South San Francisco, California, United States

Vice President, Legal

At Lyell, our vision is to develop curative cell-based immunotherapies for solid tumor cancers. We have innovative science originating from our founder’s world class labs and a unique and disruptive approach to research and development. Our company is first and foremost focused on understanding the science. We are a learning organization, dependent on deep collaborative relationships between all of our colleagues, partners and founders. Our culture is based on Science, Respect, Collaboration and Courage and it reflects who we are and the environment we are creating.


The position is responsible for overseeing and managing all aspects of corporate contracting for the organization including strategic transactions, contract review and processes, real estate contracts, data privacy as well as compliance with various state and federal laws applicable to Lyell. This role will be expected to lead and grow this group appropriately as well as exercising judgment, decision making and escalation as appropriate.


  • Manages the oversight, negotiation, interpretation, and maintenance of strategic transactions as well as day to day contracts
  • Oversees the efficiency, utility, processes, and procedures of the contract review process at Lyell
  • Leads or where appropriate delegates the lead of the negotiation, drafting, review, interpretation, and negotiation of important and more complicated agreements including partnering transactions, licensing, clinical trial agreements, manufacturing and supply and academic collaborations
  • Engages the input of subject matter experts where appropriate and ensures that the Company’s intellectual property is appropriately protected
  • Operates as a legal business partner to leadership on strategic transactions as well as day to day contracts and the related functional areas of the organization
  • Provides appropriate risk benefit analysis beyond legal considerations and recommendations for various legal matters confronting the organization
  • Oversees employment legal matters which includes the creation and maintenance of template employment agreements (e.g. offer letter templates and severance agreement templates), advising the People Team on employment relation matters and compliance with laws
  • Oversees compliance with existing and new state, Federal and international laws, rules, and regulations
  • Oversees compliance with compensation and benefits legal matters such as equity administration, 401(k) Plan and related tax matters
  • Oversees compliance with real estate related matters such as leases
  • Work cross functionally to develop data privacy policies and procedures as well as oversee compliance with applicable state, federal and international laws, rules and regulations
  • Provides other legal support when the need arises, and bandwidth permits
  • Appropriately and efficiently orchestrates the use of outside counsel for relevant legal matters considering cost, speed of review and technical expertise
  • Develops a strong understanding of the Company’s business to ensure strategic transactions and contracts appropriately reflect the objectives and needs of the Company
  • Able to make risk-based decisions and exercise judgment in determining when to escalate matters


  • JD from a US accredited law school with a minimum of 20 years’ experience
  • CA bar admission or eligible to register for California in-house program required


  • Minimum of 10 years’ experience in a corporate legal environment
  • Strong executive leadership experience within a corporate legal function
  • In-depth mergers and acquisitions experience within a biotech environment
  • Extensive work history in a start-up environment
  • Experience as a project manager, working with contract owners to move contract negotiations to completion


  • Demonstrated ability to build, lead and motivate teams across multiple functions
  • Collaborative leadership style
  • Proven strength in contract negotiation with an understanding of legal and regulatory requirements
  • Detail orientated ability with strong organization skills to balance multiple competing priorities
  • Strong executive presence with the ability to lead executive discussions, focus on detail and think strategically

Lyell offers its employees a range of compensation and benefits. To assist you with your decision to apply for this role, the following decision to apply for this role, the following information and links to our site highlight our competitive market position and support to our employees and their dependents. Employees are also eligible to participate in Lyell’s Equity Incentive Plan.

Our Employee Benefits program is extensive and includes subsidized medical, dental and vision plans from your first day of employment, FSA, Company provided Life and AD&D Insurance as well as STD and LTD Insurance, ESPP, a 401(k) Plan with Company match, mass transit commuter benefits, cell phone reimbursement and a range of supplemental benefits that you may choose to elect. Our paid time-off benefits currently include 18 days’ vacation, 9 day’s sick leave, 8 observed holidays as well as a floating holiday. We also have a summer and a winter office shutdown. More information on our extensive benefits offering can be found here.

At Lyell, we believe that highest performing teams include people from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences who respectfully challenge each other. We are committed to building an open, diverse and inclusive culture for all employees.
Lyell is proud to be an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, citizenship status, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, creed, physical or mental disability, medical condition, marital status, veteran status or any other characteristics protected under applicable federal, state and local laws.
The Company complies with all laws respecting equal employment opportunity and does not discriminate against applicants with regard to any protected characteristic as defined by federal, state, and local law.  This position requires you to work onsite at the Company’s facilities and the Company requires that all employees working in its facilities be fully vaccinated (except as required by applicable law).  Therefore, this position requires you to be fully vaccinated from COVID-19, subject to reasonable accommodations for medical or religious reasons, and/or as otherwise required by applicable law.  The Company considers you fully vaccinated once 14 days have passed since you received either the second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine.  The vaccine must have been FDA approved, have emergency use authorization from the FDA, or, for persons fully vaccinated outside of the U.S., be listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization.”
We’ve learned from experience that some of the best people don’t always match our requirements perfectly - if you’re interested and think you could fit, please don’t hesitate to apply.
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