For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) is a robotics community that prepares young people for the future through a suite of inclusive, team-based robotics programs for ages 4-18 (PreK-12) that can be facilitated in school or in structured afterschool programs. Boosted by a global support system of volunteers, educators, and sponsors that include over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies, teams operate under a signature set of FIRST Core Values to conduct research, fundraise, design, build, and showcase their achievements during annual challenges.
The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.
An international not-for-profit organization (501(c)(3)) founded by accomplished inventor Dean Kamen in 1989, FIRST has a proven impact on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) learning, interest, and skill-building well beyond high school. Alumni of FIRST programs gain access to exclusive scholarships, internships, and other opportunities that create connections and open pathways to a wide variety of careers.
FIRST Core Values
The FIRST Core Values emphasize friendly sportsmanship, respect for the contributions of others, teamwork, learning, and community involvement and are part of our commitment to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion. The FIRST Community expresses the FIRST philosophies of Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition® through our Core Values:
- Discovery: We explore new skills and ideas.
- Innovation: We use creativity and persistence to solve problems.
- Impact: We apply what we learn to improve our world.
- Inclusion: We respect each other and embrace our differences.
- Teamwork: We are stronger when we work together.
- Fun: We enjoy and celebrate what we do!
For more information on FIRST please visit website.
FIRST is seeking its first in-house General Counsel to provide expert and strategic legal advice to stakeholders throughout the organization. Reporting to the CEO, the General Counsel will be a member of the executive leadership team and support FIRST leadership and the Board of Directors on areas related to risk mitigation and legal affairs including compliance, contracts with vendors and other partners, youth protection, data governance and privacy, human resources, and other issues as needed. The General Counsel will be responsible for looking holistically across the organization and ensuring that risk is managed in a comprehensive way that protects all stakeholders of FIRST. This role will serve on the executive leadership team and directly manage the organization’s data privacy function (one direct report). This is a special opportunity for a mission-driven leader to contribute their legal expertise to an organization positively impacting children globally.
- Review, negotiate, and draft contracts related to all aspects of FIRST operations, including vendor contracts, Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with program delivery partners, sponsor and grant agreements, and agreements with school districts or other educational organizations.
- Act as subject matter expert in areas of legal counsel and risk mitigation especially related to Youth Protection and Data Privacy to include managing the Data Privacy team (1 direct report) and dotted line oversight and input on matters of Youth Protection.
- Lead the organization’s response to complex and high-risk youth protection incidents, to include managing outside expertise such as PR or external legal support.
- Provide advice and counsel to the CEO and other members of the executive leadership team on all legal matters.
- Serve as the General Counsel to the Board of Directors and provide legal advice on board governance matters, including serving as a staff liaison to the Nominating and Governance Committee of the Board of Trustees.
- Advise on general employment, labor, insurance, and liability matters.
- Retain outside counsel expertise as needed and manage the work performed by such counsel, including the representation of the organization in all legal proceedings, to ensure the delivery of quality and cost-efficient legal services.
- Participate in the definition and development of organization strategies, policies, procedures, and programs, providing continuing counsel and guidance on the risk and legal implications of all matters.
- Analyze risk exposures in FIRST operations and make recommendations for updates to policies or operations.
- Ensure that the organization complies with applicable governmental regulations and laws, including those pertaining to the operation of FIRST as a not-for-profit corporation and the operation of federal and other grant programs.
- Develop a thorough understanding of FIRST operations and establish strong relationships with all departments to provide guidance and counsel to internal stakeholders.
The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:
- A passion for the mission of FIRST and youth serving organizations.
- Significant legal experience, preferably in an in-house environment (nonprofit, education, government, or corporate) and/or providing legal counsel extensively to nonprofit organizations in a law firm environment.
- Experience providing counsel to youth serving organizations or education institutions preferred.
- Experience handling complex contracts, employment matters and other corporate generalist (e.g., intellectual property) matters preferred.
- A track record of working effectively across all levels of an organization with diverse stakeholders; a desire to work in a highly collaborative environment.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including the ability to translate complex legal issues for non-legal audiences.
- Strong relationship and trust-building skills and ability to work with a diverse group of stakeholders, both internally and externally.
- Willingness to become a content expert in new areas of law; self-motivated with a "roll-up-your-sleeves" and hands-on approach; displaying a high degree of initiative and intellectual curiosity.
- Some knowledge of federal and state laws, rules and regulations impacting 501(c)(3) organizations.
- Experience fostering equity, diversity, and inclusion in organizational settings.
- Juris Doctorate (JD) degree from an accredited law school and ability to get licensed in New Hampshire; prior knowledge of New Hampshire laws a plus.
Compensation & Benefits
The salary range for this position is $142,000-$237,000. New staff members typically start between the range minimum and midpoint ($190,000) based on qualifications, experience, and internal equity. FIRST offers a comprehensive benefits package.
Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. To express interest in this role please submit your materials by filling out our Talent Profile. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.
For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, disability, age, religion/creed, and military/veteran status in its programs and activities.
About Koya Partners
Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.
For more information about Koya Partners, visit https://diversifiedsearchgroup.com/.