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The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. A global community of 32,000 medical doctors, we protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public. We innovate to advance our profession and to ensure the delivery of the highest-quality eye care.

As an organization focused on healthcare, we bring a scientific rigor to our work. We balance this thoroughness with a relaxed atmosphere that promotes collaboration.

Position Summary
The Academy of Ophthalmology is looking to hire a new General Counsel. The General Counsel is responsible for providing and/or procuring legal advice on the wide range of diverse legal issues facing the Academy and its affiliates, collaborating with senior management and staff to identify and proactively reduce legal risks.
Duties and Responsibilities
The areas covered include litigation, operations, policies and procedures, intellectual property (licensing, trademark and copyright issues), contracting, data privacy and protection (including compliance with GDPR), social media and web site terms of service, collaborations with other associations, legal issues related to medical registries (including HIPAA requirements), and medical disclaimers.

Of course, no single individual will have deep expertise in all of these areas but the General Counsel has substantive expertise in one or more of the areas listed and will have the capacity to ensure that the other areas are covered as needed, through outside counsel and other similar resources.

The General Counsel ensures that legal issues are managed in a cost-effective, client-driven manner, and they oversee the judicious use of outside counsel with these goals in mind. Duties include:

Collaborate with leaders and teams across the organization and respond to legal service requests. This encompasses a wide variety of legal services, such as reviewing and negotiating medical agreements, managing the trademark portfolio including requests for new marks, drafting liability disclaimers and waivers, legal review of press releases and all Academy guidelines, responding to members’ questions or complaints, reviewing and revising Annual Meeting registration/exhibitor materials, drafting infringement cease and desist letters, resolution of billing disputes, reviewing and approving of all contracts, and handling publication issues for Academy journals.
Manage litigation and responses to third party inquires. Respond to requests to produce documents or to other discovery/disclosure requests from private plaintiffs or defendants and from government agencies. For litigation, manage and help select outside counsel, review all pleadings, edit briefs, and monitor outside counsel.

Manage risk and the delivery of legal services internally through legal policies and procedures, including privacy, contract, HIPAA/data breach, document retention, litigation- and discovery-related matters, and policies on relations with industry and conflicts of interest.
Manage the legal function, including managing legal budgets, reviewing and approving outside counsel bills, and managing, evaluating and selecting appropriate outside counsel and other needed vendors. Actively participate in affinity groups with other medical association counsels, including the Counsel of Medical Specialty Societies.
Provide or procure appropriate legal training for staff and membership/leaders. Identify and/or develop internal education on key issues facing the Academy, including trademark usage, copyright clearance for publications, protection and infringement, contract and the digital contract management system, and antitrust/unfair business practices.
Project manage special projects with significant legal implications.
Qualifications and Prior Experience
Minimum of 10 years of legal experience, including knowledge and handling of one or more of the following areas: non-profit and general business law, trademark, copyright, trade secret law and other intellectual property law, internet-related law, including social media, data protection, and cyber-law, licensing, publishing and contract law, antitrust law, unfair business practices and state and federal litigation. Knowledge of in-house legal policies, procedures, and administration of legal services, including use of legal vendors. Knowledge of outside law firms’ provision and billing of legal services. Knowledge of current health care law and policy as it affects medical associations such as HIPAA, HITECH codes, and conflicts of interest. Knowledge of scientific/medical methodology for research, documentation, and evidence evaluation. Knowledge of key operational issues, including employment law and construction issues, is a plus.
Ability and experience reading, understanding, interpreting and writing legal documents, such as contracts, pleadings, law journal articles and client memoranda; undertaking cost-effective and timely legal research and analysis and the ability to apply results to Academy issues; preparing and providing legal training on issues such as antitrust, unfair competition, trademarks, copyrights, contracts, and other topics; spotting and handling potential legal risks to the Academy; creating legal policies and procedures; seeking assistance from outside counsel and managing litigation, including reviewing outside counsel activities and billing, based on significant litigation experience; organizing and implementing the legal function, including overseeing digital contract management, filing and shared support staff; managing organizational change; identifying areas for the General Counsel’s further professional development and finding cost-effective ways to acquire additional legal skills and knowledge; keeping current in relevant legal and health policy topic areas; and reading and understand medical studies and other publications from the Academy in order to spot legal/evidentiary issues and provide feedback to authors.
Must be able to communicate orally and in writing to a wide spectrum of Academy staff, executives, and board members, using a clear and concise manner that avoids unnecessary legal jargon; to use high-level intellectual/analytic skills, including the ability to learn quickly about new legal issues and topics, analyze relevant facts, and devise appropriate legal approaches; to find novel solutions to legal problems and present legal concepts in a digestible and sensible way to staff; to listener so that they can fully understand the clients’ needs, timetables, and goals; and to convey that the legal function is approachable, collaborative and service-oriented. The General Counsel must be able to attend to individual or departmental needs within the organization without ever compromising their ethical, legal, and fiduciary duties to the Academy, and must bring a commitment to ensuring that the legal services and the legal function’s approach advances inclusion, diversity, equity and access for the Academy and its partners.
Undergraduate degree and a JD degree; undergraduate or graduate school-level work in the sciences, medicine, or social sciences preferred.
Current active California Bar membership (in-house counsel membership based on out-of-state bar membership will be considered, if eligible).
Ability to travel (as needed) (example: to/from board meetings, and to travel to the Academy’s Annual Meeting, approximately 10-12 days/year).

Current COVID vaccination requiredWith manager approval, this position, which is based in the Academy’s San Francisco headquarters, is eligible for up to 2 days remote work per week.

How to Apply
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