General Counsel (The Common Application, Inc.)

The Common Application
Arlington, Virginia
May 02, 2018
Jobs Outside Higher Education
Non-Profit Organizations & Associations
Institution Type
Outside Academe

The Common Application, Inc.

General Counsel

(Arlington, Virginia)

(Posted:  May, 2018)


The Common Application has retained Slesinger Management Services to recruit an attorney to serve as its first-ever general counsel. This is an outstanding opportunity for a lawyer knowledgeable about technology, privacy and data protection, higher education, and contracts.

Applications will be accepted until this search is completed.  To see if the search is still active, please visit

The Organization  

The Common Application, in Arlington, Virginia, is a nonprofit membership organization of more than 800 colleges and universities in the United States and around the world.  Founded in 1975, the Common App is committed to access, equity, and integrity in the college admission process.  During the 2017-2018 application year, more than 1 million students will use the Common App online system to submit more than 5 million applications. 

Having grown rapidly over the past decade, the Common Application has a staff of 80 and a budget of $24 million.  Most revenue comes from application fees from students using the Common App’s online application system as well as dues from member colleges and universities.

For more information about the Common Application, please go to

The Position and its Principal Responsibilities

Reporting to the chief financial and administrative officer, the general counsel is responsible for insuring that the organization is in full compliance with all relevant laws, and that contracts with member colleges and universities, vendors, and other organizations are properly drafted and monitored.  This is a new position, bringing in-house legal work that has until now been done by outside, retained law firms.

Key responsibilities include:

  1. Providing legal advice to the CEO and senior team on a variety of matters including information technology as well as contracts and agreements with member colleges and universities, vendors, partners, and other organizations.
  2. Serving as the organization’s privacy officer, insuring that the organization is in full compliance with relevant domestic and international laws, policies, and procedures, especially those dealing with protecting and safe-guarding sensitive and confidential data, e.g. information provided by students in their college applications. 
  3. Protecting the intellectual property of the organization, including trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.
  4. Working collaboratively with outside counsel whenever special projects require more specialized and sustained legal expertise.


Desired Skills and Characteristics

The ideal general counsel will be:

  1. An attorney with a law degree from an ABA-accredited law school and current membership in good standing in a U.S. state bar.
  2. Committed to the mission of the Common App, ideally demonstrated through prior employment or volunteer activity.
  3. Experienced providing legal advice to colleges and universities, other nonprofit organizations, or other organizations (nonprofit or for-profit) that deal with the collection, storage, transmission, and protection of large amounts of sensitive and confidential data.  Experience with other higher education technology companies is especially valuable.
  4. A superb communicator, orally and in writing, including providing the senior team with analysis and recommendations that are concise and clear to non-lawyers.
  5. Comfortable serving as the organization’s first-ever general counsel, which initially will be a one-person unit, making this a hands-on, do-it-yourself job.
  6. Able to work from the organization’s office in Arlington, Virginia, i.e. these responsibilities cannot be done remotely.


Salary will be commensurate with experience and qualifications. The Common App provides all staff with a generous benefits package that includes health insurance, paid time off, a retirement plan, and other policies that recognize and support work-life balance.

To Apply

Please email:

  1. cover letter that explains why you are interested and qualified, and
  2. resume

to Larry Slesinger, Founder and CEO, Slesinger Management Services, at [email protected]   

(please include “Common App” in subject line)

Questions?  Contact Larry Slesinger by email or at 301-320-0680.

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