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MLA Places James Grooms as General Counsel and Secretary at The Museum of Modern Art

Hanover, MD (December 17, 2020) — Major, Lindsey & Africa (MLA), the world’s leading legal search firm, today announced the placement of James Grooms as general counsel and secretary to the Board of Trustees at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. The search was conducted by Sheri Michaels and Melba Hughes, partners with the In-House Counsel Recruiting team.

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. Annually, MoMA typically engages 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 the Museum on 53rd Street and at MoMA PS1.

As general counsel, James will serve as the principal legal officer for the museum, with overall responsibility for the leadership of its legal function, overseeing the multi-faceted, diversified and complex legal affairs of the institution. Reporting to the director, he will 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.

“With every search, we strive to present a diverse slate of candidates who will excel within our client’s organization and bring new perspectives to the organization as a whole. James immediately rose to the top of the list as a standout candidate,” said Melba Hughes. “We are proud to have participated in placing the first African-American General Counsel at MoMA.”

“Through the breadth of his legal experience, as well as his outstanding interpersonal skills, James will be able to successfully steward this iconic institution through their next chapter of change and growth,” Sheri Michaels said.

James comes to the museum with 17 years of experience as legal counsel, corporate secretary and an agent of change within the iconic New York City institutions New York Road Runners and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Prior to that, he served as director of licensing for intellectual property at Standard & Poor’s, worked as counsel to Disney/ABC, Inc. and taught labor law as an adjunct professor at Cornell University New York State School of Industrial Labor Relations. He brings to MoMA strong and crucial expertise in board relations, governance, human resources, diversity and inclusion, and business growth. James holds a B.A. (Honors) in Philosophy & Religion from Colgate University and a J.D. from the University of Michigan.

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