Foundation Summary Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. We focus on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Mark Suzman under the direction of Bill & Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.
Role Summary The Associate General Counsel role will be a foundation employee who will primarily provide legal support to the Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations, LLC, a subsidiary of the foundation. In furtherance of the charitable mission of this important subsidiary, the responsibilities of this role include responsibility for drafting and negotiating highly complex commercial international technology and IP license transactions and related research and development, collaboration, etc. agreements and arrangements involving a broad spectrum of agricultural technology or other biotech related fields. This role might also support other legal needs of the foundation as appropriate. The individual hired for this position will be expected to work in St. Louis, MO where this growing subsidiary organization is located.
Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations, LLC Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations (Gates Ag One) is a new nonprofit dedicated to ensuring high-quality, cutting-edge crop innovations are available and accessible to those that need them most. Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations, LLC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Gates Ag One exists to accelerate agricultural productivity, resilience, and sustainability in the developing world.
Communities around the world have an urgent need for innovations to sustainably improve crop productivity and spur long-term economic growth. Too often those discoveries never reach the smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the majority of whom are women, whose lives and livelihoods depend on a productive, secure food supply.
Gates Ag One is committed to ensuring game-changing agriculture products, like climate resilient, yield-enhancing seeds and traits, are affordable and accessible to smallholder farmers. We are redrawing the map between discovery and market access - connecting ideas and action with an unwavering focus on smart product development.
By building an inclusive community of partners from both high- and low-income countries - a network of R&D partners, academics, private-sector companies, non-profits, and governments - we can effectively evaluate, de-risk, and advance the introduction of the best breakthrough crop-science into available products essential to smallholder farmers.
Agriculture has the power to sustain us all, but that power is dependent on equitable access to the tools and products needed to increase productivity and support food security as climate change, population growth, and gender inequality pose increasing threats.
Gates Ag One will work closely with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Agricultural Development team, which currently funds efforts that are developing new tools and technologies designed to meet the needs of smallholder farmers. We will provide the expertise needed to translate these discoveries into affordable, accessible products.
To enable agriculture that improves the world we make the connections that no one else can or will.
Legal Team Summary "Guidance, Solutions, Integrity" describes the Legal Team's approach to providing responsive legal guidance supporting the implementation of the foundation's strategies. The Legal Team offers creative solutions that accomplish programmatic objectives, develops and implements efficient legal processes to streamline the foundation's grant making and contracting practices, and applies preventive legal strategies and compliance policies to minimize risks and safeguard the foundation's reputation.
Leadership and Culture We believe that energized people, working well together, fueled by great leadership in an inclusive environment in which they thrive, will do phenomenal things.
Position Summary & Responsibilities This role will be closely involved with securing, through in-licensing, the rights to inventions and associated intellectual property, out-licensing for commercialization across crops, territories and markets for the ultimate purpose of accomplishing the charitable mission of Gates Ag One.
Other aspects of the role include the ability to:
Collaborate with Gates Ag One staff, members of the Legal Team and foundation personnel.
Understand the business and charitable objectives of internal client groups, assist in the development of creative and practical solutions, provide legal advice and resolve issues using the legal and policy frameworks of Gates Ag One and the foundation.
Manage outside counsel as needed. Train and educate staff regarding laws, policies and best practices applicable to research and development, product development and commercialization, Global Access, intellectual property, charitability and private foundations.
Keep current on relevant new and emerging laws and policy developments.
Provide support in other legal matters of Gates Ag One as needed and serve as an active member of the Legal Team.
10+ years of experience, J.D. in good standing
Extensive experience leading, drafting and negotiating highly complex commercial international technology and IP license transactions and related research and development, collaboration, etc. agreements (ideally involving agricultural or other biotech related fields)
Experience managing complex global IP portfolio strategy development, implementation and due diligence
Significant experience with licensing transactions involving university technology transfer offices and multinational and other corporations highly preferred
Experience with agricultural product development and commercialization preferred
General understanding of regulatory compliance, including the Plant Genetic Treaty and international regulations governing GM product development preferred
Ability/experience working as part of a multi-disciplinary team and working with business and/or product development teams
Experience with managing multiple transactions simultaneously
History of effectively serving a demanding client base in a complex and fast-paced work environment
Ability to help in the development of solutions to complex problems while balancing the interests of multiple stakeholders
Ability to advise internal clients at all levels of an organization
Ability to manage outside counsel
Exhibits sound judgment
Scientific background a plus
Knowledge of privacy laws a plus
Ability to communicate difficult legal concepts clearly and non-legalistically to business clients orally and in writing
Ability to work with flexibility, efficiency, enthusiasm and diplomacy both individually and collaboratively as part of a team effort
A detail-oriented, curious and proactive self-starter able to work remotely while remaining an integral part of the legal team
Ability to collaborate across matrixed and global teams
Experience supporting a corporate subsidiary a plus
Passion for innovation, learning and continuous improvement
Comfortable with change and ambiguity
Sense of humor, humility, perspective, equity and generosity
Highest standards of ethics and integrity
**Applicants for this role will only be considered if they possess current US Work Authorization, and do not require employer-sponsored VISA support to begin or remain in this role.
As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We're committed to creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally. We also believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve-in race, gender, age, cultures and beliefs-and we support this diversity through all of our employment practices.
All applicants and employees who are drawn to serve the mission of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to: