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The Director of Legal Services (DoLS) provides strategic vision, expertise, and leadership in the delivery of high-quality, client-centered legal services by Community Legal Aid SoCal (CLA SoCal) legal advocates to eligible clients. The DoLS serves as a member of the executive team. They collaborate with the Executive Director and other management staff on the program’s overall operation. The DoLS is responsible for working closely with the Directing Attorneys, other legal organizations, and the community to create a shared vision that nurtures and expands CLA SoCal’s capacity to do broad–based work, strategically focused on the pressing needs of the client community. In addition, they coordinate legal priorities and strategy with all the legal units within the program. The position reports to the Executive Director.
Leadership, Vision & Strategy
- Serve as a member of the Executive Team to shape the organization’s strategy, priorities, and resource allocation in furtherance of CLA SoCal’s mission; and to foster healthy communication and collaboration.
- Work closely with the Executive Director to develop, initiate, and shape advocacy priorities to meet the needs of the client community.
- Collaborate with Executive and Leadership Teams to support continuous evolution of CLA SoCal as a learning organization. Work with a multicultural perspective of inclusion and diversity.
- Actively support organizational efforts to create and promote an accessible, equitable, and inclusive culture.
- Foster and encourage department collaboration and communication, and ensure unity of mission, vision, and values for legal advocates. Work with the Executive Director, and Directors of Finance, Operations, and Development to help inform resource allocations across practice areas and within the organization.
- In conjunction with the Human Resources Department, assist in the development of protocols for the recruitment and retention of legal advocates.
- Assist the Executive Director and Executive Team with board development as needed.
Legal Services Management
- Provide programmatic leadership across all legal practice areas to ensure impactful, high-quality, trauma-informed, and client-centered legal services.
- Direct the development of new programs and programming initiatives, including planning, staffing, and implementation in alignment with the mission and strategic plan.
- Lead department-wide legal management and decision-making through implementation of supervision and practice protocols for all legal advocates.
- Lead continuous quality improvement processes throughout the department.
- Coordinate with Directing Attorneys and Supervising Attorneys to review and improve legal services policies and procedures relating to intake, grant management, best practices, and caseload guidelines to create organization-wide systems for legal management.
- Work with the Executive Director, Directing Attorneys, and Supervising Attorneys to implement case priority guidelines annually.
- Monitor revenue and expenses for all legal programs and make any necessary budget adjustments.
- Work with Directing Attorneys, Supervising Attorneys, Fund Development, and Finance Departments to ensure contract and grant deliverables, and appropriate staffing allocations.
- In coordination with the Directing Attorney of Advocacy and Litigation, shape major advocacy activities, including impact litigation and administrative advocacy promoting appropriate policies and systems change.
- Co-counsel with CLA SoCal legal staff on selected litigation as needed.
- Supervise, coach, and develop the Directing Attorneys to effectively manage Supervising Attorneys and legal advocates to meet service delivery goals and obtain successful client outcomes.
- Work with Directing Attorneys and Supervising Attorneys to identify unit priorities to address community needs.
- Lead the legal service leadership team to identify professional development goals and ensure delivery of goal-aligned training for legal advocacy staff.
- In conjunction with the Directing Attorneys and Supervising Attorneys engage in interviews and make decisions for the hiring of legal management staff.
Grants & Compliance
- Work with Operations Department to ensure legal services program staff meet organizational and funder compliance requirements.
- Work with Operations Department to identify and implement programmatic efficiencies and systems.
- Work with Database and Evaluation Managers to support program evaluation.
- Assist with preparation of reports to the Legal Services Corporation and other funding sources.
- Assess and handle client grievances per established procedures.
- Follow all organizational and grant compliance policies and procedures.
Partnerships & Outreach
- Work with the Director of Pro Bono, Directing Attorneys, and Supervising Attorneys to develop and support innovative and collaborative service delivery programs with an emphasis on pro bono and reaching underserved populations and communities.
- Maintain strong working relationships with legal services agencies, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders in Orange and Southeast Los Angeles Counties.
- Perform other duties as required to meet the needs of the organization.
- Juris Doctor and active membership in good standing with the State Bar of California or member of another state bar and ability to register as a legal services provider.
- Minimum of 10 years of experience in the practice of law, broad experience in lawyering skills, and demonstrated knowledge of poverty law across substantive areas.
- Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite (Work, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.), Lawyaw (or other Judicial Council Form preparation program) and other software programs.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
- Demonstrated leadership, strong supervision, team management, and interpersonal skills. Strong project management, time-management, and problem-solving skills.
- Excellent organizational skills, with the ability to effectively prioritize among competing tasks while maintaining attention to detail.
- Ability to implement organizational and grant policies and compliance guidelines.
- Experience in providing trauma-informed services to clients.
- Proven interest in social justice issues.
- Values diversity of thought, backgrounds, and perspectives.
- An ongoing commitment to learning, self-reflection, and improvement to enhance understanding of DEI issues and stay updated on best practices.
- Ability to model CLA SoCal’s values (compassion, collaboration, trust, accountability, and equity) in the performance of job duties.
- Commitment to and ability to articulate CLA SoCal’s mission.
- Preferred Qualifications Minimum of five years’ experience in management. Previous legal aid or other non-profit services.
· Leadership: Ability to lead and inspire teams to achieve organizational goals.
· Collaboration: Ability to cultivate and maintain relationships with Executive Team, direct reports, internal and external stakeholders.
· Supervision: Ability to effectively supervise direct reports, provide coaching, guide professional development, and encourage problem-solving.
· Communication Skills: Ability to engage in effective communication, communicate organizational decisions, and communicate in accessible and engaging ways.
· Program Management: Demonstrated ability to manage complex programs with multiple stakeholders and priorities, including project planning, budget input, and ensuring program excellence.
· Strategic & Innovative Thinking: Ability to think strategically and develop innovative solutions to complex problems, using data-driven insights, and creative thinking. Encourage team to innovate and share new ideas to solve problems.
Life at CLA SoCal
In addition to a collaborative team spirit and learning culture, Community Legal Aid SoCal (CLA SoCal) offers a comprehensive and competitive salary and benefits package that includes group health and life insurance with optional employee buy-in, long-term disability, and various optional benefits such as pet insurance. We offer a flexible and hybrid work schedule. Our staff members can work as few as 35-hour week. Some positions may work beyond a 35-hour week, including evening and weekend events, when caseload or other obligations so necessitate. Employees enjoy a work-life balance with 16 paid holidays a year, paid vacation, sick, and personal/well-being leave. Employee Assistance Program, Law School Loan Reimbursement Program, flexible parental leave, and 401k with employer contribution are available. Employees who can prove bilingual proficiency are eligible for a monetary bonus. We constantly look for opportunities to enhance our programs, reward our teammates, and update our benefits offerings regularly.
About CLA SoCal
Community Legal Aid SoCal (CLA SoCal) is a diverse non-profit organization dedicated to meeting the legal needs of low-income residents and seniors throughout Orange and Los Angeles Counties. We focus on removing barriers to equitable access and providing compassionate, high-quality legal aid. CLA SoCal aims to fill all positions with people who share our values and reflect the diversity of the communities we serve. We provide equal employment opportunities and strongly encourage all interested individuals to apply, including people of different abilities, religions, identities, orientations, nationalities, and ethnicities.
Please note research suggests that individuals identifying as Black, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Indigenous, members of the LGBTQIA community, women, and people living with disabilities may self-select out of opportunities if they don’t meet 100% of the job requirements. We encourage individuals who believe they have the skills to thrive at CLA SoCal to apply for this role.