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Boston, MA 02111-1776
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Executive Director Search

MIE Offers Executive Director Search and Transition Services for the Legal Aid Community

What follows will generally describe MIE’s executive director search process.  MIE works with each legal aid organization to design a specific proposal which meets its needs and budget.

Step 1:  Describing the Position and Launching the Search

The beginning of a successful hiring process requires the Board of Directors, and other key staff and community members who may be involved, to be clear about the qualities and experiences sought in the next executive director.   To launch the search process, MIE would meet with the Board of Directors, and other relevant persons, to learn about the program and its vision for this position and the future of the organization.  The launch will provide the opportunity to:

  • Articulate core values and key strengths of the program
  • Understand key changes and challenges ahead
  • Identify the qualities and experiences needed in the next Executive Director
  • Identify top priority tasks of the next Executive Director
  • Create a profile for this position
  • Determine selection criteria
  • Develop an initial plan and timing for the search and hiring
  • Develop an advertising and outreach plan
  • Discuss the preliminary compensation range
  • Establish roles and expectations for each participant, including consultant, Search Committee, staff and Board of Directors, for various parts of the search process such as outreach, screening, reference checking, interviewing and decision-making.

This phase is a critical underpinning to a successful search process.  It will shape the profile for the position and determine the process for moving forward.  It will provide MIE with first person information about the program, and enable it to better describe the organization and its people to potential candidates.

Step 2:  The Search

This phase involves identifying and talking to potential candidates and sources of candidates.  MIE would work with a designated program administrative person to manage the logistics of Search Committee and Board meetings, place advertisements, create tracking systems and circulate relevant materials.  The following activities would occur:

  • Placing  advertisements
  • Placing profile on the legal aid program website
  • Reaching out to networks and potential candidates
  • Receiving, reviewing and screening candidate submissions
  • Tracking outreach contacts and candidates
  • Conducting preliminary interviews
  • Presenting candidates who meet established criteria to the Search Committee for determination as to whether to pursue
  • Meeting with and advising the Search Committee regarding status of search and candidates
  • Conducting in-depth screening interviews
  • Conducting reference checks
  • Preparing referral reports for candidates
  • Working with the Search Committee to schedule and finalize the interview and selection process
  • Assisting the Search Committee with its interviews of candidates
  • Working with the Search Committee as it makes recommendations to the Board of Directors, including establishing the Board interview process.
Step 3:  The Selection

This phase involves the interview and selection by the Board of Directors.  MIE recommends that staff, clients and possibly other stakeholders have the opportunity to meet with the candidate or candidates to be recommended by the Search Committee before the Board interview and selection meeting.  

Step 4:  Post-Hire

MIE would welcome the opportunity to work with the Search Committee, the Board of Directors, key staff leaders and the new executive director to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

What Legal Aid Organizations are saying about MIE's Executive Director Search

"On behalf of Appalred and the search committee, I wanted to thank you for all your help.  You made our job so much easier.  We could focus on the substance of finding a new director rather than the procedures needed to produce that substance.  Maybe we could have figured it all out on our own, but, at the least, it would have taken significantly longer.  Hiring you, and M-I-E, was the best decision Appalred made during the whole search process.  Thanks."
- Joseph Lane, Chairman of the Board, Appalred.

"As to your work for JALA & its search for a new ED, I can’t say enough about how great it was to work with you!  You provided the framework for the search; came up with the timetable; vetted the potential candidates; followed up with leads; made phone calls . . .; included staff in the process; proposed interview questions; etc.  Although JALA ended up selecting a local candidate, the national search gave the staff at JALA the confidence that the process would not be derailed by local politics.  Furthermore, your ability to outline the steps taken in the search gave the JALA Board the insight necessary to realize that the process was valid. . .  tell your Board and the other MIE members that I am a fan and would be willing to scream it from the rafters!!"
- Lois Ragsdale, Chair, Search Committee, JALA.

"I just wanted to write you to express our great appreciation for your work in helping
Gulfcoast Legal Services select its next Executive Director. At the beginning of the
process we were quite overwhelmed with the prospect of conducting a search for a
new director. Our organization had never gone through such a search, and as
volunteer directors we did not know the field well and had no personal connections to
national organizations or networks, and we certainly did not have the time to engage in
a thorough search process on our own. But we also knew that hiring a for-profit
consultant would be an expense that our local non-profit could not justify.
MIE provided precisely the solution that Gulfcoast needed. You were flexible with the
types of services that would best fit our organization, and this helped make the process
cost-effective for us. You were also thoroughly professional in the conduct of the
search and in advising of us in how to go about the process. As the person who
stepped in as president of the Board during the search, I was particularly thankful that
you were handling the process.

Most importantly, your advice on candidates was critical in us being able to interview
the top people and eventually in selecting precisely the right director for our
organization. Your efforts to get to know Gulfcoast and then to match our organization
with appropriate candidates based on your knowledge of and experience in legal aid
really paid off. It is very clear to me that we could not have found the right director
without your assistance, and that because of your work the poor and needy in the
Tampa Bay area will now have the benefit of a thriving and robust legal aid
organization.

Finally, on a personal level, I want to add that you have been a pleasure to work with
and made what would have been an almost impossible task for me both much easier
and far more successful."

- James W. Fox Jr., President, Board of Directors, Gulfcoast Legal Services