Legal Counsel

New York, NY
Job Type
Deadline for Applications
Where to Apply

Acumen is looking for a mission-driven corporate lawyer to join our New York based team.  We’re looking for someone with 4-8 years of experience practicing transactional law and managing legal projects across various stakeholders, with exposure to early-stage investing and a proven commitment to tackling poverty or social causes. The right candidate is skilled, creative, kind, pragmatic, respectful and can excel in a fast-paced environment.


Acumen is changing the way the world tackles poverty by investing in companies, leaders and ideas. We invest patient capital in businesses whose products and services are enabling the poor to transform their lives. Founded by Jacqueline Novogratz in 2001, Acumen has invested more than $106 million in 96 companies across Africa, Latin America, South Asia and the United States. We are also developing a global community of emerging leaders with the knowledge, skills and determination to create a more inclusive world. In 2015, Acumen was named one of Fast Company’s Top 10 Most Innovative Not-for-Profit Companies.


The Legal Counsel at Acumen will provide a wide range of support to the program, fundraising and operations teams.  Reporting to the General Counsel, and working closely with the global Acumen team, the Legal Counsel will function as a corporate and commercial generalist to effect our programs efficiently and manage overall risk to the organization. A successful candidate will be expected to provide and coordinate timely and efficient legal involvement in our transactions, to manage the activities of outside counsel, and to support and maintain cohesion within our small global in-house legal team.

Four principal areas of responsibility are as follows:
•       Deal Structuring & Documentation: The Legal Counsel will provide a first line of support to portfolio team members in structuring and developing term sheets and documentation for Acumen’s early stage debt and equity investments, driving investments to efficient closing, and conducting periodic training in investment processes and best practices.
•       Operational Guidance: The role will involve significant contractual drafting and review for our Impact, +Acumen and fundraising teams, and day-to-day operations for our Communications and Talent teams.  Advice may range across general organizational and commercial matters for charitable and commercial activities, including general contract, intellectual property, immigration, employment, governance and formation matters. Familiarity with legal issues specific to 501(c)(3) organizations a plus.
•       Project Management:  The role requires developing and managing through implementation various projects on behalf of the global legal team, including working with colleagues across the organization, self-discipline to progress in the face of pressing conflicting demands and creating milestones toward timely execution. Examples include revised term sheets for our investing program, data collection/data privacy regulation overview, and supply chain diligence strategy.
•       Compliance: The role involves oversight of implementation, training and monitoring of compliance and related administrative matters on behalf of the General Counsel’s office, support of policy development on various matters and records management.

The ideal candidate for the Legal Counsel role will possess:
•       4-8 years experience practicing transactional law and managing legal projects across various stakeholders, including a mix of transactional and general corporate work at a law firm; in-house practice is a plus, as is experience in the developing world or with an impact-oriented investor.
•       Strong organizational and diplomacy skills and the ability to work and deliver projects independently, proactively and under pressure
•       Excellent written and oral communication skills
•       Commitment to accuracy, attention to detail and follow-through
•       Commitment to, and enthusiasm for, the organization’s mission and business model, and respect for our core values: generosity, accountability, humility, audacity, listening, leadership, integrity, respect
•       Aptitude for and comfort navigating ambiguity, and striving to create clarity, with a constant emphasis on integrity and ethical behavior
•       Ability to remain cool-headed in unexpected or emotionally charged situations, use education and pragmatism to stay the course on the organization’s goals and withstand the tests of a rapidly changing environment with resilience, resolve, empathy and humor
•       Dedication to working within the social impact, mission-driven sector, with an understanding of the sector’s inherent challenges
•       Amenability to working with different time zones in an efficient manner
•       Must be authorized to work in the U.S.


Acumen offers competitive compensation within the impact investment sector, including benefits and a 401K.

Application Requirements

Please submit your resume and responses to the following questions here:
1.      Describe a transaction on which you worked where you had an ethical concern, a challenging counterparty, a difficult regulatory environment or a contentious deal term, and how you tackled the problem and worked toward resolution? (MAX: 150 words.)
2.      Please describe a situation in which you had to manage a process in an uncertain and fast-paced environment.  How were you able to navigate the ambiguity while engaging other stakeholders in the process? (MAX: 150 words.)

Start date is as soon as practicable.  Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, as applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.  Acceptance of applications for the position will close on July 25, 2017.