Throughout her distinguished career, Lauren Bright has exemplified how one can use a legal education to positively impact society. Most recently, Bright was named the Chief Legal Officer for The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the world’s second largest charitable foundation.
An in-house talent, Bright has been a part of the organization since 2005. Over the years, she's held a number of positions and has supported the foundation on a range of legal and strategic issues related to its policies and advocacy programs. Prior to her current CLO role, she served as co-general counsel and director of its Washington D.C. office, which provides support and services for over 120 regionally-based staff.
Today, as a member of the executive leadership team and the top legal chief, Bright's plate is fuller than ever. In addition to leading the foundation's entire legal team, she is responsible for advising the organization's trustees, CEO, senior leadership and staff on all issues regarding the law. She also serves as corporate secretary to the foundation’s board of trustees.
Bright's sense of public service notably goes back to the earliest days of her career. Prior to joining The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, she spent five years at the law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. There she served nonprofit clients on a variety of legal issues, including governance, tax exemption, transactions, mergers, legislative issues and regulatory issues. This includes representing institutions and companies before the U.S. Congress and administrative agencies regarding federal education policies and programs. Bright started her career at Dean Blakey & Moskowitz.
Outside of the courtroom, Bright is an author. She's published several articles on association practice and management, and co-authored narratives on the impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the U.S. Based on her success in the legal world, she is also a sought-after speaker on topics affecting nonprofit organizations. Accordingly, she has previously served as a guest lecturer at the University of Washington Law School Graduate Tax Program.
Bright received a J.D. from Villanova University’s Charles Widger School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Gettysburg College, where she currently serves as executive vice chair of the board of trustees.