South San Francisco, California, United States

Director, Legal Operations

Using living cells to treat – and sometimes even cure – cancer is one of the most dramatic advances in modern medicine. Patients with hematologic malignancies have been successfully treated with cell therapies. However, these profound results have not yet been achieved in patients with solid tumors, representing approximately 90% of all cancers. At Lyell, our goal is to change that. We are a clinical-stage T-cell reprogramming company advancing a diverse pipeline of cell therapies for solid tumors based on our innovative technologies. We were founded by cell therapy pioneers whose decades of research elevated the broader understanding of T-cell biology and its interaction with cancer. In our quest to defeat solid tumors, we have built a fully integrated company capable of discovering new technologies, translating science into therapies, manufacturing cell therapy products, and clinically evaluating them in patients. Our culture is based on Science, Respect, Collaboration, and Courage and reflects who we are, the environment we create, and our mission's urgency.
The individual in this role will be responsible for working cross-functionally to support the legal organization. This role will enable the legal team to support the organization more effectively by applying business and technical practices to the delivery of legal services.  


  • Design and build a contracts program including implementing a contracts management system designed to integrate within an enterprise resource planning system, develop and managing various contract templates and playbooks, and assist in the review and processing of contracts. 
  • Project manage the roll-out of legal operations programs and systems with broad organizational impact. This includes developing policies, SOPs, communications plans and training plans for programs such as the contracts management, and the records management and information governance programs. 
  • Develop a long-term technology plan to automate manual processes including tools for  eBilling, contract management, and eventually, transparency reporting and eDiscovery • Develop vendor relationships that deliver value by implementing effective requests for production (RFP) processes, negotiating rates and pricing models and onboarding vendors quickly and efficiently. 
  • Build records management and information governance program, in close partnership with IT, to lower corporate risk and exposure. Manage and monitor access to all sensitive, confidential, and restricted information. 
  • Assist in setting strategic priorities for the legal team that serve the needs of the function and overall business. Serve a strategic role by defining success of the various projects, identifying gaps in legal expertise, and navigating through change management. 
  • Assist in developing the annual budget for the function, manage legal expenses against the budget throughout the year, seek new opportunities for savings and efficiencies including alternative fee arrangements with law firms, develop outside counsel billing guidelines and manage an eBilling system effectively and efficiently. 
  • Manage corporate insurance policies and renewals. 
  • Manage core legal operation functions designed to scale commensurate with organizational growth. 
  • Manage a team of paralegals, contract managers and/or legal operations specialists. 
  • Build and manage a transparency reporting program and system. 
  • Identify and develop operational infrastructure for the healthcare compliance, corporate compliance and privacy law functions within the function.


  • BS or equivalent with a minimum of 17 years’ experience  
  • MS, MBA or JD with a minimum of 14 years’ experience 


  • A minimum of 7 years’ experience in legal operations roles at early-stage and/or commercial-stage pharmaceutical or medical device company 
  • Demonstrated, broad experience across a majority of the Core 12 elements for operational excellence advanced by the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) 
  • Proven experience managing other paralegals or legal operations employees • Strong client-service orientation with proven experience effectively supporting internal clients. 


  • Ability to effectively communicate and demonstrate operational authority with various levels of management (including senior and executive leadership) as well as employees at all levels of the organization. 
  • Demonstrated collaborative skills working with teams and in a cross-functional environment. 
  • Proven large-scale project management skills on projects having broad organizational impact. 
  • Self-motivated and detail oriented 
  • Strong organization and time-management skills 
  • Ability to work effectively in a fast-paced environment and within an organization experiencing growth.
  • Strong aptitude in technology tools used to achieve operational excellence.
  • Advanced computer skills with strong command of Microsoft Office tools
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
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.
The salary range for this position is $220,000 to $255,000, annually, with the opportunity to earn an annual bonus. The salary range is an estimate, and the actual salary may vary based on Lyell’s compensation practices and an applicant’s qualifications and experience. 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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