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General Counsel

Posted Mar 08
Full Time
HybridBatavia, Illinois

We Are:

Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. We support discovery science experiments in Illinois and at locations around the world, including deep underground mines in South Dakota and Canada, mountaintops in Arizona and Chile, CERN in Europe and the South Pole.

We are strategic risk takers, innovators, and collaborators. We are engineers, scientists, technicians, administrative professionals. We are over 2,000 employees advancing knowledge for the benefit of humankind. Fermilab has been at the forefront of particle physics for more than 40 years. We build world-leading accelerators and detectors to conduct some of the most advanced particle physics experiments possible. We collect and analyze the data from those experiments with some of the most powerful computers in the world. We conduct this research on a 6,800-acre prairie, 35 miles outside Chicago, a treasure that has been designated a National Environmental Research Park.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Reporting to the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) Director, the General Counsel is the senior legal advisor to Fermilab and manages a diverse staff of lawyers and support staff to provide legal advice and counsel to all lab organizations and on all matters affecting the Lab. This individual is a member of the senior leadership team, and leads and manages the legal function, as well as coordinates external legal resources. Candidates must be self-motivated and exhibit a passion for understanding the Lab and contributing in a meaningful way to developing and executing on its long-term strategic goals and scientific mission. In addition to possessing the requisite legal and technical skills, the successful candidate must approach this role from an experienced business perspective and demonstrate a high degree of initiative, ethics and integrity, as well as strategic/conceptual thinking capabilities.

The General Counsel will provide strategic advice and implement plans for non-routine, difficult and/or sensitive legal issues as well as analyze risk exposure inherent in the Lab’s operations and research programs. The General Counsel will be expected to advise on a wide range of matters, from complex federal contracts and procurements to litigation matters involving the Lab. They will also help select, direct, and manage outside counsel to ensure client-centered, high quality and cost-effective provision of legal services to the Lab. In addition, they will regularly communicate and interact with the General Counsels and other representatives of the University of Chicago, Universities Research Association, and the Board of Directors of the Management and Operating Contractor for the Lab, Fermi Research Alliance, LLC, in furtherance of these organizations’ oversight responsibilities for the lab.

Minimum Required Education and Experience:


  • Must hold a J.D. from an accredited law school and be licensed to practice in Illinois or admitted to a State Bar of any US State or the District of Columbia and eligible to be admitted to the Illinois Bar within a reasonable time following the commencement of the position.
  • Minimum of 12 years of relevant legal experience in most of the following areas: drafting and negotiating contracts, including contracts involving federal agencies and/or federal funding (e.g., procurements, cooperative agreements, strategic partnerships, etc.); knowledge of laws and regulations applicable to various types of federal contracts, including management and operating contracts; employment and labor law; environmental law; intellectual property and technology transfer laws, particularly in the context of partnerships with industry and technology-based start-ups; and litigation management.
  • Highly effective in communicating complex technical legal matters to a variety of stakeholders.
  • Experience leading a multi-disciplinary legal team, including the ability to develop strategies to attract, develop and retain a high-performing diverse staff.
  • Ability to secure and maintain a U.S. Department of Energy Q-level security clearance which requires U.S. citizenship.
  • Ability to provide training and education to laboratory staff on legal and regulatory issues

Preferred Abilities:

  • Expertise and experience managing a legal counsel office in an organization that provides services to the federal government.
  • Prior experience with the Department of Energy is highly desired.
  • Broad knowledge of Department of Energy and /or Office of Science missions.
  • Experience working with federal government and procurement contracts.
  • Experience working with a Board of Directors.

Fermilab is an Equal Opportunity Employer and believes a diverse and inclusive environment based on mutual respect is essential to our mission. Fermilab is committed to recruiting and developing the most hardworking people and does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, religion, age, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, military/veteran status, country of birth, geography/postal code, disability, marital status, parental or gestational status, or other non-merit factor.

REAL-ID Requirement for access to Fermilab Campus

Fermilab and FRA requires all members of the public to produce a REAL-ID, or equivalent, to access the Fermilab Campus for interviews or career events. A list of acceptable forms of ID can be found here: If a candidate is selected for an interview but does not possess any of the equivalent documents, we may schedule a virtual interview.

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