New Mexico Legal Aid (NMLA) seeks an Executive Director to lead New Mexico’s largest civil legal services provider. NMLA fights to secure justice for the low income populations, including Native American and migrant populations, throughout the state.
NMLA’s mission is to be the voice, defender and advocate for low income people seeking justice in all forums, particularly in the communities in which they live. NMLA is committed to helping low income people in their struggle to access food, shelter, security and to preserve their unique cultural heritages.
NMLA is one of New Mexico’s largest law firms and has 11 offices across the state. Through community outreach, videoconferencing and a centralized telephone and online intake system, NMLA strives to serve clients regardless of their distance to a physical office. NMLA has an operating budget of $7.5 million.
About New Mexico Legal Aid:
In a state where almost half a million or 25% of its residents live below the poverty line, New Mexico Legal Aid strives to maintain a high level of service to promote family safety and economic security for its clients. For every 14,000 poor persons, there is one legal aid attorney at NMLA. Its work is dedicated to individuals and families who lack adequate resources for basic human needs with the goal of securing safe housing, food, income, and personal safety.
NMLA’s 2018 priorities include: 1) family law, especially cases involving domestic violence; 2) access to affordable housing; 3) access to and retention of public benefits; and 4) access to quality health care. NMLA also assists clients who have employment and consumer problems, and civil rights issues. In addition, NMLA gives special focus to land, acequia and water rights issues; federal and tribal legal issues affecting Native Americans, including jurisdictional disputes, and civil and criminal cases occurring in tribal court; cases involving migrant farmworker rights, including safe working conditions, wage theft and human trafficking; and tax disputes in a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.
New Mexico Legal Aid has 11 office locations serving all counties in New Mexico. NMLA connects its offices and individual staff computers with teleconferencing and video capabilities. Its statewide computer network provides for secure file sharing and remote access. It has received several Legal Services Corporation Technology Initiative Grants that have supported its online 24/7 intake portal.
During the past four years, NMLA has closed 14,250 cases statewide. Approximately 54% of all NMLA cases during the past four years originated in the State’s urban areas in Bernalillo, Sandoval and Santa Fe Counties in the north central part of the State and in Dona Ana County in the south. The remaining 46% of cases came from rural and tribal communities throughout the State.
In addition to case services, NMLA’s community outreach and online information provide potential clients, their families, and local community leaders information as to NMLA’s services. Its main web site – www.newmexicolegalaid.org – logs 6,000 visits a month.
NMLA’s budget of $7.5 million comes from grants and contracts from federal, state, and private sources. Its largest sources of funding are the federal Legal Services Corporation (approximately 48%) and State Government Civil Legal Services and other state contracts (approximately 36%). NMLA has 68 staff, including 42 attorneys.
High Priority Roles and Responsibilities for the next Executive Director:
- Lead NMLA in strategizing how best to provide legal services to diverse and low income populations throughout New Mexico
- Serve as the public face of NMLA in communities statewide
- Articulate an expansive view of what legal aid can be for all economically disadvantaged people, including Native American and migrant communities, low wage workers, low income tenants, and the LGBTQ community
- Provide leadership and foster collaboration and initiative among the highly effective, motivated and dedicated NMLA staff
- Enhance NMLA’s strong partnerships with other legal aid, advocacy, community, and government organizations throughout New Mexico, including the State Legislature
- Steward NMLA’s stable financial situation, grow its reserves, and expand its governmental and private resource development
- Expand the use of technology to enhance communication and the effective delivery of legal services
- Nurture the values of NMLA as set forth in its strategic plan, including a holistic view of client services, ease of access for new clients, prioritization of strategies that treat the cause of legal problems, and a focus on issues that need systemic advocacy
- Foster diversity throughout NMLA including Staff and Board, and a culture that promotes mutual respect, equity, inclusion, and teamwork for clients, Board and Staff
Desired Qualifications of the Next Executive Director:
- Passionate commitment to advancing the legal rights of low income persons, including Native Americans and migrants, and to the mission of NMLA
- Successful leadership in a multi-million dollar organization, preferably a legal aid program, with a diverse team of administrative, legal, and support personnel, in a multi-office nonprofit organization
- Knowledge of financial matters including development of budgets, compliance with grant and contract requirements, and financial reporting and oversight
- Successful experience in resource development, and a desire to develop and expand the resources of NMLA
- Demonstrated experience working with organizations and individuals with diverse perspectives, including Staff, Board, the public, elected and appointed officials, and clients
- Knowledge of and experience with legislative and administrative processes
- Knowledge of the Legal Services Corporation and state regulatory systems that apply to NMLA
- Outstanding oral and written communication skills, including the ability to motivate and inspire staff and funders
- Experience working with an engaged Board of Directors in the successful performance of its duties
- Experience working collegially in a Union environment
- Demonstrated knowledge of the laws and issues affecting low income people
- Personal attributes including the ability to engender confidence and trust, honesty, a strong work ethic, a sense of humor, collaborative spirit, and an openness to diverse voices
- Ability to think creatively and encourage innovation
- Willingness to travel throughout New Mexico
- Possession of a JD preferred, with an ability to become licensed in New Mexico, or an advanced degree in an area relevant to NMLA’s mission
Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. In order to receive full consideration, candidates are urged to submit their materials by February 8, 2019. Please include a letter expressing in detail your interest in the position, your qualifications, and what you hope to contribute to the organization’s future; a current resume; and the names and contact information for three professional references.
Materials should be submitted electronically to email@example.com in Microsoft Word or pdf format.
NMLA is being assisted in the search by Patricia Pap, Executive Director, Management Information Exchange, 508-737-4010, firstname.lastname@example.org. Candidates with questions about the position or process are encouraged to contact her.
NMLA offers a competitive salary and benefits package. NMLA is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes all interested candidates to apply.