The Center for Arkansas Legal Services (CALS), Little Rock, AR, Seeks an Executive Director
The Center for Arkansas Legal Services (CALS) is a private nonprofit public interest law firm founded in 1965 that provides free civil (non-criminal) legal services to low-income Arkansans. CALS is headquartered in Little Rock and serves 44 counties (geographically 60% of the state) of the 75 counties in Arkansas.
CALS’ mission is to defend the legal rights of people with low income and to work for systemic solutions to balance the scales of justice for low-income people and communities.
The next Executive Director will join CALS at a time of effective management, passionate advocacy by committed staff, and well-nurtured community relationships. Areas of challenge for the organization include serving a rural geographic area, growing the involvement of the private bar in pro bono activities to benefit low-income clients, and revitalizing private fundraising efforts.
The Executive Director will be responsible for:
• Developing and implementing CALS’ next strategic plan
• Actively engaging the Board of Directors
• Ensuring CALS’ financial health and stability by sound financial planning
• Continued innovation in advocacy including practice groups
• Expanding community outreach and intake activities
• Leading fund development activities, including an annual private bar campaign and grant-writing
• Creating a path forward for staff, clients and community as CALS reopens its offices post-pandemic
Key qualities of the successful candidate:
• An attorney, in good standing, who is admitted, or who is eligible to be admitted, to practice law in Arkansas
• A demonstrated commitment to defending the legal rights of low-income people and communities
• A leader who is organized, energetic, detail oriented, able to delegate, decisive, personable, persuasive, and interested in all aspects of the position
• A compelling speaker who is comfortable being the public face of the organization
• An excellent writer
• The ability to work with the Board of Directors to develop and implement program policies and the strategic plan.
About The Center for Arkansas Legal Services (CALS):
CALS’ mission is to defend the legal rights of people with low incomes and to work for systemic solutions to balance the scales of justice for low-income people and communities. CALS is a private nonprofit public interest law firm that provides free legal help in civil (non-criminal) matters to individuals and families experiencing poverty. CALS also works to increase the public’s knowledge of their rights and responsibilities through community legal education opportunities.
CALS has the following priorities for its organizational work, including legal advocacy, outreach, and community education:
• Improve economic stability and conditions;
• Protect families and children;
• Ensure habitable, affordable housing; and
• Advocate for the needs of marginalized populations and communities.
These are the areas in which clients are most likely to develop legal problems that they cannot address themselves. With experienced attorneys on staff, CALS works to ensure that clients do not lose their housing due to eviction or foreclosure; that they are not harassed by debt collectors or victimized by unfair business practices; that they and their families have fair custody and support arrangements in the event of separation or divorce; and that they can receive the public benefits and other forms of income support they need to maintain their financial stability.
CALS also has specialized programs to address the legal needs of veterans, seniors, survivors of domestic violence, persons who face legal barriers to re-entry due to past criminal offenses, and individuals/families experiencing the effects of opioids and substance use disorders.
CALS has a budget of $4.2 million. It receives funds from the Legal Services Corporation, the State of Arkansas, and other state and federal governmental entities.
CALS’ service area includes the counties of Arkansas, Ashley, Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Clark, Cleveland, Columbia, Conway, Crawford, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Faulkner, Franklin, Garland, Grant, Hempstead, Hot Spring, Howard, Jefferson, Johnson, Lafayette, Lincoln, Little River, Logan, Lonoke, Miller, Montgomery, Nevada, Ouachita, Perry, Pike, Polk, Pope, Prairie, Pulaski, Saline, Scott, Sebastian, Sevier, Union, White, and Yell.
The Board of Directors:
The Board has twenty-four (24) members, including practicing attorneys as well as community representatives who financially qualify to receive CALS’ assistance, from throughout the counties served.
The leadership team includes the Executive Director, Director of Advocacy & Legal Work, Director of Intake & Special Projects, Business Manager, Executive Assistant/HR Manager, and the IT Manager.
The Staff: CALS has a staff of 56 highly motivated employees who are dedicated to the principle of equal justice for all. CALS’ staff attorneys and paralegals develop legal specializations in consumer, family, housing, and public benefits law. Many of CALS’ 30 staff attorneys are recognized as experts in their field at the state level. CALS has a staff union. The Collective Bargaining Agreement expires at the end of 2022.
Read more about CALS’ work at: https://www.arkansaslegal.org
In addition, the successful candidate must be able to demonstrate substantial experience in the following areas:
• Legal work supervision and management
• Establishment and maintenance of effective relations with the courts, the private bar and bar associations, community organizations, the client community, and government representatives
• Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion activities
• An affinity for and experience in resource and funding development
• Experience in nonprofit budgeting, compliance, finance, and fiscal controls
• The use of technology to increase program efficiency and services to clients
Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. To receive full consideration, candidates are urged to submit their applications by June 2, 2022. 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. Application materials should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CALS is assisted in the search by Dennis Groenenboom, Consultant, Management Information Exchange, 105 Chauncy St., Fl 6, Ste 3, Boston, MA 02111, 508-737-4010. Candidates with questions about the position or process are encouraged to contact him at email@example.com.
CALS intends to make a decision in July 2022, and to have the successful candidate join the organization soon thereafter in order to facilitate a smooth transition.
Salary depends on experience based on a competitive public-interest salary scale. Benefits include comprehensive health insurance and retirement plans. CALS is an equal opportunity employer, including supporting individuals with disabilities and veterans.