GENERAL PURPOSE OF POSITION: On behalf of the General Synod, the Executive Council carries on the work of the United Church of Christ (“UCC”). It considers the work of all Covenanted, Affiliated, and Associated Ministries and correlates its work, publicity and promotion, preventing duplication and effecting economics of administration, so as to secure maximum effectiveness and efficiency through careful stewardship of personnel and financial resources.
Under the direction of the General Counsel, the Associate General Counsel of the United Church of Christ is to serve as a common source of legal advice, counsel, and representation for the General Synod, Executive Council, Covenanted Ministries, and Conferences of the United Church of Christ and their successors in interest. (S)he is to provide and coordinate legal services; to minimize legal risks and costs; and to do so effectively, responsibly and professionally.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
The principal responsibility of the Associate General Counsel is to help further the work of the Office of General Counsel and to serve the General Synod, Executive Council, Covenanted Ministries, and Conferences of the United Church of Christ and their successors in interest while protecting their legal interests. The Associate General Counsel will:
-provide timely and responsible legal guidance
-address existing and potential legal problems
-help these ministries effectively and efficiently achieve their objectives
-provide vigorous and responsible advocacy
-coordinate legal services
Ongoing activities may include:
-direct participation in, or oversight and management of, the diverse range of contracts and transactions, litigation, and other matters in which legal representation is required, beneficial, or may advance the work of these ministries and their constituents;
-consultation with the designated leader of these ministries;
-presenting or otherwise disseminating information, continuing education, and discussion on the legal affairs of these ministries;
-participating in the meetings of, and serving as a resource to, the Executive Council, Collegium of Officers, and the Association of Conference Attorneys.
Specific projects may include:
-providing advice and counsel as policies and procedures are developed;
-providing advice and guidance on the development of resources for call agreements and employment related issues;
-providing advice and guidance on the continuing development of responses to issues arising from, and related to, ministerial ethics, fitness reviews, and the Manual on Ministry;
-providing training and leadership of workshops on legal issues confronting clergy, lay leadership, Local Churches, Associations, Conferences, covenanted ministries and the legal counsel who may be representing the same.
This position is required to be based in Cleveland.
The Associate General Counsel of the United Church of Christ:
- Reports directly to the General Counsel or in his/her absence, to the General Minister and President through the Chief Administrative Officer.
- Consults with and counsels certain UCC settings in legal matters, when necessary and appropriate.
- Consults with Conference legal counsel, when necessary and appropriate.
- Coordinates and monitors external legal counsel and oversees legal matters referred to such counsel.
- Coordinates and supervises, in consultation with the General Counsel, litigation where the UCC, General Synod, Executive Council, Covenanted Ministries, Conferences, Associations or their successors are a party in interest.
- Monitors with Conference Ministers and Association Ministers or their designees, the ecclesiastical authorization process.
- In consultation with the General Counsel, advises and supports the work of the General Synod, Executive Council, General Minister and President, UCC Officers and Covenanted Ministry Executives, and Conference Ministers on legal matters affecting the UCC and its settings.
- In consultation with the General Counsel, advises the UCC and its settings in responding to public inquiries.
- In consultation with the General Counsel, works with the Insurance Board and its risk managers and claims adjusters.
- Prepares and/or oversees the preparation of legal/quasi-legal documents of the UCC and its settings (e.g., contracts, insurance filings, etc.).
- Prepares and/or oversees the preparation of filings with governmental agencies.
- In consultation with the General Counsel, oversees and maintains the UCC Tax Exempt Group Ruling with the Internal Revenue Service.
- Excellent academic credentials, including a Juris Doctor degree from an accredited law school.
- A member of the bar of one of the fifty states; admission to the Ohio Bar expected within a reasonable time; commissioning as a lay minister within a reasonable time preferred.
- 1 - 3+ years legal experience is beneficial.
- Excellent interpersonal, communication and leadership skills.
- High integrity and a good reputation.
- Desire and competency to work in diverse racial, ethnic, cultural and religious settings with commitment to pluralism in the workplace as well as an understanding of mission.
- Outstanding judgment, not only in legal matters but in other issues with possible legal or reputational ramifications.
- Ability to operate flexibly and effectively in a fast-paced, constantly changing environment.
- Multi-national and multi-cultural experience preferred.
- Understanding of the nature and polity of the United Church of Christ.
- Familiarity with UCC polity, nonprofit corporation law, church/state relationships and the unique legal issues affecting charitable, religious organizations is beneficial.
- Experience in the areas of personnel law, contracts, insurance coverage, real estate, tax exemption and/or litigation is beneficial.
- General administrative skills.
- Ability to travel within the U.S. as required.
This individual must:
- Be intellectually bright and inquisitive.
- Be proactive in approach; must be able to anticipate issues in advance and deal effectively with their resolution.
- Be able to command the trust and respect of the other members of executive management and the Executive Council.
- Be an individual whose opinions and advice are sought and respected.
- Have a ‘can do’ attitude, but someone who can say ‘no’ in a manner which is neither offensive nor obstructionist.
- Have the highest ethical principles.
- Be able to work with team members, drawing on their strengths to achieve a common goal.
This job description is not intended to be a complete list of all duties and responsibilities required for the position and are subject to review and change at any time in accordance with the needs of the ministry. Since no job description can detail all duties and responsibilities that may be required from time to time in the performance of a position, duties and responsibilities that may be inherent in a position shall also be considered part of the position holder’s responsibility.
It is expected that the person who holds this position will conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the policies of the CMUCC and in a manner that will reflect positively on the organization. All staff are encouraged to nurture safety within the work performed on behalf of the CMUCC by being attentive to self-care, education, maintaining appropriate boundaries, and the importance of referring those in need to supportive and helpful resources.
The United Church of Christ, National Setting, is a Multicultural, Multiracial, Open and Affirming, Accessible to All, Equal Opportunity Employer.