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Real Estate Attorney

The Real Estate Attorney will cultivate, negotiate, and conduct land transactions to preserve and expand conservation lands throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. They will assist in managing a portfolio of 60 conservation easements, and to acquire, hold, and transfer conservation properties across seven counties. The Real Estate Attorney will manage a land stewardship coordinator and ensure compliance with Land Trust Alliance (LTA) standards and practices as a nationally accredited land trust. They will collaborate with agencies and organizations to refine land transaction models and propose new ways to deploy land preservation models to accelerate the speed and scale of conservation. This is a full time, exempt position.  Supervised by Senior Counsel.

Essential Functions

  • Manage a diverse real estate portfolio of conservation easements and fee properties in a manner consistent with LTA standards and practices and internal policies
  • Cultivate and maintain relationships with land protection agencies and organizations and represent Openlands in state and local land preservation coalitions
  • Provide technical assistance to federal, state, and local governments, and other non-profits to strategically acquire and permanently protect priority open space
  • Conduct real estate transactions to conserve land throughout the Chicagoland region, from cultivating and negotiating with willing donors and sellers to due diligence and closings
  • Draft complex conservation easements, licenses, leases, permits, technical assistance and interagency agreements, and other real estate documents
  • Supervise staff responsible for conservation easement monitoring, reporting, and record-keeping in compliance with LTA accreditation requirements
  • Educate and advise government officials, the public, attorneys, developers, real estate professionals, private landowners, and others regarding land preservation options
  • Coordinate with restoration and stewardship staff regarding fee lands held for transfer
  • Address and resolve minor and major easement violations in a timely manner, establish a written record, file a claim/placeholder with Terra-Firma insurance as appropriate
  • Assist in managing outside Counsel when real estate litigation is necessary
  • Maintain an awareness of real estate opportunities in priority landscapes, generate new projects, and collaborate with conservation agencies to protect land and water
  • Secure Openlands Board approval for transactions
  • Assist with land trust reaccreditation
  • Experience working across cultures, integrating thoughtful approaches to environmental justice, equity and diversity into real estate work

Required Qualifications

  • Juris Doctorate.  Three to five years of relevant real estate legal experience preferred.
  • Experience negotiating complex real estate transactions and agreements
  • Work independently and well with people and agencies
  • Strong legal research, writing, and communications skills; attention to detail
  • Coordinates multiple projects and meets deadlines with moderate supervision
  • Can travel throughout the Chicago region; driver’s license is required throughout the duration of employment
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite

To Apply

This position is open until filled. Interested applicants should send a resume and cover letter explaining why your skills and experience would complement this position to JobApps@Openlands.org.   Please include “Real Estate Attorney” in the subject line. Please note that applications without a cover letter will not be considered.

Work Environment

Office is ADA accessible. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, and scanners. Employee is regularly required to talk, hear, see, and communicate effectively via computer. This role requires manual labor- standing, bending, crouching, lifting. Smoke- and drug-free environment. Openlands is an equal opportunity employer and seeks to employ qualified individuals based on individual merit. Openlands does not discriminate against any individual with respect to the terms and conditions of employment based on that individual’s race, sex, age, religion, color, national origin, disability, genetic information, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, housing status, or any other non-merit factor protected under state, local or federal laws. Equal Employment Opportunity applies to all personnel actions such as recruiting, hiring, compensation, benefits, promotions, training, transfer, termination, and opportunities for training. Openlands is committed to a fair and equitable workplace where everyone is a respected and valued member of the team.

About Openlands

Openlands protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois and the surrounding region to ensure cleaner air and water, protect natural habitats and wildlife, and help balance and enrich our lives. Openlands’ vision for the region is a landscape that includes a vast network of land and water trails, tree-lined streets, and intimate public gardens within easy reach of every city dweller. It also includes parks and preserves big enough to provide natural habitat and to give visitors a sense of the vast prairies, woodlands, and wetlands that were here before the cities. In sum, Openlands believes that protected open space is critical for the quality of life of our region.