Legal Counsel, West Africa at Acumen West Africa


Acumen is changing the way the world tackles poverty by investing in companies, leaders, and ideas. We invest patient capital in businesses whose products and services help people living in poverty to transform their lives. To date, Acumen has positively impacted over 500 million lives by investing $154M in 167 innovative, early-stage companies in Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and the United States. But investment isn’t just about capital – we’ve been investing in relationships for years, connecting with emerging leaders in their own countries and engaging them in extended collective dialogue, moral inquiry and skill building.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: Legal Counsel, West Africa

Location: Lagos


  • Acumen is looking for a mission-driven corporate lawyer with a minimum of 7 years of experience in transactional law and managing legal projects across various stakeholders to join our Legal team in Nigeria.
  • Fluency in French and English required. Exposure to early-stage venture capital investing and a commitment to tackling poverty or social causes.
  • The right candidate is skilled, creative, kind, pragmatic, respectful and can excel in a fast-paced environment.

About the role

  • The Legal Counsel will provide support to Acumen’s West Africa and Hardest-to-Reach (H2R) operations, ranging from investment transactions, compliance matters, and contract review.
  • Acumen West Africa (AWA) presently invests into early stage resilient agriculture and productive use of energy companies in Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone, and has a Foundry community of 109 Acumen Fellows. H2R is Acumen’s $250M initiative to expand clean and affordable energy access in underserved markets in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Reporting to the Director of Legal, the Legal Counsel will be part of the broader Global Legal Team at Acumen, and will work closely with the AWA and H2R programmatic teams to implement their activities.
  • A successful candidate will be expected to provide timely and relevant legal advice, collaborate with teams to effect their programs efficiently while managing overall risk to the organization, coordinate with outside counsel as applicable, and support and maintain cohesion within our small Global Legal Team.

Principal Areas of Accountabilities
Deal Documentation & Coordination:

  • The Legal Counsel will work closely with the AWA and H2R investing team members to drive Acumen’s early stage equity, debt, and other investments.
  • Support may range from structuring deal instruments, developing term sheets, conducting due diligence, negotiating and finalizing investment documentation, managing outside counsel, and coordinating stakeholders to closing.
  • The role will also provide legal advice to the teams as needed during the pre- and post-investment stages.

Operational Guidance:

  • The role will involve commercial contract drafting and review for AWA and H2R teams.
  • The scope may range across charitable and commercial issues, including general contract, intellectual property, employment, governance and formation matters.
  • Familiarity with legal issues specific to Nigeria is required; familiarity with legal issues specific to 501(c)(3) organizations (a U.S. designation) is a plus.


  • The Legal Counsel, in collaboration with Acumen’s Risk and Compliance Manager, will ensure that AWA and H2R activities are in compliance with local laws and best practices, especially in regards to maintaining the legal status of Acumen’s local entities.
  • Other responsibilities may include: navigating relevant local laws across multiple jurisdictions, keeping abreast of regulatory developments, liaising with outside counsel and memorializing guidance, and rolling out compliance recommendations and advising programmatic teams accordingly.

Project Management:

  • The role requires developing and implementing various projects on behalf of the AWA and H2R teams, including working with colleagues across functions, self-discipline and problem solving to progress in the face of uncertainty, and creating milestones toward timely execution.
  • An example may include strategizing on efficient investment processes, including developing templates and resources as needed in collaboration with the programmatic teams.

Qualifications and Skills

  • Minimum of 7 years experience practicing transactional law and managing legal projects across various stakeholders; familiarity with venture capital investing is a plus, as is experience in the developing world or with an impact-oriented investor.
  • Fluency in both French and English.
  • Ability to assess potential legal liabilities associated with various business activities and implement risk management protocols.
  • Ability to navigate ambiguity, distill complicated ideas in a clear and straightforward way, and ability to develop innovative solutions.
  • Ability to work proactively and under pressure, as well as deliver projects independently with minimal oversight required.
  • Ability to stay organized and keep stakeholders in the loop. Good project management and stakeholder management skills.
  • Familiarity with financial concepts and instruments, investment vehicles,  investments, acquisitions, and  similar transactions.
  • Strong organizational and diplomacy skills, including excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Commitment to accuracy, attention to detail and follow-through.
  • Amenable to working with different time zones in an efficient manner.
  • Commitment to, and enthusiasm for, the organization’s mission and business model.
  • Ability to remain cool-headed in unexpected or emotionally charged situations, using pragmatism to stay focused on the greater goal, and withstanding the tests of a rapidly changing environment with resilience, resolve, empathy and humor.
  • Experience with non-profit and/or investment regulations and compliance a plus.
  • Self reflective and aligned with Acumen values.
  • Permanently authorized to work in Nigeria, with a license to practice law.

Appication Closing Date
Not Specified.

How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should:


Note: Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible as applications will be reviewed and interviews scheduled on a rolling basis.