The Business of a Nonprofit: Experiencing General Counsel Work at NCSC International

One of my favorite parts of interning at NCSC International is having the opportunity to work in two very different areas of the law. While I am regularly working with foreign laws, international documents, and rule of law development, I also get to assist with the general counsel work that goes into running the entirety of NCSC's operations. I remember my interview for the internship involving a mention of general counsel work, and I am very happy that I have been able to, so far, experience three major general counsel assignments: drafting a contract review policy, developing a grants management package, and revising internal employment procedures.

My first general counsel assignment was to draft a contract review policy. Contract policy is extremely important to a government-funded entity like NCSC International, as each transaction must comply with applicable donor regulations. To help ensure that NCSC International properly oversees all contracts that have been negotiated and finalized by employees from around the globe, I was tasked with drafting a contract policy to be implemented in the home and field offices. To get an idea of an appropriate policy, I analyzed contract review policies from universities, hospitals, and other nonprofits, and I drafted a policy combining what I felt were the best parts of each sample. After having the Senior Legal Counsel review my policy, I began developing a memorandum explaining why I chose the policy characteristics that I did, and how the decisions can help NCSC International meet its compliance goals.

Along with my fellow legal intern Xiang, I am helping to develop a grants management package that will assist NCSC International employees with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) public contract administration duties. For each USAID award received, NCSC International must create a grants management document that USAID must approve to ensure that NCSC, the grantee, has the proper procedures in place to comply with all of USAID’s policies. Xiang and I are creating a generic, standardized document that already has the basis for USAID requirements, and when we finish, NCSC employees will only have to input aspects specific to their project or program into the document in order to satisfy USAID's orders. The creation of the document is helping me to learn a lot about administrative law and government contracts.

My most recent general counsel assignment has been a revision of NCSC International’s internal policies and procedures. Xiang and I have both been given different chapters to review. I am revising the “General Provisions” and “Complaints Procedure” chapters while Xiang is synthesizing two separate chapters involving specific types of employment into a singular, more general and less specific chapter. The “General Provisions” chapter needed much more condensing, while the “Complaints Procedure” chapter is brand new and has not yet been implemented in any way. Along with revising the actual policies, Xiang and I also must write a brief on each chapter that details our changes and justifies each alteration. Eventually, our work will be shown to the Executive Vice President and General Counsel of NCSC.

I have really enjoyed working with the business operations and administrative functions involved with doing general counsel work. I find the topics of regulatory compliance and government contracts especially interesting, and I am very thankful that NCSC International allows its legal interns to be exposed to these practice areas.