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Contracts Counsel at Howard Hughes Medical Institute


Job Description

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is an independent, ever-evolving philanthropy that supports basic biomedical scientists and educators with the potential for transformative impact. We make long-term investments in people, not just projects, because we believe in the power of individuals to make breakthroughs over time. HHMI scientists have radically advanced the understanding of cells, the brain, the immune system, the development of organs, and how to treat many diseases.  Founded in 1953 by aviator and industrialist Howard R. Hughes, HHMI is headquartered in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and employs more than 2,500 people across the U.S. 

At HHMI, you are not just an employee – you are a part of a creative and talented team with colleagues whose expertise ranges from biomedical research to investment management, from information technology to law.  We encourage collaborative and results-driven working styles and offer an adaptable environment where employees can function at their highest level. As HHMI scientists continue to push boundaries in laboratories and classrooms, you can be sure that your contributions while working at HHMI are making a difference.


HHMI is seeking a Contracts Counsel for its Office of the General Counsel (OGC) to help support HHMI’s programs and operations by providing informed, thoughtful, practical, creative, and timely legal counsel in the review and negotiation of research-related agreements. As a member of the dynamic team in HHMI’s OGC, you will be directly involved in HHMI’s mission of advancing biomedical research for the benefit of humanity.

As a Contracts Counsel, you will review and negotiate contracts relating to the conduct of research in HHMI laboratories. These contracts include agreements covering the transfer of reagents and other materials into and from HHMI laboratories (inbound and outbound Materials Transfer Agreements or MTIs and MTOs). In addition, the Contracts Counsel is responsible for ensuring that inter-institutional agreements (IIAs) and licenses (Licenses) entered into by third-party research institutions which relate to technology developed in HHMI laboratories are consistent with HHMI’s policies and interests. As a member of OGC’s collaborative and skilled team, you will work closely with other OGC staff, HHMI scientific management, HHMI laboratory heads and staff, and research institution staff to efficiently and effectively resolve issues relating to MTIs, MTOs, IIAs, and Licenses. You will report to the Deputy General Counsel and work under the general supervision of the Deputy General Counsel and two Senior Contracts Counsels.


  • J.D. degree
  • Active membership of an established bar
  • At least three years of experience as an attorney in private practice or in a corporate, nonprofit, or government legal department
  • At least two years of experience drafting and negotiating contracts, preferably technology license agreements; experience drafting and negotiating contracts relating to life sciences research is a plus

Skills and Abilities:

  • Excellent analytical, problem-solving, judgment, and decision-making skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work collaboratively as well as independently
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills
  • Strong time management and organizational skills
  • Able to communicate effectively with a variety of contacts, including senior management, scientists, other employees, and outside counsel
  • Skillful in managing competing priorities and deadlines in a high-volume environment and adapting approaches to shifting demands
  • Desire to learn about, facilitate, and take pride in the work of HHMI’s scientists and grantees
  • Willingness and ability to learn new subject matter, to become proficient on IT systems and applications used by OGC, and to employ HHMI-specific processes and procedures
  • Positive attitude
  • Adherence to high ethical standards

This Contracts Counsel position is for full-time employment. Applicants seeking part-time employment of at least 32 hours per week will be considered.

To apply, please include a cover letter stating how your qualifications and experience match the requirements and how your experience will add value to HHMI.

HHMI is an equal opportunity employer

Interested? Apply here