The Law Foundation of Silicon Valley (Law Foundation) seeks a strategic, adaptable, inclusive, and co-creative Chief Program Officer (CPO) to advance the Law Foundation’s innovative legal services work and systems change advocacy during a transformative phase of the Law Foundation’s evolution. The next CPO will build upon decades of exceptional progress toward the Law Foundation’s urgently relevant mission to achieve social justice in Santa Clara County through vigorous legal advocacy. With still more work to do to reach this ambition, the CPO will join a growing executive team and help shape the future of the organization, engaging in strategic planning and decision-making around resources, advocating for programmatic needs, and elevating alignment and impact through and across teams. The CPO will lead, integrate, and strengthen the Law Foundation’s legal, programming, and systems change work across its program areas of Children & Youth, Health, Housing, Pro Bono, Impact Litigation, and Policy Advocacy.
The Law Foundation uses innovative legal advocacy as a tool for social change. Its team of attorneys, social workers, and advocates works tirelessly to ensure that every person in Santa Clara County is granted the same rights and legal access. The Law Foundation’s mission is to advance the rights of historically marginalized individuals, families, and communities in Santa Clara County’s diverse community through legal services, strategic advocacy, and educational outreach. The Law Foundation has a long history of working to increase access to justice for low-income families and communities of color, having represented tens of thousands of individuals in its nearly 50 years of existence. At the same time, the Law Foundation has long advocated for solutions to broken systems that result in the application of racist policies in housing, health, education, criminal justice, and more
In partnership with CEO Alison Brunner, the CPO will be chiefly responsible for directing the legal work at the Law Foundation, including managing the program areas, direct services, and systemic change work like policy advocacy, local systems reform, and impact litigation. This includes management, devising operational, legal, and program strategies, planning, budgeting, training and professional development, and supervision for a team of four, eventually growing to seven, direct reports. The CPO will oversee the identification and implementation of processes that support collaboration and knowledge-sharing across programs. They will support and enhance network-building activities that include the Law Foundation staff, alumni, client communities, funders, and institutional partners. In partnership with the Director of Impact & Evaluation, the CPO is also responsible for establishing and monitoring impact and performance measures, leading strategy, and serving as a key spokesperson and representative of the Law Foundation in the community, which includes conveying the overall strategic framework and the work of all the Law Foundation teams.
In addition, the CPO will bring a nuanced understanding of how to: integrate client-focused and community lawyering approaches across program areas and services with attention and dedication to mission through an anti-racism and social justice lens; vet strategic and operational ideas in a way that engages and empowers staff, clients, and community, and allows for clear and decisive action; establish and consistently communicate organizational priorities; serve as an innovative problem solver who enjoys leading change; act as a strategic thought partner with the CEO, board, and Directing Attorneys; and design ways to collect, analyze, and translate data that strengthens the Law Foundation’s learning and capacity to call partners to action to affect change.
The successful candidate will have a minimum of 10 years of relevant work experience to include a minimum of three in a complex senior management and leadership role with direct supervision and extensive people and project management experience. A bachelor’s degree and a JD are required.
A strategic thinker, the CPO must possess the ability to work beyond the level of an individual contributor, demonstrating excellent leadership and executive skills to facilitate the efforts of others within an organization, as well as to productively oversee, manage, coordinate, and lead them in producing meaningful results. The CPO will possess a collaborative and collegial style, strong work ethic, and enthusiasm for the mission and goals of the Law Foundation. Holding an anti-racist and social justice lens, the CPO will bring demonstrated sensitivity to and respect for a range of lived experiences and an aptitude for bringing clarity and driving action while navigating complexity and nuance. In accordance with its core values and mission, the Law Foundation is especially interested in recruiting members of diverse communities and individuals with a commitment to anti-racism.
Law Foundation of Silicon Valley
The Law Foundation of Silicon Valley advances the rights of historically excluded individuals and families across Santa Clara County through legal services, strategic advocacy, and educational outreach. Now with more than 90 employees, the Law Foundation is the largest provider of free legal services in the South Bay. The team at the Law Foundation is dedicated to transforming individual lives and creating systemic change for the people in the community facing life-changing legal issues. The Law Foundation is working toward a Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)-centered legal services practice that incorporates community and movement lawyering.
Established in 1974, today the team of attorneys, social workers, and advocates, together with pro bono volunteers, find stable homes for abused and neglected children, help people living with chronic illnesses access the benefits they need to remain healthy and self-sufficient, provide low-income people access to safe and affordable housing and address a number of other critical issues including domestic violence, discrimination, human trafficking, mental health, and more.
The Law Foundation is dedicated to diversity and inclusion at all organizational levels and throughout all programs, as well as with the audiences it seeks to reach and client communities it seeks to serve. In this way, the Law Foundation seeks to better serve its clients and its rich and diverse community and to model inclusion and equity in society as a whole.
Legal Programs at The Law Foundation
The Law Foundation serves more than 10,000 individuals and families each year through four core programs that address a wide variety of civil legal issues: Children & Youth, Health/Mental Health, Housing, and Pro Bono.
The Children & Youth program (Legal Advocates for Children & Youth or LACY), led by Andrew Cain, advances the legal rights of children and youth, empowering them to lead healthy and productive lives. Attorneys and social workers listen to, advise, and advocate for clients to ensure their voices are heard and their rights are protected. The Children & Youth program provides: free and confidential legal assistance to children and youth in juvenile dependency, family law, probate guardianship, education matters, immigration and domestic violence, and numerous other practice areas; advocacy to improve court and community systems designed to protect and promote child welfare; and workshops to educate youth, parents, caregivers, and members of the community about issues impacting child welfare and legal rights.
The Health program promotes access to and quality of health and behavioral health care services and delivery, addressing health disparities among low-income and underserved populations. The Health program utilizes a comprehensive approach of both direct legal services and system change work, including policy advocacy, local systems reform, and impact litigation. The Health team has longstanding expertise in the areas of mental health patients’ rights, economic rights, and related disability rights and health access advocacy. The Health team represents individuals in inpatient psychiatric facilities at due process and capacity hearings, investigates allegations of abuse or denial of rights at behavioral health facilities, and assists with access to county behavioral health services, including treatment in the county jails. The public benefits work includes advocacy in SSI/SSDI, Medi-Cal, Medicare, GA, and other disability benefits.
The goal of Housing program is to prevent the displacement of low-income families and communities of color in Silicon Valley through direct legal services, policy advocacy, and impact litigation. The Housing program, led by Nadia Aziz, is recognized throughout California as a leader in the housing legal community. The Housing team has strong partnerships with community organizations throughout Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, is regularly quoted in the media, and is sought out for advice and to lead trainings. The Housing team has worked on groundbreaking litigation and policy advocacy including helping to pass strong tenant protections and protections for mobile homeowners in San Jose, defending San Jose’s inclusionary zoning ordinance and Mountain View’s rent control ordinances, saving the last mobile home park in Palo Alto, and settling a class action disability lawsuit on behalf of Section 8 tenants.
The Law Foundation also has a Pro Bono program, led by Brooke Heymach, that relies on deep, long-standing partnerships with law firms and local companies to help meet the community’s legal needs. Pro bono attorneys leverage their talents to provide legal services that the Law Foundation either does not have the expertise or the capacity to provide in-house.
In addition to these four core programs, the CPO will lead the creation of a systems change agenda, including the hiring and onboarding of a Litigation Director and a Policy Director. Policy and impact litigation will be designed to support and work in concert with the programs to amplify the work and more effectively achieve the mission of the Law Foundation.
Chief Executive Officer
Alison Brunner’s commitment to social justice in Silicon Valley runs deep. After working her way through the ranks of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, she took the lead in 2013 and has turned the nonprofit into a marquee legal organization.
In her role, Brunner is responsible for the strategic leadership, management, and direction of the organization. She oversees the organization’s $14 million budget and uses her contacts and community to build an ever-increasing network of leaders, companies, and law firms to support its critical work.
As a disability and housing rights attorney, Alison has fought for access to justice and equity for almost 25 years. During that time, she represented countless low-income clients living with mental health disabilities and other chronic illnesses and led a team of lawyers specializing in mental health and housing rights law.
She was born and raised in San Jose and earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles and obtained her juris doctorate from Santa Clara University School of Law.
Chief Program Officer
Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Chief Program Officer will collaborate with the executive leadership team, Directing Attorneys, staff, and volunteer leaders to reimagine, create, plan, advance, and implement a wide range of legal services and advocacy activities, strategies, programs, and priorities in advance of the Law Foundation’s mission and vision.
Program Leadership and Development
- Strategically lead the Law Foundation’s legal, programming, and systems change work and create a systems change agenda, including a current analysis and inventory of system change efforts and tools to further advance policy advocacy and impact
- Contribute to the development of the Law Foundation’s next strategic plan and other strategic initiatives, including programs, convening, and coordinating, to include managing the integration of the strategic plan into each program’s work plan.
- Alongside the Directing Attorneys, co-develop and track annual goals for each program. Assure the development of comprehensive annual program plans including the necessary set of program activities to make progress toward each program’s goals; allocate financial and personnel resources toward efficient accomplishment of the work plans.
- Initiate and facilitate cross-program collaboration and learning, and explore the integration of processes across program areas.
- Work with Director of Impact & Evaluation to refine and test impact indicators, including tracking mechanisms, ensure effective and efficient ongoing monitoring of the team’s overall work.
- Ensure lessons learned from projects and processes are shared throughout the Law Foundation to facilitate learning and refinement of systems and processes.
- Manage verbal and written communications on program plans, activities, and performance to executive management and the Board of Directors; co-chair the Program Committee of the Board of Directors.
Staff and Organizational Management
- Manage, coach, evaluate, and provide mentorship for the Directing Attorneys, promoting an inclusive culture that supports learning, excellence, teamwork, and
- Hire, onboard, and manage the Director of Litigation, Policy Director, and Contracts Manager, increasing impact and ensuring all teams are coordinated and supported in their work.
- Ensure programs are complying with legal and ethical obligations and navigate ethical issues that arise.
- In collaboration with the Directing Attorneys and Human Resources, assure the development of a comprehensive staff performance and professional development planning process, including the setting of goals and expectations to support optimum performance and career growth.
- Monitor and support the development of staff member growth through skill development, leadership training, and broadening of experience base.
- Be a leader in change management efforts internally so that all staff reach their full potential with the full support of organizational leadership.
- In consultation with the executive team, lead staff to identify and implement practices that foster an inclusive, equitable culture and an environment that supports the individual and collective success of a diverse team.
- Ensure that staff members have the resources and support needed to succeed within their roles and engage across areas of difference both with internal and external constituents.
- Build strong practices for effective and transparent communication, decision-making, and conflict resolution.
- In partnership with the CEO, unify the management team in order to strengthen and improve management practices across the Law Foundation.
- Convene with other executive team members to assess functionality of the Law Foundation operational environment; identify issues needing attention and bring to the attention of the CEO and/or the executive team.
- Lead and participate in internal committees as needed. Participate in organization-wide projects related to strategy and program areas.
- Represent the Law Foundation’s vision and strategy in the external environment.
- Build on the Law Foundation’s strong reputation and relationships with external supporters, including representing the organization with funders, policymakers, partners, and client communities.
- Working in coordination with internal staff and consultants, identify and build on appropriate opportunities for the Law Foundation in the areas of fundraising, advocacy, policy, government relations, and strategic partnerships.
- Monitor emerging community needs among key stakeholders such as clients, community organizations, government, and philanthropy that may lead to the design or expansion of programs.
- Represent the Law Foundation on relevant committees, task forces, or boards, as well as at speaking engagements, conference panels, and trainings. Be a recognized thought leader, maintaining and enhancing expertise and professional status.
Experience and Qualifications
The ideal candidate will bring many of the following professional qualities and experiences:
- A Bachelor’s degree
- A JD is required; membership in the California or other state Bar is strongly preferred.
- More than ten years of experience, including public interest law, management, direct services, policy advocacy, and/or litigation is required. Systemic advocacy experience is preferred.
- Demonstrated ability to effectively develop, manage, and supervise a large team.
- Excellent written and oral communication and presentation skills.
- Experience in fiscal management, fundraising, and program administration.
- Exceptional reasoning, problem-solving, and analytical skills, including an ability to translate ideas and concepts into clear, actionable steps
- Proven ability to engage staff from diverse backgrounds and at all levels of professional experience in a deep, authentic way that empowers individuals and teams to be simultaneously collaborative and honest.
- The capacity to absorb criticism and self-reflect on shifting responsibilities of a leader maturely and responsively.
- Superb judgment, organizational skills, and the sensibility to adjudicate wisely among competing priorities.
- Able to navigate ambiguity.
- Outstanding interpersonal skills, including being a great listener.
- Energy and stamina, self-confidence and humility, a strong sense of purpose, and a sense of humor.
This is a San Jose-based position. The Law Foundation is located in historic downtown San Jose, known for architectural landmarks built in the Italianate and Spanish styles. The cultural, financial, and political center of Silicon Valley, San Jose is the third most populous city in California. The area enjoys a sunny Mediterranean climate on the southern shore of the San Francisco Bay.
The Law Foundation provides a hybrid work schedule, offering employees the opportunity to work three days per week from home, if circumstances allow. The Law Foundation has implemented rigorous health and safety protocols to minimize risk of exposure for staff who work from the office. Due to the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on personal lives, the Law Foundation is open to providing flexibility regarding work schedules to the extent feasible for the position.
The anticipated salary range for this position is $175,000 to $190,000 annually. The Law Foundation offers a comprehensive benefits package, which adds significantly to the employee’s total compensation.
Interested in Learning More?
The Law Foundation of Silicon Valley has partnered with Talent Citizen to assist in this recruitment. Please contact President Tracy D. Welsh and Senior Associate Rachel K. Partin to share your resume and cover letter via email at: email@example.com.
The Law Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Affirmative Action Employer. We strongly encourage people of color, women, people living with disabilities, older people, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to apply. It is the policy of the Law Foundation to prohibit discrimination and harassment of any type and to afford equal employment opportunities to employees and applicants, without regard to race, color, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, pregnancy, medical condition or genetic information, veteran status, national origin, disability, marital, or other protected status. The Law Foundation will conform to the spirit, as well as the letter of all applicable laws and regulations.
Candidates from historically excluded communities including from different racial, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds, persons living with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community are encouraged to apply.