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Legal Director

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) seeks a dynamic Legal Director with exceptional experience in and strong commitment to social justice advocacy to provide strategic leadership for its programs.

The Legal Director will provide strategic leadership for our programs, overseeing their direction, fostering innovation, managing staff development, and broadening and deepening our community partnerships.

A member of NYLPI’s senior Leadership Team, the Legal Director reports directly to the Executive Director and collaborates closely with him on all matters related to the programmatic direction, effectiveness, and dynamism of the organization. He or she will lead and supervise the talented team of four Program Directors, motivating and supporting them in their program vision and their professional development. Key responsibilities include the following:

• Lead NYLPI’s innovative approach to community lawyering and comprehensive advocacy campaigns, including: o Developing and supporting new initiatives in collaboration with NYLPI’s leadership, staff, and outside partners; o With the Executive Director, approving, supporting, and overseeing all significant litigation, policy, campaign, and media efforts; o Developing creative litigation and advocacy strategies; o Developing press relations and media strategies to promote the institution and its work; o Identifying trends, systemic issues and policies that affect clients and communities and proactively finding innovative solutions; o Developing and implementing new ways of evaluating the effectiveness of our practice;
• Provide oversight and be a resource for the work of attorneys and other program staff, including: o Supervising and supporting the Program Directors of Health Justice, Disability Justice, and Environmental Justice; o Developing and implementing best practices for the interdisciplinary teams of advocates, including internal standards and policies around case management, lobbying, and knowledge management; o Overseeing development and evaluation of all program staff;
• Promote diversity and inclusion office- wide and in community partnerships, outreach, and client interactions;
• Ensure compliance with grant agreements, contracts, and other legal and ethical requirements;
• Develop and manage a diverse set of relationships, including: o Interfacing with NYLPI’s Board of Directors and serving as liaison to its Litigation and Program Committee; o Supporting the organization’s relationships with law firms and corporate legal departments through the promotion and utilization of NYLPI’s Pro Bono Clearinghouse; o Working with the Development team and Program Directors to identify and cultivate potential funders, participate in meetings with donors and program officers, and speak at donor functions and events; o Building and maintaining relationships with client communities, advocacy and community groups, the courts, government agencies, elected and other public officials, the media, and the nonprofit legal community.

The successful candidate for this position will have a deep passion for the mission of NYLPI; a demonstrated commitment to social justice and civil rights; bold and creative litigation and comprehensive advocacy campaign experience; a dedication to fostering diversity and inclusion; the ability to sustain and develop a broad set of relationships; vision and creativity in pursuing new opportunities for our communities and the organization; energy and enthusiasm; business acumen; and an ability to project authority and vision with collegiality and a collaborative style.

Capacity to lead a team of highly talented and motivated professionals who are committed to a culture of collegiality, mutual respect, and fierce advocacy is essential. 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 the following skills and experience.

• At least 8 years of relevant litigation experience, including federal and complex civil litigation.
• Management, supervisory, and/or leadership experience in a nonprofit legal program, or equivalent experience demonstrating outstanding skills in those areas.
• Experience in racial justice and/or disability rights advocacy strongly preferred.
• Experience in state and federal courts in New York preferred.
• Experience on campaigns that use multiple advocacy tools and in working productively with the private bar a plus.

• Must either be licensed to practice law in the State of New York or be eligible for admission to the New York bar at the time of hiring (must be admitted within one year of hire).
• Must be an attorney in good standing.

• Must have strong legal, leadership, management, advocacy, and communication skills.
• Must have knowledge of and a commitment to client- and community-centered services.
• Must have an ability to relate to and communicate effectively with a diverse group of clients, community partners, and staff, as well as nonprofit, government, judicial, and business communities.

Personal Attributes:
• Must have the ability to inspire and motivate staff through a vision of client- and community-centered services.
• Must have a demonstrated commitment to principles of diversity and inclusion.
• Must be an energetic, creative, and collaborative leader.

Please send a detailed cover letter, resume, writing sample and three references (including daytime telephone numbers) by May 23, 2014 to with the subject: “Attention: Legal Director Position.” Please mention in your cover letter where you saw this advertisement. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Visit us to learn more at

NYLPI offers salary commensurate with experience plus excellent benefits. NYLPI is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer. We are committed to advancing social equality and civil rights in our advocacy, and we value the dynamism and perspective that staff diversity brings to the work and culture of the office. We seek to maintain a staff that is diverse along many axes, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, and national origin; disability; socioeconomic background; and sexual orientation and gender identity. NYLPI recognizes the ongoing need to foster and support diversity at all levels of the organization.

About Organization:
For nearly 40 years, NYLPI has been a leading civil rights advocate for marginalized New Yorkers. These communities define our work; they shape our priorities, and their struggles for justice demand innovative solutions. We strive to create equal access to health care, achieve equality of opportunity and self-determination for people with disabilities, ensure immigrant opportunity, strengthen local non-profits, and secure environmental justice for low-income communities of color.

NYLPI pioneered the practice of community lawyering in the five boroughs of New York City. Our interdisciplinary teams of advocates use every tool available – community organizing, impact litigation and individual representation, policy advocacy, media, pro bono partnerships, and public education – to solve seemingly intractable problems and empower people to advocate for themselves. Our work with marginalized communities is ambitious, participatory, and strategic. Through dynamic and long-term partnerships, we develop leaders, build power, and achieve justice.

NYLPI’s full-time staff of 36 (25 in programs) includes lawyers, community organizers, legal advocates, development professionals, and administrators. The staff possesses a wide variety of skills and types of expertise and takes pride in our multi-disciplinary culture.

This position is a remarkable opportunity for an experienced, creative leader to build on NYLPI’s strengths and successes to increase our impact. In the past five years alone, our work with community partners has led to landmark victories including deinstitutionalization for people with mental illness; access to medical care and government services for those with limited English proficiency; increased physical accessibility of New York City public hospitals for people with disabilities; cleanup of toxins in public schools; and equitable distribution of environmental burdens. NYLPI advocates have represented thousands of individuals and won campaigns improving the lives of millions of New Yorkers. The Legal Director will play a critical role in partnership with staff and the Executive Director as we continue to adapt our advocacy to our communities’ ever-changing needs, growing stronger and more effective.



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