Position Description

Chief Legal Officer
Location Head Office (US or UK)
Job Code 1865
# of Openings 1
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Title: Chief Legal Officer

Department: Legal Department

Location: Washington, DC or London, UK

Reporting to: Chief Executive Officer

Direct reports: Legal Operations Manager, Awards Management Unit

Budget responsibility: Legal: $740,000, Awards Management: $780,000

* This role is classified as requiring advanced pre-employment checks



About Relief International


Relief International (RI) is a leading non-profit organization working in 16 countries globally to relieve poverty, ensure well-being and advance dignity. We specialize in fragile settings, responding to natural disasters, humanitarian crises, and chronic poverty.


RI combines humanitarian and development approaches to provide immediate services while laying the groundwork for long-term impact and resilience. We focus on health/nutrition, education, economic opportunity, and water, sanitation, hygiene (WASH) programming while integrating protection, environment/climate change, and conflict mitigation in partnership with the communities we serve.  We empower communities to find, design and implement the solutions that work best for them.


RI includes the three corporate members of the RI Alliance: RI-US, RI-UK, and MRCA/RI-France. Under our alliance agreement, we operate as a single, shared management structure.


About our Programs


RI is active in 16 countries around the world, including some of the most fragile: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, and Yemen.  Often, RI is the only organization providing assistance to highly vulnerable communities. 


RI employs about 5,000 staff and auxiliary workers

97% of staff are local nationals and there are about 90 international (expat) staff.


2021  programs budget is about $125M 


RI receives funding from a broad range of institutional donors – US,UK, Europe, and the UN, to delivery life-saving and resilience building programming with communities and local and international partners.  RI supports solutions that reinforce and improve upon existing in-country systems. Where such systems do not exist or are chronically underperforming, RI’s crisis response lays the foundation for long-term, sustainable change. 



Position Summary


The Legal Department provides legal counsel and support to all areas of Relief International, including executive and senior management, programs, ethics and investigations, resource development, finance, and human resources as well as corporate governance services to the Relief International Alliance Boards of Directors.


The Chief Legal Officer directs the legal affairs of Relief International’s Corporate Alliance. Reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Legal Officer is a member of the senior management team with full responsibility for the Legal Department and Awards Management Unity staff and budget. The Chief Legal Officer provides counsel to the CEO, Boards of Directors, and leadership team members. As a member of the senior management team, the Chief Legal Officer is part of the corporate team that shapes and drives Relief International’s strategic direction.


Key Responsibilities and Duties.


  • Serve as counsel, strategic advisor and thought partner to the CEO, management and the Board.
  • Serve as management liaison and provide legal support to the Boards and Boards-level committees advising on governance and compliance with exempt organization and other laws, regulations and policies, and coordinating their work in collaboration with the CEO, other leadership team members and support staff.
  • Manage budget and staff of the legal and awards management functions.
  • Select and manage relationships with outside paid and pro bono counsel.
  • Oversee all legal and governance issues affect RI worldwide, including compliance with laws, regulations, organizational policies, and donor requirements.
  • Provide legal support and training to other departments where needed.
  • Collaborate with the Ethics and Compliance Unit led by the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer.
  • Manage the defence and/or response of the organization to lawsuits, claims, audits and investigations, and the prosecution of the organization’s claims against others.
  • Monitor the legal status of RI and its foreign offices to ensure compliance with applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Provide advice and legal services to establish and protect RI’s intellectual property rights, including trademark and copyright registrations and licensing.
  • Travel internationally and within the US as required.
  • Demonstrate expertise in many areas of law affecting RI and the policies, practices, and procedures applicable to its activities.
  • Rely on extensive experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals proactively and to enable management to achieve strategic objectives and resolve complex business problems.
  • Exercise a wide degree of creativity and flexibility in carrying out responsibilities.
  • Other related tasks that may from time to time.


Safeguarding and conduct

  • Uphold and promote RI’s commitment to ensuring the safeguarding and safety of the vulnerable communities we serve.
  • Consistent with RI’s safeguarding and protection policies, contribute to ensuring that all those who come into contact with Relief International staff and the communities we serve can be trusted to work safely with them
  • Support and develop systems that create and maintain an environment that prevents sexual exploitation and abuse and promotes the implementation of the Code of Conduct and safeguarding policies.
  • Work collaboratively with the Global Safeguarding Lead to advocate for the inclusion of safeguarding activities and resources within program
  • Ability to demonstrate knowledge of donor requirements of safeguarding standards and protection from exploitation and abuse


Culture and leadership

  • Ensure a positive and productive work environment which is free from harassment and bullying.
  • Ability to demonstrate sensitivity and understanding of diversity and cultural differences, gender issues and the commitment to equal opportunities
  • Ability to demonstrate and uphold RI’s values and ethics


Other duties as required for this role.



Role requirements.


Experience and skills required for the role.


  • Legal acumen: substantial experience practicing law in the corporate, law firm or non-profit organization sectors. Relevant legal practice experience includes: the non-profit sector, international, and regulatory and government contracting, particularly in emerging markets.
  • Global mindset: Ability to collaborate and manage risk and complexity across borders and cultures. An understanding of the legal risks presented when operating in countries in conflict under heightened public scrutiny and how to manage those risks.
  • Leadership/management: Proven ability to provide true partnership to CEO, Board and senior management as well as to set the direction and strategy for a legal function and to develop and execute strategy and innovative solutions. Proven ability to lead and manage legal staff effectively and efficiently. Knowledge of corporate governance and board of directors’ responsibilities and operations.
  • Risk and compliance: An understanding of relevant compliance mandates and the ability to provide oversight for a global compliance function. Possesses a firm understanding of the importance of ethical conduct and compliance to the organization’s success. The CLO should be a leader who can foster close collaboration between compliance and other functions and can communicate the importance of compliance to a varied set of stakeholders internally and externally.
  • Drives for results: Coordinates execution by setting appropriate pace. Evokes ownership and accountability, streamlines process/structure, and reallocates resources quickly and flexibly.
  • Shapes strategy: Anticipates and interprets market changes, envisions the future, and decides strategic priorities.
  • Inspire and influence: Builds powerful relationships, helps others find meaning and purpose in their work, inspires through energetic engagement. Ability to influence people at all levels of the organization, regardless of reporting relationships.
  • A successful candidate will be excellent in multi-tasking, with a positive, results orientated attitude and have excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Candidates must have a J.D. from a recognised law school and be a member of the District of Columbia Bar in good standing, or be able to commit to waive in within 6 months of start date.


RI Values.


Guided by the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence, as well as “Do No Harm,” Relief International Values:


We value:

  • Integrity
  • Adaptability
  • Collaboration
  • Inclusivity
  • Sustainability



How to apply.

  • To apply for this post, click on the “Apply” button in the job advert page
  • You will be asked to upload a CV and Cover Letter.  The cover letter should be no more than 2 pages long and explain why you are interested in this post with Relief International and how your skills and experience make you a good fit.


Closing date. Please apply immediately we will be reviewing applicants on a rolling basis, therefore may withdraw the position for the job board closing date.


Please apply by uploading your cover letter and up-to-date CV on our website .


Due to limited resources, only short-listed candidates will be contacted


Relief International has a zero-tolerance policy for unlawful harassment, sexual exploitation and abuse. Relief International is committed to protecting our staff and the communities we work with from abuse and harm including sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and sexual harassment.


All staff are expected to abide by our Code of Conduct.


Recruitment to all roles in Relief International include a criminal records self-declaration, references and other pre-employment checks, which may include police and qualifications checks.


COVID 19: To ensure a safe workplace, RI follows government requirements, and in some locations a mandatory vaccination policy applies.  When working or traveling on RI business, all staff, contractors and visitors must follow the rules and entry requirements of the country.



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