Chief, Civil Legal Services

  • Full-time

Company Description

NLADA is America’s oldest and largest nonprofit association devoted to excellence in the delivery of legal services to those who cannot afford counsel. We provide advocacy, guidance, information, training, and technical assistance for members of the equal justice community, especially those working in public defense and civil legal aid. For more than a century, we have connected and supported people across the country committed to justice. 

Because the quality of justice in America should not depend on how much money a person has, NLADA leads a broad network of advocates on the frontlines to advance justice and expand opportunity for all by promoting excellence in the delivery of legal services for people who cannot afford counsel.

Over the last 6 months, we have welcomed new leadership and launched our Racial Equity Initiative. Our membership includes people who have been clients of public or civil defender services, and our overall membership drives our mission and strategic priorities. We are embarking on an organizational transformation and modernization, to include internal efforts at dismantling white supremacy culture. We are growing and evolving and seek others with a strong desire to join in the journey.

Job Description

Are you an attorney who is deeply passionate civil legal aid and the clients they serve? 

National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) is seeking a full-time, Chief, Civil Legal Services (CLS) to implement NLADA’s overall vision and mission regarding the delivery of civil legal services to client communities. The pay range for this position is $100,000-$110,000.

The CLS Chief leads NLADA’s work with civil legal aid, overseeing the team’s resource and program development and management and leading the coordination and integration of the team’s activities with others in the Association. We are looking for a dynamic CLS Chief who can lead the strategic thinking and planning of the CLS team of four staff, as well as work collaboratively within the Association and in the national and local civil legal aid and community advocate communities. The new CLS Chief will be an integral part of NLADA’s Leadership Team and is critical to the implementation of the mission and vision of NLADA, and the support and advancement of the national civil legal aid and community advocate communities.

What you get to do:

  • Assume responsibility for the coordination of NLADA’s program and service delivery in support of civil members
  • Lead the civil legal services team and civil members to advance NLADA’s institutional goals and strategic objectives in support of civil legal services delivery
  • Ensure that staff efforts are properly communicated, coordinated, evaluated, and embrace a team focus and direction
  • Lead staff support for the Civil Council and its committees
  • Oversee staff support for NLADA’s civil sections
  • Develop, monitor, and manage budgets for the division: operating, grants, technical assistance, training, and leadership budgets
  • Provide substantive leadership regarding resource development for and implementation of innovative programs for NLADA’s civil activities
  • Serve as NLADA’s main point of contact with and representative to NLADA’s civil membership
  • Serve as liaison between NLADA’s civil community and national partners on civil justice issues and access to justice, including the Legal Services Corporation, American Bar Association, and others
  • Serve as a representative of the national civil legal aid community with federal agencies and other policy makers and influencers
  • Oversee the substantive programming for the civil justice community through NLADA’s training events, including the ABA/NLADA Equal Justice Conference, NLADA Annual Conference, and NLADA Litigation and Advocacy Leaders Conference
  • Convene and lead conversations in the civil legal aid community to both give and receive feedback on how changes in law, technology, politics, and other aspects of society might impact the delivery and provision of legal services
  • Work closely with the Vice President for Civil Legal Services & Strategic Policy Initiatives to ensure the effective development of the government relations and policy agenda in coordination with the civil legal services community, and successful integration of NLADA’s policy agenda into the civil legal services agenda
  • Work with NLADA staff to coordinate member legal services activities across NLADA’s teams
  • Work with NLADA staff to support NLADA’s leadership development and training initiatives
  • Assist in identifying new members for the Association
  • Solicit input from the Department Directors in developing new initiatives which support and enhance the mission of NLADA; and
  • Maintain a culture of a learning organization.

Financial Leadership

  • Maintain full knowledge of civil program budgets and program projections
  • Coordinate our annual budget planning and development with Project Leads
  • Initiates grant opportunities with outside funding sources
  • Lead the Civil Legal Services Team in proposal development and solicitation of new funding sources
  • Work with NLADA’s Justice Expansion Team to help identify strategies for long-term funding and follows through with potential funders

Strategic Partnerships

Within Association

  • Work across programmatic lines to develop proposals and promote issues and programs
  • Maintain regular contact with Board and committee members within the civil membership
  • Maintain contact with staff in relation to specific projects and responsibilities; and
  • Ensure the Civil Legal Services Team maintains a commitment to the high-performing learning organization philosophy that has been adapted by the organization.

Outside Association 

  • Develop and cultivate contacts with executives from the NLADA membership, particularly civil members, and the client community; representatives from federal agencies; foundation and corporate personnel; law firm representatives; contributors; grantors; local, state, and national elected officials.
  • Develop collaborations with representatives of allied organizations in relation to specific projects and responsibilities (e.g., American Bar Association, Legal Services Corporation, and Management Information Exchange, as well as NLADA Service Corporation)
  • Work with consultants, if necessary, on special projects
  • Seek funding opportunities for NLADA; and
  • Maintain strategic and effective communications that represent the highest standard of NLADA’s vision of racial equity and equal justice.


Who You Are

  • An attorney admitted to practice before the highest court of a state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
  • Ten years of overall experience in the provision of civil legal assistance
  • Five years of experience managing a civil legal services program or substantial unit within a civil legal services program
  • Ten years of experience supervising and managing a staff
  • Ten years of progressively responsible budgetary and administrative experience
  • Knowledge of issues and laws surrounding the delivery of civil legal aid
  • Knowledge of the most pressing civil legal needs of low-income communities and experience in developing strategic advocacy strategies to address them
  • Knowledge of legislative and judicial processes at both the state and federal level
  • Knowledge of NLADA’s image in the community
  • Knowledge of NLADA mission and goals, with a proven record of operationalizing the mission and vision in own work
  • Skills in leadership, management, administration, personnel management, budget development, office administration, planning, and decision-making capabilities
  • Skills that demonstrate outstanding oral and written communication  
  • Ability to make NLADA’s image consistent, positive, and prominent
  • Ability to work well and interact with all levels of personnel 
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Outlook, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • Ability to work with confidential information and maintain confidentiality; and
  • Ability to manage multiple, simultaneous assignments, set priorities, and work independently.

Additional Information

How We Support Staff

  • Hybrid work environment (offices available in downtown DC, remote work options)
  • Communications reimbursement
  • Free individual Medical, Dental, and Vision Insurance, reduced rates for whomever you call family, and a health care Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
  • Free life insurance policy and Short-Term and Long-term disability benefits
  • Wellness support, to include paid sick leave, Family Medical Leave Act, and Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • 403(b) Retirement Plan
  • Paid time off, to include recognition of all federal holidays, a paid day off on months without a federal holiday, and being closed the week between December 24th and January 1st

Salary Information

The salary range for this position is $100,000 - $120,000 annually

Additional Information

NLADA is committed to a policy of equal employment opportunity for all persons without regard to race, creed, sex, color, religion, age, national origin, sexual orientation, political affiliation, disability, pregnancy, personal appearance, marital or family status, or any other status protected by District of Columbia and Federal laws. This policy governs all aspects of employment, including selection, job assignment, compensation, discipline, termination, and access to benefits and training.