Museum of Modern Art Picks Major, Lindsey & Africa to Find Next General Counsel

May 4, 2020 – Legal recruiting continues to be a hot area for search firms. Lawyers employed by government agencies in particular have been on the move in recent months, according to Hunt Scanlon Media. Employment of lawyers is projected to grow 10 percent through 2022. Demand for legal work is expected to be robust as individuals, businesses and all levels of government require legal services in the U.S. and internationally.

Recently, Major, Lindsey & Africa (MLA) was enlisted by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to lead in its search for a new general counsel. Sheri Michaels, partner in New York, and Melba Hughes, partner and national in-house diversity practice leader in Atlanta, both with MLA’s in-house counsel recruiting team, are leading the assignment.


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“We are honored and privileged to partner with the Museum of Modern Art on this strategic search for its next general counsel,” said Ms. Michaels. “Given the breadth of issues facing MoMA, a broad-based, generalist capacity and background will be vital to supporting the diversified legal issues facing the institution.”

MoMA’s general counsel will serve as the principal legal officer for the museum, with overall responsibility for leadership of its legal function, overseeing the multi-faceted, diversified and complex legal affairs of the institution. Reporting to the director, the general counsel will be expected to provide legal advice and counsel to the director, the chief operating officer, the senior deputy directors, the chief curators, the board of trustees and other members of the MoMA community on a broad and diverse range of legal matters. The general counsel will be expected to passionately support the cultural components of the museum.

“While technical legal skills are essential, the successful candidate’s personal fit is critical to the success of the role and MoMA,” said Ms. Hughes. “Consistent with MLA’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, we are targeting diverse candidates who fit with our client’s hiring objectives.”

With extraordinary exhibitions and the world’s finest collection of modern and contemporary art, MoMA is dedicated to the conversation between the past and the present, the established and the experimental. In the last year, MoMA has engaged an audience of over 40 million worldwide across all channels (onsite visitation, membership, touring exhibitions, retail stores, online, social media, email and video) including welcoming over 3 million onsite visitors at its main campus on 53rd Street and at MoMA PS1.

Legal Recruiters

Founded in 1982, Major, Lindsey & Africa is a legal-focused search firm with more than 25 offices worldwide. It has a track record of general counsel, corporate counsel, partner, associate and law firm management placements. The firm also provides law firms and companies with highly specialized legal professionals on project, interim and temporary-to-permanent hire basis. Major, Lindsey & Africa has more than 25 offices and 200-plus search consultants around the world.


General Counsel: A New Pathway to CEO
The general counsel role has been vital for companies maintaining an international presence. “The role and stature of the general counsel position has expanded globally,” said Paul Williams, a partner in MLA’s Chicago office.


With more than 20 years as a leading legal search professional, Ms. Michaels has recruited general counsel, deputy general counsel and associate counsels for prominent multinational and domestic corporations and financial services companies. She has also placed partners, groups, counsels and associates into top-tier global, national and regional law firms. Ms. Michaels is regularly called upon to provide guidance and advice regarding the nuances of the lateral market. She began her legal career with the New York office of Coopers & Lybrand. Ultimately, she decided to leave the practice of law and enter the legal recruiting arena.

Ms. Hughes conducts senior leadership searches for general counsel and other high potential legal and compliance positions. She has completed placements throughout the U.S. and internationally with both public and private companies and in a variety of industries. Ms. Hughes is a strategic business advisor who understands the impact a diverse team can have on a legal department and on an organization as a whole. At the outset of every relationship, she takes a holistic view of a legal team, focusing on its current culture and desired structure, to help build a high-performing team with complimentary skill-sets and diverse perspectives. Ms. Hughes employs her knowledge and expertise to devise and implement programs that promote diversity and inclusion with the candidate slates she presents, clients and, ultimately, the broader legal industry.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor  – Hunt Scanlon Media

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