Senior Program Associate, VISTA/AmeriCorps

  • 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

National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA) is seeking a full-time, Senior Program Associate, VISTA/Americorps and Defender Legal Services to implement NLADA’s overall vision and mission and support the advancement of legal services and client communities. 

In 2017, the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) partnered with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to create an innovative pilot program that trains AmeriCorps VISTA members in best practices in Community-Oriented Defense and places them in public defense agencies in order to put these principles into practice and establish systems for ongoing sustainability.

This AmeriCorps VISTA project allows NLADA, for the first time ever, to provide boots on the ground to in-need public defense offices in order to help offices modernize their approach to evidence-based practices, data management, and community partnerships.  Over the course of their 12-month term of service, AmeriCorps VISTA members perform activities such as building community partnerships within their host communities and developing data systems and analysis methods to drive evidence-based practices by their host organizations. 

The Senior Program Associate for NLADA’s VISTA/AmeriCorps reports to the VISTA Program Director and is responsible for a wide range of activities designed to support NLADA’s AmeriCorps initiative. The position is critical to the implementation of the mission and vision of NLADA, and the support and advancement of NLADA’s public defender, civil legal aid and community advocate members. NLADA strongly encourages people with direct experience with the criminal legal system to apply.

Integrated program team functions 

  • VISTA/AmeriCorps Senior Program Associate      Effectively utilize leadership, analytical and strategic abilities to ensure the success of the VISTA program, including positioning for sustainability and scaling. 
    • Maintain a working knowledge of needs in the public defender and civil legal aid communities to inform decision making related to host site selections and new initiatives within the VISTA program
    • Ensure that the VISTA program remains compliant by maintaining proficiencies with grant regulations and in partnership with the Program Director.  Engage in grants management by completing the timely submission of all progress reports, applications, compliance documents and other submissions as required by AmeriCorps in conjunction with the Program Director.
    • Contribute to VISTA member recruitment content for messaging that effectively communicates the program design and skill sets needed.  Liaison with NLADA’s Communications Team to ensure key dates for messaging recruitment are met.  
    • Develop first drafts of onboarding orientation and training materials for site supervisors and incoming VISTA members.
    • Develop first drafts of grant applications for the VISTA/AmeriCorps program, including budgets that align with CNCS policies. 
    • Co-manage internal VISTAs with the Program Director and ensure the development of work activity timelines and milestones for progress and performance evaluation.  Ensure compliance with AmeriCorps policy.
    • Assist with recruitment of host site applications that represent geographical diversity, program size and diversity in needs.
    • Assist on-site VISTA supervisors to ensure compliance with NLADA directives, effective VISTA project progress and a meaningful year of service for VISTA members.
    • Plan and execute VISTA trainings as required by AmeriCorps
    • Conduct site visits (virtual and in-person) to ensure effective program progress.
    • Develop written reports of all site visits to include details of site projects, progress notes, challenges, and opportunities for program enhancement.
    • Provide first drafts of reports and/or story narratives for NLADA communication vehicles, both internal and external.
  • Other program initiatives and NLADA functions
    • Engage in work activities and deliverables for all existing and future program grants as assigned.  Work activities will include collaborative development of grant and budget proposals.   Responsibilities may also include the development of web and in-person trainings, research and writing for funder, stakeholder, member, and other external audiences.  
    • Utilize analytical, strategic thinking, and problem-solving skills to improve program effectiveness and organizational outcomes.
    • Attend regular internal program update meetings and provide reports as requested.
    • Attend other internal and external meetings as assigned.
    • Perform other duties as assigned.


  • Bachelor’s degree or demonstrated equivalent work experience. 
  • Direct AmeriCorps experience desired. 
  • At least two years of experience in nonprofit or government environments required.  
  • Familiarity with government and nonprofit data sources desired. 
  • Experience collecting, analyzing, and organizing data, and producing written analysis required. 
  • Knowledge of issues in access to justice and the delivery of civil legal aid and/or public defense. 
  • Understanding of and commitment to NLADA mission and goals.  
  • Knowledge of survey and research design methods. 
  • Experience working in a team of diverse people and stakeholders. 
  • Strong research skills, using both web-based and published materials. 
  • Strong qualitative and analytic skills and problem-solving skills. 
  • Strong interest and understanding of technology platforms as utilized in the legal arena. 
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills. 
  • Excellent interpersonal and customer service skills. 
  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail. 
  • Excellent project management skills, including ability to prioritize projects, manage multiple deadlines and tasks.  
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office suite (including SharePoint). 
  • Working knowledge of, or ability to independently learn, technology platforms (Wordpress, DocuSign, and Zoom, Adobe Suite, including InDesign and Illustrator).  
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team. 
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced and at times stressful environment. 

Additional Information

Work Schedule

  • Remote eligible role; must be available between 9 am – 5:30 pm ET work schedule via Zoom, Teams, and other similar platforms. 
  • Travel is required a minimum of four times per year to NLADA office in Washington D.C. 

How We Support Staff

  • Communications reimbursement
  • Free individual Medical, Dental, and Vision Insurance for employees, 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 is closed the week between December 24th and January 1st

Salary Information

The salary range for this position is $65,000 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.