Teams

This employee will assist the general counsel and other members of the legal team on a variety of foundation projects. This employee will also support the legal needs of various administrative departments, such as grants management, IT, and facilities. It is anticipated that these responsibilities will take approximately 40 percent of the lawyer’s time:

  • As requested, acting as counsel in other specific legal areas, coordinating advice with the other in-house lawyers and outside counsel.

  • Developing and implementing user-friendly policies and procedures as needed, working in conjunction with the general counsel and other departments as appropriate.

  • Supporting administrative departments on legal issues, including negotiating and reviewing vendor contracts, as needed.

  • Designing and conducting training sessions for foundation staff.


  • J.D. with a minimum of four years of legal experience. The ideal candidate will have both law firm experience and in-house experience doing a range of transactional work. Nonprofit and intellectual property experience is preferred.

  • Candidate must be a team player, flexible, and enjoy working in a collaborative working environment. Facility to work well independently and as part of a team.

  • Experience adapting complex legal advice to create practical processes and guidance materials for clients, including in-house users.

  • Ability to understand the foundation’s goals and to counsel staff on how to achieve them efficiently, while appropriately factoring in legal risks and compatibility with the foundation’s systems and policies.

  • Excellent written and oral communications skills and a strong ability to deliver quality training experiences to small and large groups.

  • Project management experience with developing and implementing policies and procedures.

  • A license to practice law in California or eligibility for such admission at the time of hiring. Registered In-House Counsel registration is acceptable.

Physical Demands/Work Environment

The physical demands described are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this position, the employee is regularly required to sit for extended periods of time and to lift files and books used for research.

 To Apply

Interested, qualified attorneys should submit an electronic copy of their letter of interest and their resume to the following search consultants:

Steve John

Founder & Principal

Steven John & Associates, LLC

(415) 505-6685

Jason Snyder

Managing Director

Steven John & Associates, LLC

(415) 505-6687

All inquiries and/or application materials sent directly to the foundation will be redirected to Steven John & Associates, LLC for review, which may cause significant delay in evaluation and response.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is an equal employment opportunity employer and welcomes a diverse pool of candidates in this search.

Application Information
Online App. Form: