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Staff Attorney, Open Space Institute

New York NY

The Open Space Institute (OSI) protects scenic, natural and historic landscapes to ensure public enjoyment, conserve habitats, and sustain community character. OSI achieves its goals through land acquisition, conservation easements, special loan programs, creative partnerships, and analytical research.


Position Summary

The Staff Attorney represents the Open Space Institute, Inc. and its related entities (“OSI”) in a variety of legal matters, including handling complex real estate and other land conservation transactions, advising OSI on matters of the law of tax-exempt organizations, working with outside counsel in handling litigation and other matters.

As a member of the Legal Department, the Staff Attorney reports to the Co-General Counsel, and works under the direction of the Co-General Counsel and the Associate General Counsel. The position is located in New York City, and is not suited for working from remote locations.


Responsibilities & Duties

Key Responsibilities Include:

In consultation with the Co-General Counsel and/or Associate General Counsel, structuring, negotiating and closing real estate transactions, including acquisitions and dispositions of land, management agreements, loan and grant agreements, conservation easements, donations and other real estate transactions. Key duties include:

o Presentation of projects for approval to OSI’s relevant committees;

o Review of title reports, surveys, appraisals, Phase I environmental reviews and assessing and minimizing the risk to OSI in real estate transactions;

o Negotiation with sellers, purchasers and their counsel;

o Preparation of purchase and sale agreements and closing documents and other transaction documents;

o Attendance at closings;

o Oversight of all post-closing matters; including the preparation of closing binders and recording of transactions on OSI’s books and records.

Undertake legal research, including tracking pending legislative and administrative reforms; preparing memoranda for the Co-General Counsel and/or Associate General Counsel.

Preparation of board memoranda, board resolutions and other corporate documents.

Review, draft, and amendment of conservation easements and review of appraisals in connection with Form 8283s.

Special projects as directed by the Co-General Counsel and/or the Associate General Counsel.


Skills/Core Competencies


o Prior transactional experience as counsel at law firm, environmental organization, or for an accredited land trust;

o Knowledge of New York real estate law;

o Experience conducting due diligence for real estate transactions, including review of surveys, title reports, and environmental assessments;

o Outstanding legal judgment, including the ability to analyze complex factual situations; research applicable law; and advise OSI on a variety of legal matters in a timely fashion;

o Ability to manage time and organize diverse activities;

o Strong analytical and communication skills;

o Excellent organizational skills;

o Ability to work independently with multiple consultants including outside counsel;

o Extensive computer skills including proficiency in Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, MS Word;

o Proficiency in Lexis-Nexis;

o Knowledge of New York State non-for-profit corporations and the law of tax-exempt organizations;

o Knowledge of land use planning techniques, government land acquisition policies/procedures and environmental law;

o Experience drafting conservation easements.



Admission to the New York State Bar;

Minimum of 6 years of legal practice with proficiency in real estate, non profit or tax matters


Physical Requirements

Frequently sits for long periods of time

Frequently speaks, reads, writes and uses a computer keyboard


This job description is not intended to represent a complete, comprehensive list of all duties and responsibilities that may be required in this position. There may be unplanned activities and other duties as assigned.

OSI is committed to workplace diversity and inclusion. We recognize that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of people of all genders, diverse backgrounds, beliefs and cultures. We encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.


Additional information

The hire is a full-time position that offers a competitive salary and benefits package.

For information on OSI, visit www.openspaceinstitute.org.


To apply:

Please email cover letter, resume, salary expectations, and where you saw this posting, preferably as a single PDF, to resumes@osiny.org, with “Staff Attorney” as the subject. We will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis through Aug. 30. No phone calls please.


Posted August 9, 2019

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