Foundation Overview

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Susan Desmond-Hellmann and co-chairs Bill & Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett.

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.

Group 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 grantmaking and contracting practices, and applies preventive legal strategies and compliance policies to minimize risks and safeguard the foundation’s reputation.

Position Summary & Responsibilities

This Assistant General Counsel role reports to the Deputy General Counsel who leads the Legal Team’s support of the foundation’s US Program (https: www.gatesfoundation.org/Who-We-Are/General-Information/Leadership/United-States-Program) and Global Policy and Advocacy (https: www.gatesfoundation.org/Who-We-Are/General-Information/Leadership/Global-Policy-and-Advocacy) divisions.  As the organization evolves in size and complexity of work, additional Legal support is needed.   The individual we are seeking has legal expertise working with a broad range of sectors including education, technology, and health care on privacy and security issues, and a background or willingness to become a subject matter expert in the collection, use, and maintenance of data.

The role has two primary components:  providing legal advice and transactional support for the foundation’s US Program and Global Policy and Advocacy divisions; as well as general legal support for foundation operations and program teams.

The role will advise US Program teams on new and emerging legal developments impacting privacy and use of personally-identifiable data.  This work will include counseling clients on identifying risks and developing compliance strategies for federal, state, and international laws including the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  This guidance may also include a focus on the application of Human Subject Regulations, particularly as it relates to privacy issues associated with the education sector.  

The role will also support operations and program teams to address legal issues related to the programmatic and business objectives of internal client groups, including data sharing and privacy issues in grants, contracts as well as program related investments.  Responsibilities may include: reviewing and negotiating grants, contracts, and other agreements; reviewing and drafting terms of use, privacy notices, and informed consent forms; and developing and delivering trainings on various legal matters.  This work will also include drafting and review of intellectual property issues in foundation investments, including Global Access agreements (making access to technology available at an affordable price to those most in need) and policies associated with websites. 

The successful candidate must be able to:

  • Collaborate with members of the Legal and Finance teams, subject matter experts and other foundation personnel to provide support as well as implement best practices. 
  • Provide practical business-oriented legal advice and counsel. 
  • Understand the objectives of internal client groups, develop creative solutions, and resolve issues using the legal framework and the foundation’s values.
  • Manage outside counsel as needed.  
  • Remain current on new and emerging US laws and regulations regarding privacy and use of personally-identifiable data. 
  • Provide support on other legal matters or foundation policies and issues as needed and serve as an active member of the legal team.  
  • Some travel may be required.



  • Subject matter expertise in U.S. privacy and consumer protection laws (particularly FERPA and COPPA), strongly preferred.
  • Experience advising on matters involving GDPR, HIPAA, and other state, federal, and international privacy and consumer protection laws preferred.
  • Experience advising on ethical, regulatory, and safety requirements relating to human subjects research in the education sector preferred.
  • History of effectively serving a demanding client base in a complex and fast-paced work environment.
  • Detail-oriented and self-motivated.
  • Flexibility to multi-task and agility to advise internal clients at all levels in the organization. 
  • Ability to communicate difficult legal concepts clearly and non-legalistically to business clients orally and in writing. 
  • Ability to prioritize work in context of the foundation’s risk tolerance framework.   
  • Ability to work with flexibility, efficiency, enthusiasm and diplomacy both individually and collaboratively as part of a team effort.
  • 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

Required Education and Experience

  • Juris Doctor degree and current bar membership are required
  • 3-5 years’ experience in a law firm and/or international in-house legal department

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:

* Race

* Color

* Age

* Religion

* Pregnancy

* Sex

* Sexual Orientation

* Disability

* Gender Identity

* Gender Expression

* National Origin

* Genetic Information

* Veteran Status

* Marital Status

* Prior Protected Activity