Director (Legal Action Chicago)
Legal Action Chicago, a newly formed subsidiary of Legal Aid Chicago, will work on policy initiatives, legislative advocacy, and engage in complex litigation, including class actions. The work of Legal Action Chicago will build off the work of Legal Aid Chicago and further their joint mission to bring justice to people living in poverty.
For over 50 years, Legal Aid Chicago has provided comprehensive free legal services to resolve critical legal problems that trap people in poverty. Legal Aid Chicago enforces housing rights and prevents unfair evictions from the only decent housing our clients can afford; protects survivors of sexual assault, human trafficking, and domestic violence; secures or preserves desperately needed benefits such as veterans’ benefits, social security or health benefits; assists senior citizens who have been swindled by or robbed of their livelihoods through fraudulent scams; and helps children receive the education they need to succeed.
Legal Action Chicago seeks a full-time attorney to serve as Director as the key management leader of Legal Action Chicago. The Director is responsible for overseeing the administration, programs, and strategic plan of the organization. The Director will build the team at Legal Action, shape the strategic direction of the organization, set priorities, lead the complex litigation, legislative advocacy, and policy initiatives undertaken by Legal Action staff, and work closely with leaders in Legal Aid Chicago to develop new cases and policy initiatives. Other key duties include fundraising, marketing, and community outreach. The position reports directly to the Legal Action Chicago Board of Managers.
RESPONSIBILITIES WITHOUT LIMITATION
Legal and Policy
- Lead and manage the policy and legal advocacy work of Legal Action Chicago;
- Support the development and execution of major litigation, including class actions;
- Help advocates identify recurring issues ripe for legislative advocacy or impact litigation, and draft and edit complex written work;
- Lead in other activities including publication, legislative and administrative advocacy, and media relations;
- Research and draft legislation or administrative comments;
- Monitor relevant legislative activity and provide updates to Legal Aid and Legal Action staff;
Leadership and Management
- Responsible for the hiring and retention of competent, qualified staff;
- Supervise staff within Legal Action Chicago, including their training and professional development;
- Maintain active communication and work closely with Legal Aid Chicago’s management and staff to ensure the two organizations work in harmony;
Communications and Outreach
- Serve as Legal Action Chicago’s primary spokesperson to the organization’s constituents, the media and the general public;
- Participate in messaging, media strategy, and other communications to ensure use of these tools in all aspects of advocacy;
- Establish and maintain relationships with various organizations and utilize those relationships to strategically enhance Legal Action Chicago’s Mission;
- Work with Legal Aid Chicago’s Director of Volunteer Services to create and coordinate volunteer opportunities;
- Responsible for the enhancement of Legal Action Chicago’s image by being active and visible in the community and by working closely with other professional, civic and private organizations;
Organization Mission and Strategy
- Responsible for implementation of Legal Action Chicago’s programs that carry out the organization’s mission;
- Responsible for strategic planning to ensure that Legal Action Chicago can successfully fulfill its Mission into the future;
- Responsible effective administration of Legal Action Chicago’s operations;
- Establish employment and administrative policies and procedures for all functions and for the day-to-day operation of the nonprofit;
- Review and approve contracts for services;
Fiscal Performance and Fundraising
- Work with Legal Aid Chicago’s Chief Financial Officer to create Legal Action’s budget and ensure budget is followed;
- Work with Legal Aid Chicago’s Chief External Relations Officer to develop revenues necessary to support Legal Action Chicago’s mission.
- Work with Director of Grants to ensure grant compliance and timely submission of grant reports;
- Responsible for communicating effectively with the Board of Managers and providing, in a timely and accurate manner, all information for the Board to function properly and make informed decisions;
- Oversee organization Board of Managers meetings;
- Report to and work closely with the Board of Managers to seek their involvement in policy decisions, fundraising and to increase the overall visibility of the organization.
EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS
The ideal candidate will possess:
- A law degree (required) and preferably be a member of the Illinois Bar
Extensive experience working on social justice issues via policy advocacy and/or litigation, preferably both;
With regard to litigation:
- Proven history of creative and high impact advocacy and demonstrated leadership in litigation including appellate litigation experience;
- Experience in class actions is a plus;
With regard to policy experience:
- Experience in effectively advocating for policies and legislation which impact the legal needs of low-income clients and communities;
- With regard to litigation:
- Track record of working to identify systemic issues in the court system or that impact our clients;
- Outstanding communication skills including oral advocacy, research, and writing;
- Ability to think strategically and create and implement strategic plans;
- Demonstrated ability to supervise, train, and mentor staff;
- Strong organization skills;
- Ability to use technology creatively and efficiently;
- Ability to present in a convincing and professional manner and to inspire and generate enthusiasm among donors, volunteers, staff and stakeholders;
- Experience working with people living in poverty strongly preferred.
- Send resume, cover letter, writing sample, and the names and contact information of two professional references to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Put the phrase “Director– Legal Action Chicago” in the subject line of the email. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.