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Attorney in Chief/Chief Executive Officer

Employer
The Legal Aid Society
Location
New York, United States
Salary
Salary Not specified
Closing date
Feb 15, 2022

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Position Type
Executive
Fields
Legal Services
Employment Type
Full Time
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Background

The Legal Aid Society is the nation’s preeminent legal services and defender organization, built on one simple but powerful belief: that no one should be denied their right to equal justice. Our Civil, Criminal Defense, Juvenile Rights, and Pro Bono practices work tirelessly in and out of the courtroom to defend our clients and dismantle the hidden, systemic barriers that can prevent them from thriving in New York City. We seek to be a beacon of hope for New Yorkers who feel neglected — regardless of who they are, where they come from, or how they identify. Our experienced teams provide comprehensive services, support, and advocacy that protect rights, keep families and communities together, and in many cases, saves lives. 

From our start over 140 years ago, our growth has mirrored that of the city we serve. Today, we’re proud to be the largest, most influential social justice law firm in New York City and the country. Legal Aid is more than a law firm for low-income New Yorkers. The Legal Aid Society’s unique value is our ability to go beyond any one case to create more equitable outcomes for individuals, along with broader, systemic changes for society as a whole. Legal Aid plays a critical role across New York City — passionately advocating for individuals and families across a variety of civil, criminal defense, and juvenile rights matters, while also fighting for legal reform and critical policy initiatives on behalf of low-income persons across New York State and nationally. Legal Aid is also one of the most diverse law firms in the nation. The largest part of our staff are members of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys and the 1199 Service Employees International Union.

For more information about Legal Aid, please visit www.legalaidnyc.org.

  Position

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Attorney-in-Chief/Chief Executive Officer (AIC/CEO) is the senior-most executive at The Legal Aid Society, the largest and most influential social justice law firm in New York City. The AIC/CEO is Legal Aid’s chief strategist and is responsible for innovating Legal Aid’s work to build on its record as a nationally recognized legal advocate for historically marginalized communities. The AIC/CEO will lead and empower more than 2,000 employees – lawyers, social workers, investigators, paralegals, support staff, interpreters, and administrative teams – to perform at the highest standards of practice in service of its clients throughout New York City. The AIC/CEO will also guide the organization through an exciting period of growth, exploring new and creative approaches to addressing the critical needs of the communities Legal Aid serves.

The AIC/CEO will be responsible for positioning The Legal Aid Society as New York City’s and the nation’s premier legal services provider; generating new sources of revenue for sustainable, long-term growth; aligning the organization behind its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) values; managing the talented leadership team, and for setting organization-wide strategy to strengthen Legal Aid’s work. An integral component of the AIC/CEO’s role is building relationships with union leadership to foster constructive and collaborative negotiations. 

The Legal Aid Society is in a critical moment as COVID-19 has transformed the organization’s workload and changed how it envisions its workplace. The challenges of this moment have also provided clarity of purpose and commitment to building a truly anti-racist and anti-oppressive organization. In addition to being a leading spokesperson for The Legal Aid Society, the next AIC/CEO must continue to work with government partners, private and corporate foundations, and major donors to dramatically increase funding to meet the growing needs of our client communities and to serve as a leading advocate for our clients in New York City. 

  Responsibilities

 

Executive Leadership and Management 
  • Provide strategic vision, direction, and leadership in service of Legal Aid’s mission, building a bold, innovative strategy that imagines new possibilities for ever-more effective delivery of legal services and more expansive policy advocacy 
  • Lead Legal Aid on its journey to demonstrate its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion values and strive to be an anti-racist and anti-oppressive organization for Legal Aid clients and staff 
  • Model a practice of distributive leadership that allows the leadership team to drive their department functions while working together towards a shared vision of success 
  • Advocate for resources to promote and support the expansion of high-quality legal services across all communities and practices 
  • Expand and elevate Legal Aid’s state and local advocacy work in collaboration with community partners and coalitions 
  • Improve and solidify Legal Aid’s public image as New York City’s and the nation’s premier legal advocate for historically marginalized communities 
  • Promote transparency, trust, and collaboration in decision-making
  • Build and develop trusting, productive relationships with union leadership 
  Communications 
  • Serve as a primary Legal Aid spokesperson for media, government agencies, and private funders 
  • Improve Legal Aid’s local and national profile to elevate the outstanding client representation and advocacy work of the organization 
  • Represent the work and vision of Legal Aid to partners, stakeholders, and funders 
  • Advocate for the interests of Legal Aid and its clients before City, State, and Federal officials 
  • In conjunction with the Legal Aid Board of Directors, build relationships with key stakeholders to promote and strengthen the organization’s ability to serve the people of New York City 

 

Fundraising & Development 
  • Build a plan to diversify and expand current funding streams from mainly government to include individual donors, foundations, grants, and corporate sponsors 
  • Effectively communicate the vital work of Legal Aid to decision-makers representing diversified funding streams 
  • Build relationships with external stakeholders to foster meaningful partnerships, and develop opportunities to speak to a wide and diverse audience about Legal Aid’s work 

 

Operations 
  • In partnership with the operations leadership team, set the tone for the importance of advancing internal policies, procedures, and systems that will ensure a safe, equitable, and healthy work environment 
  • In collaboration with the Chief Operating Officer, streamline operations and create uniformity and efficiency across the organization 
  • In conjunction with the Chief Human Resources Officer and members of the leadership team, place the highest priority on developing robust retention and recruitment strategies for all Legal Aid current and prospective team members with an emphasis on increasing and promoting diversity 
  • Champion the strategic use of data and technology for effective decision-making across Legal Aid and to surface and tell compelling client stories

 

Culture 
  • Build a community of extraordinary professionals and passionately advocate for their continued growth and development
  • Promote a culture of inclusion and belonging across the workplace and in its external relations work as embodied in Legal Aid’s mission and values 
  • Reinforce Legal Aid’s values and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in its recruitment, hiring, learning and development, advancement and retention of staff, and operations work, internally and in external relations 
  • Strive for Legal Aid to be an anti-racist and anti-oppressive workplace where all employees can thrive 
  • Model an understanding, sensitivity, and responsiveness to the social, economic, and cultural differences between staff and clients 
  • Develop strong relationships with Legal Aid employees across the organization and all stakeholder groups, including union and caucus members, to seek input, problem solve, inform, and ensure all voices are heard 

 

Qualifications 
  • Demonstrated commitment to fighting for racial and social equality and against institutionalized racism within organizations 
  • Experience serving as a spokesperson to a wide variety of partners and audiences on issues related to Legal Aid’s work 
  • Track record of success in managing organizational change and systemic culture shifts in consultation with internal stakeholders, including unions 
  • Demonstrated experience in building and collaborating with a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and multi-cultural community 
  • Politically astute leader who is adept at creating and maintaining external relationships and has demonstrated experience in fundraising 
  • Exceptional team building and management skills 
  • Patient and empathic with a high level of emotional intelligence and cultural competency 
  • Outstanding communicator and avid listener 
  • Ability to set clear priorities and has sound decision-making skills 
  • Excellent coalition building skills with an ability to communicate and work effectively with a variety of internal and external stakeholders 
  • A persuasive negotiator able to achieve consensus amongst differing opinions
  • A bachelor's and law degree are required 

 

This position description is based upon material provided by The Legal Aid Society, an equal opportunity employer. As an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Employer, The Legal Aid Society prohibits discriminatory employment actions against and treatment of its employees and applicants for employment based on actual or perceived race or color, size (including bone structure, body size, height, shape, and weight), religion or creed, alienage or citizenship status, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity (one’s internal deeply-held sense of one’s gender which may be the same or different from one’s sex assigned at birth; one’s gender identity may be male, female, neither or both, e.g., non-binary), gender expression (the representation of gender as expressed through, for example, one’s name, choice of pronouns, clothing, haircut, behavior, voice, or body characteristics; gender expression may not be distinctively male or female and may not conform to traditional gender-based stereotypes assigned to specific gender identities), disability, marital status, relationship and family structure (including domestic partnerships, polyamorous families and individuals, chosen family, platonic co-parents, and multigenerational families), genetic information or predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, arrest or pre-employment conviction record, credit history, unemployment status, caregiver status, salary history, or any other characteristic protected by law

 

Dara Z. Klarfeld

CEO

 

To apply to this position, please visit www.DRGsearch.com

 

 

http://drgsearch.com/current-searches/?rpid=jtJFIxbz0Rc
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