Posted on August 22, 2012
South Coastal Counties Legal Services
South Coastal Counties Legal Services - Executive Director
South Coastal Counties Legal Services, Inc. (SCCLS) seeks an energetic and skilled executive to lead a large southeastern Massachusetts nonprofit law firm in its mission to achieve equal justice for low-income and elderly residents through community-based legal advocacy by providing high quality, culturally competent legal services to the region’s low-income population.
SCCLS with its subsidiary the Justice Center is the principal provider of free civil legal assistance to low-income residents in five counties in Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod, and the Islands (Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Nantucket, and Plymouth Counties) and the towns of Avon and Stoughton in Norfolk County. With law offices in Brockton, Fall River and Hyannis, SCCLS handles over 4,800 cases annually benefitting over 9,000 clients and their families.
Today, SCCLS is one of the largest legal services organizations in Massachusetts, with an annual budget of $4 million and a strong, experienced, and unionized staff of 35 (29 staff and 6 AmeriCorp). A full-time private attorney involvement coordinator manages 180 private bar volunteers. Priority areas include: accessing and preserving secure and affordable housing; obtaining and maintaining public benefits; protecting families from the scourge of domestic violence; ensuring quality educational opportunities for at-risk youth; assisting elders with a wide range of health, financial, and end-of-life matters; and assisting consumers with debt and fraud issues.
The Justice Center also provides legal assistance in immigration matters, focusing primarily on obtaining legal status for victims of crime, and of domestic and political violence. SCCLS anticipates hiring three additional attorneys in the fall to assist with foreclosure-related work.
SCCLS receives funding from MLAC, LSC, AmeriCorp, Mass Bar Foundation/IOLTA, local Title III/Older Americans Act agencies, HUD, towns in Barnstable and Plymouth counties, United Ways of Plymouth County and Taunton, private foundations, and groups and individuals.
Since March 2012, SCCLS has been ably led by an Interim Executive Director. The previous Executive Director left SCCLS when he became a judge in Bristol County Probate and Family Court. At this juncture, the incoming Executive Director will have the opportunity to help shape the future of SCCLS as it moves forward with its newly instituted emphasis on raising the profile and visibility of the program, strengthening impact advocacy, and increasing fundraising.
The South Coastal area is rich in history, natural beauty and cultural offerings and offers easy access to Boston and Providence.
About the Position
The Executive Director serves as SCCLS’s chief executive and must bring a passion for:
- Providing culturally competent legal services to low-income people,
- Presenting SCCLS to the public and to key stakeholders,
- Raising funds to support the important work of SCCLS, and
- Serving as an inspirational leader to SCCLS’s committed staff of attorneys, paralegals and administrative personnel.
The Executive Director has overall management responsibility for strategic, programmatic, human resources, administrative, financial, fundraising and marketing operations, supported by a Management Team of five senior managers and four administrators. Key responsibilities include:
Organizational Direction/Program Leadership
- Lead and direct the overall operation of SCCLS, implementing strategic goals and program objectives in compliance with the policies established by the Board of Directors and funding sources, and developing organizational structures and functions consistent with those objectives and goals.
- Work with the Board of Directors and staff to further develop and implement SCCLS’ strategic plan; to monitor and evaluate the organization’s work and projects to assure their effectiveness; and to modify projects, policies, and procedures as needed.
- Oversee strategic and other planning processes to make SCCLS a strong effective law firm that delivers high-quality legal services to the region’s low-income population.
- Lead the integration of projects, practice groups, offices, and staff members into a cohesive, client-focused program.
- Increase the amount of impact work done by SCCLS by ensuring that practice groups take a leadership role in propelling regional systemic strategies within particular substantive areas to achieve greater results for the effort involved.
- Oversee all human resource matters including the implementation of personnel policies, employment of staff, negotiation of collective bargaining agreements with the union representing SCCLS employees, and handling of grievances.
- Directly oversee the supervision and evaluation of senior managers and administrative staff to assure that all members of South Coastal management achieve their goals in a coordinated, effective manner.
- Ensure the implementation of HR best practices with particular attention to maintaining the quality of legal services, good client relations, work efficiency, and fostering an overall atmosphere of mutual cooperation, internal communication and morale within the context of a unionized workplace.
- In alignment with strategic goals and anticipated revenue, prepare an annual operating and capital budget to submit to the Board for discussion and ratification.
- Oversee detailed compliance reporting for federal and state grants.
- Work with the Board, the Development Director, community leaders, financial institutions, and local legislators to secure the level of program funding necessary to meet current and new program needs by increasing and diversifying private and public funding, doing so collaboratively with other legal aid, human service, bar, and similar organizations when appropriate.
- Serve as the primary public spokesperson for SCCLS, representing and fostering respect for SCCLS in the community at large.
- Establish and maintain effective communication and relations with the client community, the private bar, the courts, funding sources, governmental and community organizations serving low-income persons, legislators, public officials, the media, and others interested in legal services for low-income people.
- Work with others in the state, including other legal aid programs and organizations, interested in legal services for low-income people, to create a strong statewide legal aid system; participate in local, state and national activities to increase the availability of legal services to low-income and elderly people, and assure that clients receive the highest quality legal assistance possible.
The successful candidate must present a history of leadership in the areas of legal services and nonprofit management. Recognizing that no one individual will bring all of the desired qualifications, the ideal candidate will be able to demonstrate a significant record of work that incorporates strong legal, leadership, management, fundraising, communication, and administrative skills with the ability to relate effectively to a diverse clientele and staff.
- Must have at least five years’ experience in providing culturally competent legal assistance to low-income individuals and families and at least five years’ senior-level experience in management, administrative and/or leadership positions in a nonprofit legal or human services program, or equivalent experience demonstrating outstanding skills in those areas.
- Must be an attorney in good standing, continuously licensed to practice law for at least the past five years.
Must either be licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or be eligible for admission to the Massachusetts bar at the time of hiring (must be admitted within one year of hire).
- Must have extensive knowledge and understanding of the legal problems of low-income populations and the provision of culturally competent legal services to low-income populations.
- Must have strong legal, leadership, management, fundraising, and communication skills, with the ability to relate effectively to a diverse clientele and staff.
- Must have knowledge of and a willingness to comply with the fundamental philosophy of legal services in its mandate to provide legal representation, education, and advocacy for low- income and disadvantaged members of the community.
- Must have meaningful experience in human resource management, and in organizational and financial planning.
- Must have a demonstrable ability to relate to and communicate with persons in the legal services’ client community, as well as with persons in social service, government, judicial, and business communities.
- Proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese desirable.
- Must have experience with cultivation and solicitation of individual and institutional donors.
- Must have the ability to inspire and motivate staff and Board.
- Must be comfortable managing and negotiating organizational change.
- Must have excellent listening skills.
- Must embrace the value of diversity in the workplace
Please email a letter of interest, current resume and salary requirements [in Word format] to:
southcoastalEDsearch@tdcorp.org. The deadline for resumes is September 21, 2012, although applicants are strongly encouraged to apply before the deadline since interviewing may begin before then. Applications will be acknowledged upon receipt by email.
SCCLS offers a competitive salary and benefits package.
SCCLS is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages candidates who reflect and embrace diverse communities.