General Counsel

Salary: Depends on Qualifications

POSITION IS OPEN UNTIL FILLED
 Please go to
http://www.hacla.org/careers for details of this position and to apply.

 

DEFINITION

 

Serves as the general counsel to the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, including but not limited to executive staff, senior management and the Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners. Provides oversight and guidance over all Housing Authority strategic and tactical legal initiatives, programs, and services; and manages the work of the Housing Authority’s internal legal team (litigation and transactional) and contracted external counsels.

 

CLASS CHARACTERISTICS

 

The General Counsel is an at-will position reporting directly to and receiving instruction from the Chief Administrative Officer.

This is a single position class performing complex and highly responsible work in the legal management and oversight of the Housing Authority’s operations, programs and affiliated entities/instrumentalities. This includes, but is not limited to, the Housing Authority’s Public Housing and Section 8 programs, real estate acquisition, disposition and redevelopment activities, asset management, litigation management, contracting and public entity law and governance.

The General Counsel is responsible for regularly exercising independent judgment, discretion and initiative within a general policy framework established by the President & CEO and Board of Commissioners.

 

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS – Essential and other important responsibilities and duties may include, but are not limited to the following:

 

Serves as the Housing Authority’s legal counsel and advisor on all legal matters relating to the Housing Authority’s operations, programs and activities. This includes, but is not limited to, the Housing Authority’s Public Housing and Section 8 programs, real estate acquisition, disposition and redevelopment activities, asset management, litigation management, contracting and public entity law and governance;

 

Provides legal opinions, legal interpretations, and recommendations to the Housing Authority’s executive staff, senior management and Board of Commissioners relating to Housing Authority operations;

 

Reviews and approves staff reports and proposed resolutions to the Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners;

 

Assumes responsibility for general corporate governance, including but not limited to maintaining, updating and ensuring compliance with corporate formation documents and other related filings for the Housing Authority and its affiliated agencies; and providing counsel at Board of Commissioner meetings in conformance with the Brown Act and other applicable regulations.

 

Assumes responsibility for ensuring that the programs and activities of the Housing Authority are conducted in compliance with applicable laws, statutes, codes, and regulations;

 

Recognizes potential and actual conflicts of interest under state and federal laws, rules, regulations and programs and investigates the same up to and including resolution with appropriate sensitivity and use of external counsel and other resources where warranted;

   

Judges the merits of court cases, regulatory inquiries, and other legal actions filed against or on behalf of the Housing Authority; works with the appropriate executives to define strategic positions and/or defenses; recommends settlements of disputes where warranted;

 

Participates in the development of Housing Authority policies, procedures, and related business documents.  Advises the Board of Commissioners, executive staff and senior management on legal matters related to governance and the policies, programs, and projects of the Housing Authority;

 

Negotiates complex and sensitive contracts, agreements, and settlements on behalf of the Housing Authority which are consistent with Housing Authority’s interests, law, and relevant rules of professional responsibility;

 

Provides legal support on a broad variety of real estate and financing transactions; 

 

Identifies, analyzes, and responds appropriately to risks which have legal implications that may adversely affect realization of the Housing Authority’s business objectives; advises executives and managers regarding the legal aspects of their exposure to identified risks; liaises with the Housing Authority’s risk manager regarding risk management;

 

Assures adequate and appropriate systems and processes are in place to identify compliance violations; advises executives and managers regarding the legal aspects of their compliance systems, exposure, and decisions;

 

Collaborates with executive staff, managers, Legal Department staff, stakeholders and external legal counsel, as appropriate, to identify and mitigate against legal risks, comply with state and federal laws, rules and regulations, and adopt and improve policies, procedures and practices;    

 

Identifies needs and develops training programs and activities for the purpose of keeping executives, managers and staff informed of the latest changes in the law and developing best practices within the industry;

 

Develops a clearly understood framework for legal policies and practices within the Housing Authority;

 

Directs, manages, and evaluates the work of the Legal Department staff in both the litigation and transactional units;

 

Develops, trains and mentors Legal Department staff to assist them in developing their legal skills and execute their responsibilities;

 

Regularly attends meetings of the Board of Commissioners to provide legal analysis and advice on legal and procedural matters, including but not limited to Brown Act compliance;

 

Manages legal work performed in connection with the Authority’s public agency administrative functions (e.g., public records requests, administrative hearings, etc.);

 

Oversees the selection, retention, management and evaluation of outside counsel in conformity with applicable state and federal procurement requirements;

 

Establishes, manages, and ensures compliance with the budget for outside legal services;

 

Functions as an integral partner within the President & CEO’s senior leadership team;

 

Identifies financial needs and manages the budget of the Housing Authority’s Legal Department; and

 

Performs related duties as assigned.

 

ESSENTIAL SKILLS – Ideal candidates will have a demonstrated ability to:

 

Accurately incorporate relevant transactional business terms and concepts into a set of implementing documents for complex real estate and finance deals;

 

Judge the relative importance of a document, contract provision, task or assignment and to apply the appropriate level of scrutiny, detail or effort to the matter;

 

Appropriately prioritize work load and regularly reorder that prioritization in accord with frequent changes in client and agency needs;

 

Utilize existing knowledge of subject matter together with research and consultation as necessary to provide competent legal advice;

 

Form an opinion and provide advice, guidance and recommendations where the legal standards are not well defined or the law is not settled;

 

Communicate clearly and concisely. This skill must be exercised both orally and in writing, including the ability to explain the basis for legal advice and alternative strategies to varied audiences (e.g. client, judge, media, public, etc.);

 

Regularly communicate the status of a task, the issues outstanding, and alternatives;

 

Assess complex endeavors, design a scope of work, and identify staff or other outside resources necessary to accomplish legal projects in a timely manner;

 

Identify the need for outside counsel and assist with developing the scope of work, budget, selection and management of outside counsel;

 

Ability to exercise good organizational skills;

 

Exercise independent judgment and decision-making in a variety of legal, business and interpersonal situations which have a substantial impact on the Housing Authority;

 

Develop and maintain amicable and effective working relationships with commissioners, department directors, project staff, opposing counsel, government agency staff and the general public;

 

Engage in general problem-solving and goal-setting as part of the legal team;

 

Treat legal and business matters with discretion and confidentiality;

 

Work within culturally diverse teams;

 

Advance the social equity goals of the agency;

 

Formulate a clear organizational vision, strategic plan, and appropriate operational goals, objectives, and outcomes for the legal services of the Housing Authority;

 

Administer legal services of the Housing Authority in a manner that is data and principle driven;

 

Manage risk, insure compliance, attain cost management goals, and achieve organizational effectiveness;

 

Successfully navigate and thrive in an environment with competing interests, both inter and intra Agency;

 

Establish and implement a comprehensive program of reporting and communication;

 

Develop and implement the operating policies and procedures to ensure organizational effectiveness and compliance with performance standards and goals;

 

Anticipate conditions, plan ahead, and establish priorities; act independently and promptly to situations and events;

 

Recognize the critical elements of problems, develop and evaluate data, and determine solutions;

 

Read an audience or situation and be attuned to the needs and concerns of clients and stakeholders;

 

Prepare and present effective oral and written communications, presentations, and reports;

 

Effectively communicate highly technical information concisely and in understandable terms;

 

Establish and maintain effective working relationships with industry representatives, officials of public and private organizations, internal stakeholders, and the public;

 

Support business needs and innovation through the use of information technology systems;

 

Project and exercise integrity, confidence, political acumen, and poise under pressure; maintain moral and ethical standards that reflect trust, honesty, credibility, and reliability.

 

 

CLASS QUALIFICATIONS 

 

Ideal candidate will have expertise in the legal principles, best practices, and procedures related to low-income housing in a public entity setting.  The preferred candidate will also have working knowledge in the following areas: public entity law and governance, reasonable accommodations, unlawful detainers, real estate acquisition, disposition and redevelopment, asset management, and more generally to civil, constitutional, contract, employment, administrative, and business law;

 

Methods, procedures, and practices used in the conduct of civil litigation;

 

Methods of legal research;

 

Fact-finding methods and procedures;

 

Methods and techniques for evaluating legal risks and liabilities and the business and practical consequences of related legal strategies;

 

Methods and techniques used to effectively manage and contain legal expenses and costs;

 

Capabilities of computer systems and applications applicable to assigned areas of responsibility;

 

Provisions of federal, state, and local legislation, statutes, codes, procedures and court decisions related to public housing programs and operations;

 

Principles of business and public administration;

 

Leadership and relationship management skills;

 

Principles of public and community relations; and

 

Principles of training, supervising, and managing a legal team.

 

 

ENTRANCE QUALIFICATIONS

 

Education and Licensure

 

A Juris Doctor degree from an accredited American Bar Association school of law;

 

License to practice law in the State of California and federal court;

 

Admission or eligibility for admission to practice in California’s state and federal courts

 

Experience:

 

A well-qualified candidate will have:

 

Ten years of paid experience in the practice of law which includes:

 

Responsibility for managing a legal team of attorneys and related support staff;

 

Experience performing highly complex and significant legal work on matters related low-income housing in a public entity setting.  The preferred candidate will also have working knowledge in the following areas: public entity law and governance, reasonable accommodations, unlawful detainers, real estate acquisition, disposition and redevelopment, asset management, and more generally to civil, constitutional, contract, employment, administrative, and business law;

 

Experience in managing, overseeing and directing litigation;

 

Experience in working directly with governing board members in a public entity setting.

Experience drafting and implementing policies and procedures

 

Experience drafting complex contracts and agreements including real estate development agreements, ground and premises leases and related instruments, inter-agency agreements, financial agreements and securitized instruments.

 

Experience negotiating contracts and resolving contract disputes.

 

For more information and to apply, please visit www.hacla.org/careers