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Executive Director


Position Announcement:
East River Legal Services (ERLS) in Sioux Falls, SD seeks a dynamic and experienced leader with a passion for providing excellent and effective civil legal aid to low-income citizens. ERLS serves a thirty-three (33) county area in eastern South Dakota including Aberdeen, Watertown, Mitchell and Yankton. A present service priority is emergency housing cases west of the Missouri River. We provide a full array of free civil legal services, focusing on domestic relations and housing, in an effort to address critical civil legal needs related to our clients’ safety, stability, and health.  For more information please visit our website:

The Executive Director will bring leadership, passion, vision, and significant legal and administrative experience to implement innovative strategies to meet changing legal needs of our clients and to expand funding sources. The Executive Director oversees a staff of twenty-two (22) and a program budget of over $2 million. They are responsible for program operations, development, grant management, strategic planning, and administration of the program’s activities in furtherance of its mission. The Executive Director is appointed by, and reports to, the ERLS Board of Directors.

Job Duties:
• Top-level administration of ERLS and management of operations, staff and facility.
• Serves as the liaison to the ERLS Board of Directors, keeps the Board apprised of all aspects of the organization’s work, and develops the knowledge needed for effective stewardship of ERLS.
• Serves as the public face of ERLS in all media and settings, and provides leadership in local, state, and national civil legal aid forums. They will also participate in administrative and private forums, and additionally engage with the local courts, community leaders, and the private bar.
• Increases and diversifies financial support through private fundraising initiatives. Raises funds to support the work of the agency in concert with development management staff. Cultivates private donors, engages corporate sponsors, and pursues new grants.
• Envisions success for the agency, developing policies and protocols to support program services that advance the mission of the agency.
• Conducts oversight of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) grant, ensuring that all reporting requirements are met, and the agency conforms its practices and services to the regulations set forth by Congress.
• Leads and promotes collaboration with other civil legal services providers and human services organizations throughout the state and region. Thinks creatively about gaps in civil legal services and works with our talented staff to close those gaps.
• Oversees the creation and amendment of budgets as needed, with consideration of cost containment where appropriate.
• Assures fiscal integrity of the program.
• Works with the Board and the Audit and Finance Committee to conduct financial planning and to implement financial strategies.
• Mentors and builds other leaders within the organization; actively promotes supervisorial training, improved communication, and the development of skills to address personnel and resource allocation issues.
• Deploys technological innovations that enable staff to work effectively and enable the public to access legal services.
• Commands the respect of members of the bar, the judiciary, and others in positions of authority or influence in the community.


1. A demonstrable commitment to and understanding of the critical legal needs of low-income individuals.
2. A J.D. and be admitted to the South Dakota bar or the ability to obtain admission within one year.
3. A minimum of five (5) years of experience in the practice of law.
4. Five (5) years of management experience involving staff supervision, financial oversight and reporting, budget development, and compliance with grant and contract requirements.
5. Three years, or equivalent experience, with fiscal oversight of a program, law firm, company, or government entity.
6. Computer skills, including legal management systems like Legal Server.
7. Familiarity with Legal Services Corporation regulations is preferable.
8. Enthusiasm for and investment in culturally diverse environments.
9. Proven ability to work collaboratively with the community, funders, partner organizations, volunteers, Board Members, and other stakeholders.
10. Demonstrated success in resource development, including private fundraising and grant writing.
11. Prior experience working with a Board of Directors in a non-profit or legal services environment, or equivalent experience, is preferable.
12. Demonstrated commitment to public service, embracing the skills of a servant leader, modeling the attributes necessary to inspire and lead staff and management team.
13. Demonstrates impeccable character and engenders respect in the community, bringing good relationship skills to ERLS.

To Apply: 

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. To receive full consideration, however, candidates are urged to submit their applications by Monday, February 14, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. CST. Interested candidates should submit a cover letter expressing, in detail, why they are interested in the position, as well as what they believe they can contribute to the future of the program and its client community. The letter should be accompanied by a current resume and the names and contact information of three professional references.  All applicants will be required to allow access to any available state bar association information. Please address applications to

East River Legal Services is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Persons of color, veterans, persons with disabilities, and persons from other traditionally underrepresented communities are strongly encouraged to apply.


Submission Deadline: 
February 14, 2022
Organization Information: 
East River Legal Services
335 N. Main Ave., Suite 200,
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
United States
Phone: 605-336-9230