The universe awaits

General Counsel

Legal Counsel
  • Full-Time
  • Administrative
Pasadena, CA
Hybrid in Pasadena, CA
Position code


The Giant Magellan Telescope is the most powerful ground-based telescope ever engineered. It was designed to push the boundaries of human knowledge and discover the unknown. With unmatched image quality, seven of the world’s largest mirrors will launch our view into the universe to uncover the cosmic mysteries of dark matter, investigate the origins of chemical elements, and search for signs of life on distant exoplanets for the first time.

The 30-meter class telescope is under construction at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile’s Atacama Desert, one of the best locations on Earth to view the heavens. From this unrivaled vantage into the southern sky, the Giant Magellan Telescope will produce the sharpest and most detailed images ever taken of our universe.

When complete in the late 2020s, the Giant Magellan Telescope will be the largest public-private funded science project in history. The endeavor was founded by an international consortium of leading universities and research institutions representing five countries, and is managed by the GMTO Corporation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Pasadena, California. Our culture is impactful, inclusive, and fearlessly innovative. We solve the most difficult engineering challenges and scientific questions with talented individuals who share a passion for revolutionizing humanity’s knowledge of the universe.

We invite you to join our team and leave your mark on astronomy’s future and beyond.

The Universe Awaits.






The GMTO Corporation located in Pasadena, CA is seeking a highly skilled, experienced, versatile General Counsel to manage the legal affairs of GMTO and to interface with the members, the GMTO Board, committees of the Board, and outside organizations on legal matters related to the GMTO.

The General Counsel will be a key member of the Executive Management team that must be able to work with a diverse work force of astronomers, engineers, scientists, physicists and other technical personnel.  The successful candidate will work under minimal supervision, report to the GMTO President and will be leading corporate strategic and tactical legal initiatives.  This position will provide the Board and the Executive Management team with effective advice on company strategies and their implementation, manage the legal function, and obtain and oversee the work of outside counsel.

The GMTO Corporation is a non-profit 503(c) Corporation, and the General Counsel will join high level management in building relationships with members, GMTO Board and Committee members, and outside organizations.

The primary work location for this role will be at the GMTO Project office in Pasadena, California; however national and international travel will be required to board meeting and other partner locations. The option exists for performing a significant amount of work from a home office.


  • Provide counsel and advice relating to corporate, regulatory, federal taxation, EAR, ITAR, and non-profit law
  • Serve as the Export Control Officer for the GMTO Corporation
  • Participate in the definition and development of corporate policies, procedures and programs and provide continuing counsel and guidance on legal matters and on legal implications of all matters
  • Serve as legal advisor on all major business transactions and contracts with vendors and work with the Contracts Officer on complex business transactions in negotiating critical contracts for GMTO
  • Represent GMTO on real estate and/or rental agreements
  • Judge the merits of any court cases filed against or on behalf of GMTO, work with the appropriate GMTO executives to define a strategic defense and approve settlements of disputes where warranted
  • Provide advice on all issues relating to employment law, discrimination, diversity and equal employment opportunity; or work with outside counsel for these matters
  • Assume ultimate responsibility for ensuring GMTO conducts its business in compliance with applicable laws and regulations
  • Recommend selection, retention, management and evaluation of all outside counsel
  • Strong interpersonal skills, ability to communicate and manage at all levels of the organization and with staff at other locations
  • Work closely with the members outside organizations, GMTO Board and Committee members
  • May assist the Human Resources department with evaluating benefits plans and cost data and may help with the negotiation of better rates
  • Attend GMTO Board meetings and advise the Board in legal  and governance matters
  • Must have the flexibility to work outside of the core business hours and to travel to locations outside the office to worldwide member locations and events
  • Serve as the GMTO Ethics Officer in responding to all queries or complaints
  • Serve as the GMTO Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy/Security Project Officer and in conjunction with the Human Resources Director, oversee GMTO HIPAA issues


  • Law degree from an accredited US law school, and must be admitted to the bar in CA and be in good standing
  • Minimum of 15 years’ experience in a law firm or in-house environment
  • Broad, overview experience in real estate law including land use, development, and rights of use
  • Broad, overview experience in intellectual property law including patent law, licensing of IP rights, and IP due diligence
  • Experience working on matters of corporate governance and with a board of directors
  • Experience managing outside attorneys
  • Research unique legal issues impacting the organization by identifying applicable statues and codes
  • Provide training to GMTO Executives on legal topics as required
  • Explain legal language as required
  • Skills in examining, developing, reengineering, and recommending policies and procedural changes to improve operation
  • Familiar with Sarbanes-Oxley Act and what sections of the act apply to non-profit businesses
  • Strong managerial and executive experience
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with experience collaborating in a multi-disciplinary, cross cultural, diverse team
  • Ability to work independently assess priorities, take initiative, handle multiple assignments, and meet deadlines


  • Previous experience working with a non-profit 503(c) organization
  • Previous experience in interacting with academic and technical institutions
  • Experience managing legal issues in Latin America


  • Medical insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • 401(k)


To apply send your resume and a cover letter to

If your skills and experience are a match for the position or if we need additional information, we will contact you. If we do not see a suitable match between your qualifications and the position, we will keep your information on file in the event future positions become available that are more suitable to your qualifications.

The GMTO Corporation is an equal employment opportunity employer.

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