The Legal Aid Society (LAS) is the oldest and largest not-for-profit legal services organization in the country. Since 1876, LAS has been dedicated to one powerful belief: no person should be denied access to justice because of poverty. Through its three practice areas—Civil, Criminal Defense and Juvenile Rights—and with 2000 full-time employees and a budget of $260 million, each year LAS works on more than 250,000 cases and legal matters for the most vulnerable individuals and families in New York City.
The LAS Civil Practice, with 22 specialized units and programs, helps its clients secure the basic necessities of life: housing, food, health care, personal safety, security, and subsistence income. The Criminal Defense Practice is the largest public defender program in the country and serves as the primary provider of indigent criminal defense services in New York City. The Juvenile Rights Practice represents about 90% of the children who appear before the Family Court in New York City in child protective and delinquency cases.
The LAS Criminal Defense and Juvenile Rights Practices are funded largely by government. While the Civil Practice receives government support in certain areas, every year LAS must obtain a substantial amount of private support for the Civil Practice, as well as for other LAS programs not fully funded by government.
LAS leverages its resources by conducting a model Pro Bono program, enlisting the support of more than 3000 volunteers annually. It also has a Law Reform Practice which seeks to improve the law through class action litigation and legislative and administrative advocacy, and produces far reaching results that benefit thousands.
ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY:
The CEO and Attorney-In-Chief will be the leader of LAS, both internally and externally. He/she will also be responsible for overseeing and managing the operations and finances of LAS.
The CEO and Attorney-In-Chief is expected to be a visionary leader, inspiring, motivating and working with a dedicated union and nonunion staff, and building a culture of teamwork, diversity and inclusion. Working with four direct reports—the Attorneys-In-Charge of the Civil, Criminal Defense and Juvenile Rights Practices and the Director of Pro Bono—he/she will oversee the delivery of high quality legal services to New Yorkers who need them, as well as the LAS law reform initiatives. Working with other direct reports—principally the Chief Operating Officer—he/she will be responsible for the overall management of LAS, including its finances and human resources and other administrative functions.
The CEO and Attorney-In-Chief will be a leader in the world of indigent legal services and social justice. He/she will serve as The Legal Aid Society’s chief spokesperson to the media and the public, working to enhance LAS’s visibility and standing within the New York legal community and wider public. He/she will be charged with the vital job of enhancing and building relationships with existing and potential public and private funders. He/she will partner with a variety of stakeholders, including appointed and elected public officials, the judiciary, government agencies, the legal community, and a dedicated Board of Directors, in order to strengthen LAS’s financial base and increase its impact.
Working with the Chief Operating Officer and the General Counsel, who reviews all contracts/leases of the Society and handles all claims against it and other legal matters, the CEO and Attorney-in-Chief will develop the LAS annual operating budgets, conduct all union negotiations, determine the compensation of nonunion staff, and establish all personnel and other institutional policies. Working with the Directors of Communications and Development and others, he/she will direct completion of two projects already underway: (i) a redesign of the LAS website and (ii) a program designed to increase LAS's visibility, impact and donor base. Additionally, working with the Director of Diversity and Inclusion, the CEO and Attorney-in-Chief will oversee completion and implementation of a diversity and inclusion plan for LAS.
The Legal Aid Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer – all qualified applicants are encouraged to apply, including Women, People of Color, Gays and Lesbians, Transgender People, Veterans and people with disabilities.
The successful candidate will be a highly credible and accomplished lawyer, leader and manager, committed to the mission and future of The Legal Aid Society and energized by its contribution to New York City and national legal reform. He/she will motivate, collaborate with, and earn the respect of a talented and dedicated staff and Board; government, judicial and public officials; clients; and other key partners.
Key Professional Experiences Include:
The ability to lead and manage an organization of the scope and complexity of LAS;
Familiarity with New York’s political, legal and social environment;
Ability to work effectively with a unionized work force, government agencies and to negotiate/manage government contracts;
Ability to collaborate with City and State public officials, members of the judiciary and government agencies;
Significant understanding of providing legal and other services to marginalized people and vulnerable populations;
Ability to develop and maintain strong board relations and governance skills;
Strong business and fiscal acumen; capable of handling significant budget planning and able to negotiate and manage government contracts and other revenue streams; and
Experience and familiarity with New York criminal, civil and juvenile legal systems preferred, including court operations, pertinent statutes and regulations, and agencies (public and non-profit).
Key Personal Attributes Include:
Passionate, with demonstrated commitment to social justice issues and the mission, purpose and future of The Legal Aid Society;
An influential and persuasive communicator with excellent external relations and advocacy skills, with the ability to serve as a spokesperson and connect with multiple stakeholders and the media;
Decisive, results-oriented leader with a highly collaborative and inclusive approach to management;
Inspiring, with the executive presence and sophistication to represent and lead the organization;
Open and comfortable working with diverse socio-economic and multi-cultural communities;
The highest standards of ethics, integrity, respect and humility.
EDUCATION: A Bachelor’s degree and Juris Doctor are required.
Additional Salary Information: Salary and benefit package is competitive and commensurate with experience.
About The Legal Aid Society
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