To serve as the chief legal officer for the Chicago Housing Authority (“CHA”), with primary responsibility for (i) the overall legal strategy of the organization, (ii) legal and strategic counseling on all real estate transactions, contracts and partnerships, (iii) advice and counsel to senior management on legal, regulatory compliance, risk and policy matters, (iv) oversight of all litigation involving CHA or its affiliates, and (v) general administration of the Office of the General Counsel comprised of real estate, labor and employment, contracts, litigation and administrative functions.
Duties and Responsibilities
- Serves as the chief legal officer representing CHA in all legal matters. Oversees and manages the provision of all legal services to CHA to ensure maximum protection of its legal rights and efficacy of its operations while maintaining same within the limits prescribed by law and contract.
- Directs the CHA’s Office of General Counsel and supervises a team of attorneys, paralegals, and administrative staff.
- Provides ongoing strategic counseling and advice to the senior management team, the business units, corporate functions, and the CHA Board of Commissioners regarding matters for their consideration.
- Oversees or, as the Office of General Counsel’s capabilities permit, effects (i) the preparation, administration, and execution of proceedings necessary in the acquisition and disposition of real property; (ii) the preparation and handling of court proceedings in connection with securing tax exemptions and other actions, and (iii) the preparation of necessary documentation for real estate transactions by CHA.
- As the Office of General Counsel’s capabilities permit, drafts and negotiates to final execution version or oversees the drafting and negotiation of, and approves all contract documents prior to their execution; interprets and renders opinions on the CHA’s responsibilities, powers, and obligations under contracts; administers contract settlement negotiations when disputes occur; as necessary, reviews and modifies contracts and prepares all accompanying resolutions for Board of Commissioners’ consideration.
- Researches and renders final opinions on the legality of any course of conduct by the CHA and proposed or existing CHA policies or procedures, and interprets laws, rules and regulations affecting the administration of the Authority and other matters pertaining thereto.
- Oversees the preparation and provides strategic support for the passage of all proposed City Council ordinances relating to matters concerning the CHA such as site approval, zoning amendments and cooperative agreements, and testifies before City Council committees on behalf of the CHA.
- Reviews local, state, and federal legislative proposals and provides advice and recommendations to the Chief Executive Officer, the Board of Commissioners and senior management on their legal impact to the CHA’s interests. When applicable, drafts and submits comments on proposed HUD regulations of import to the CHA.
- Oversees all legal work in connection with financing arrangements, temporary and permanent bond issue documents, and any interest in which CHA acts as mortgagee in its cooperative undertakings with non-for-profit enterprises and partnerships.
- Oversees the preparation of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) Annual Contributions Contracts and amendments thereto and advances the interests of the CHA in fulfilling the terms and conditions of the CHA’s grant agreements with HUD.
- Provides advice and counsel to the Human Resources Department, CEO, and senior management regarding all employment matters.
- Actively manages and oversees all outside attorneys providing legal advice, representation, and counsel to the CHA.
- Provides practical legal advice and support to all business functions of the CHA and, in turn, engages with business unit employees to learn about business processes in order to represent the legal interests of CHA most effectively.
- Assists in ensuring compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations and provides training to non-legal staff to help facilitate their ability to perform their jobs while adhering to terms of agreements typically applicable to their work.
- Trains legal staff to further develop and expand their legal skills so as to allow for the provision of more legal services to CHA “in house” and to optimize spending on outside legal counsel.
Applicants for the General Counsel position must have superior writing skills, excellent verbal communication skills, broad knowledge of the law, and in-depth knowledge of laws and processes applicable to the development and financing of affordable housing, “mixed-income” housing developments and/or mixed-use developments.
- A minimum of fifteen (15) years legal experience practicing primarily real estate law in the public or private sector is required, with a preference given to candidates who have represented developers and/or housing authorities with respect to the development, financing and/or operation of projects including affordable housing and tax credit developments.
- Prior management and supervisory experience is required.
- Knowledge of federal, state, and local housing laws and regulations, including HUD regulations pertaining to public housing, multi-family housing, as well as knowledge of low-income housing tax credits, is strongly preferred.
- Knowledge of trial practices and procedures in federal and state courts, as well as federal, state, and local administrative agencies is preferred, but applicants without detailed litigation knowledge must have prior experience successfully managing outside litigation counsel.
- Applicants must have a superior academic record, a Juris Doctorate degree from an accredited law school, and be admitted to and in good standing with the Illinois Bar, or alternatively, be admitted to and in good standing with the bar of another state that has reciprocity with the Illinois Bar, to allow for that applicant’s admission to the Illinois Bar.