New Mexico Legal Aid (NMLA) Seeks Executive Director
NMLA seeks an Executive Director to lead this nationally recognized, statewide civil legal aid organization as we begin a new chapter. NMLA has a staff of 107 (including 61 attorneys) eleven offices and an annual budget of approximately $12 million. This is an exciting opportunity for an attorney leader with vision and creativity to build on the solid base that exists within NMLA.
Why New Mexico Legal Aid?
New Mexico Legal Aid works to secure justice for low-income populations throughout the state, including Native American and migrant populations. NMLA’s mission is to be the voice, defender and advocate for low-income people seeking justice in all civil 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.
- Nearly 25% of the state’s residents (approximately 500,000 people) are eligible for services.
- Over the past four years, NMLA has closed 18,600 cases statewide. Approximately 68% of all NMLA cases during the past four years originated in the State’s urban areas. The remaining 32% of cases came from rural and tribal communities throughout the State.
- NMLA’s 2022 priorities include: 1) family law, especially cases involving domestic violence; 2) access to affordable housing; 3) access to and retention of public benefits; (4) access to quality health care; (5) employment and consumer problems; and (6) civil rights issues. In addition, NMLA gives special focus to land, acequia and water rights issues; federal and tribal legal issues affecting Native Americans; cases involving migrant farmworker rights; and low-income tax issues.
- Through community outreach, videoconferencing and a centralized telephone and online intake system, NMLA strives to serve clients regardless of their distance from physical offices.NMLA provides community outreach and online information to potential clients, their families and local community leaders in person and through the program’s website: www.newmexicolegaiaid.org The site is currently being redesigned.
- The Leadership Team supporting the Director includes the Litigation Director, Chief Financial Officer, Communications Director, Grants Administration Director and Statewide Intake, Referral and Advice Unit Manager.
- The position offers the opportunity to do Justice work in an inviting and beautiful place with a committed and dedicated staff.
Why New Mexico?
• Lots of blue, clear skies and sun throughout the four seasons each year;
• Clean air and water with ecological values embodied in public policy;
• Wide-open spaces to explore, including great historical monuments and national parks;
• Progressive, people-centered politics;
• Responsive Judiciary;
• Protection of a woman’s right to choose;
• Intellectual and cultural opportunities to explore and be inspired by, while living in and being exposed to a multi-cultural society; and
• Spaces and time for quiet reflection on life and one’s life goals.
High Priority Roles and Responsibilities for the next Executive Director:
• Be a passionate and articulate voice for 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 by providing access to justice to eligible clients;
• Ensure the organization’s financial health and stability by developing and maintaining sound financial planning and management systems, including preparation of budgets and oversight of financial systems and controls;
• Develop trust and enhance program morale (Staff and Board) through personal contact with staff at all levels, and transparency in providing regular communication on issues of importance to Staff, Board and Clients;
• Lead NMLA in developing a new strategic plan that will shape administrative systems and define job responsibilities to best support NMLA’s growth, address the changing nature of the work environment, articulate the desired balance of systemic impact work and high-quality individual client assistance and enhance organizational unity post-COVID;
• Foster diversity, equity and inclusion throughout NMLA including Staff and Board, and a culture that promotes mutual respect, equity, inclusion, and teamwork for Clients, Board and Staff.
• Ensure the long-term sustainability of NMLA through on-going careful cultivation of legislative support for NMLA funding, pursuit of new state and federal grants, and development of additional financial resources needed to sustain and grow NMLA;
• Serve as an effective ambassador for NMLA, by nurturing collaborative relationships with funders, legislators and executive branch officials, private bar and judicial leaders, private donors, and business and civic organizations throughout the state;
• Maintain and grow an effective communications program designed to continually enhance NMLA’s profile with client communities, the legal community and the public at large;
• Provide leadership and nurture the values of NMLA, including a holistic view of client services, ease of access for new clients, prioritization of strategies that treat the cause of legal problems, and focus on issues that need systemic advocacy.
Desired Qualification of the Successful Executive Director Candidate:
• Be a licensed attorney in good standing, with significant legal experience, eligible for admission to the New Mexico Bar in a reasonable period of time;
• Demonstrate knowledge of the laws and issues affecting low-income people and a passion for social, economic and racial justice;
• Possess demonstrated and exceptional leadership and administrative skills and have substantial experience in the following areas:
o The practice of law, public interest preferred;
o Managing and supervising in a successful legal services organization, law firm, corporate law department, branch of a court system, relevant government agency or nonprofit;
o Working collegially and effectively with a unionized workforce; and
o Experience working with an engaged Board of Directors in the successful performance of its duties;
• Have grant writing and/or fundraising experience;
• Have knowledge of the Legal Services Corporation and state regulatory systems that apply to NMLA;
• Understand financial matters, including development of budgets, compliance with grant and contract requirements, and financial oversight;
• Be skilled at managing scarce resources and allocating resources appropriately;
• Have the ability to think strategically and creatively;
• Support the role of technology in client services and organizational efficiency;
• Exhibit excellent communication skills and the ability to inspire the trust and confidence of the Staff, Board members, Client communities, and other stakeholders and allies, including the will and ability to engage in difficult conversations as circumstances may dictate;
• Champion diversity, equity and inclusion, and be culturally informed and sensitive;
• Have experience in building a team environment, encouraging professional development of staff, and supporting staff in the program’s work;
• Experience working with organizations and individuals with diverse perspectives, including Staff, Board, the public, elected and appointed officials, and Clients;
• Possess personal attributes including professionalism, integrity, the ability to engender confidence and trust, honesty, a strong work ethic, a sense of humor, empathy, courage, a collaborative spirit, and an openness to diverse voices equal to the challenges of this demanding position;
• Bilingual abilities, especially Spanish, is a plus; and
• Be willing to relocate to the Albuquerque Metro area and to travel periodically throughout New Mexico.
NMLA is assisted in its search for a new Executive Director by:
Dennis Groenenboom, Consultant
Management Information Exchange
105 Chauncy St., Fl 6, Ste 3
Boston, MA 02111
Materials should be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org in Microsoft Word or PDF format. Candidates with questions about the position or process are encouraged to contact Dennis at the email address above or at 515-537-4242.
Screening of applicants begins immediately and will continue until the time of selection. To receive full consideration, you are encouraged to submit your application materials by December 5, 2022. Please submit a letter expressing your interest in the position, your qualifications for the job, bar status, and what you hope to contribute to the organization’s future. Please include a resume/CV and the names and contact information for three professional references.
Salary depends on experience based on a competitive public interest salary scale. Benefits include a generous leave policy, excellent family health insurance, life & disability insurance, a 403(b) plan and the camaraderie of a team of committed advocates for social, racial, and economic justice.
NMLA is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
For further information about New Mexico Legal Aid visit: www.newmexicolegalaid.org