About Legal Services NYC
Legal Services NYC (LSNYC) fights poverty and seeks racial, social, and economic justice for low-income New Yorkers. For 50 years, LSNYC has challenged systemic injustices that keep people in poverty. As the largest civil legal services provider in the country, LSNYC provides free legal services to more than 115,000 low-income New Yorkers annually to help meet basic needs, among other areas, for housing, income and economic security, family and immigration stability, education, and healthcare. LSNYC partners with scores of community-based and member-run organizations, elected officials, law schools, public agencies, pro bono lawyers and the courts to maximize its impact and effectiveness. With deep roots in communities in all five boroughs, LSNYC has handled more than two million cases since its founding.
In addition to the work of LSNYC lawyers and staff, each year, the organization utilizes more than 2,000 pro bono volunteers from nearly 100 law firms and corporations. These volunteers collectively impact more than 7,000 low-income people, annually donating more than 70,000 hours and securing more than $7 million for clients in settlements, benefits, and debt discharge. In addition to placing impact cases, LSNYC's pro bono program serves individual clients across nearly all civil practice areas including immigration, family, education, employment, benefits, trusts & estates, consumer, LGBTQ/HIV, veterans, and housing.
LSNYC has a staff of nearly 650 people in 11 neighborhood-based offices and outreach sites across all five boroughs. Of the five borough-based programs, four are separate 501(c)(3) entities (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens) and one is a branch office (Staten Island).
LSNYC has a budget of more than $110 million with funding from over 200 federal, state, city, foundation, and donor sources. It is subject to regulation by the federal Legal Services Corporation and review by its other funders.
LSNYC has a vibrant and diverse Board of directors comprised of community partners, client representatives, and attorneys from all five boroughs of New York City, including partners from some of the city’s largest law firms.
Legal Services NYC seeks an inspirational, collaborative, and empowering leader to provide strategic direction and oversight for this complex and vital organization. This is a tremendous opportunity to succeed a long-term and successful leader, taking the helm of a fast-growing, high-impact and well-respected organization at an increasingly critical time as the needs of the community it serves become greater.
Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director is responsible for leading and overseeing all aspects of LSNYC in deep collaboration with its multiple stakeholder groups. This executive will approach the leadership role with tenacity, supporting the growth and professional development of a unionized staff as well as encouraging the development of thought leaders throughout the organization.
The Executive Director will serve as the primary spokesperson for LSNYC, an organization that is fiercely dedicated to promoting justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion at all levels, both internally and externally. In addition to the complex managerial, financial, and operational responsibilities of the role, this person will support and expand collective efforts to promote cultural diversity and dismantle institutional inequity.
A lifelong advocate with a proven dedication to fighting for justice, the Executive Director will approach their work with curiosity, innovation, and collaboration in pursuit of the organization’s mission. In partnership with the Board and management team, the next Executive Director will define bold short- and long-term goals for LSNYC, design a cohesive and targeted strategic plan, and work with a wide variety of constituents to implement and adapt or modify it as needed.
The Executive Director’s key responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Provide strategic leadership for the organization, synthesizing across the viewpoints and interests of stakeholders and developing a clear vision and strategy for how LSNYC can continue to grow and strengthen its work for communities.
- Collaborate with the Board and staff, establishing short and long-range goals, strategies, and plans for implementation.
- Empower teams, ensuring they are provided with the necessary direction and resources to realize LSNYC’s strategic and operational goals.
- Build a cohesive, collaborative, diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace with all employees and staff (both unionized and non-unionized).
- Unite the borough/branch offices through a shared focus on strategic priorities by leveraging the central office as a hub to promote a cohesive culture.
- Support LSNYC’s short- and long-term financial goals, ensuring it operates as a sustainable and financially sound organization.
- Increase, diversify, and stabilize financial support from public funders (federal/state/local), foundations and private donors.
- Ensure operational efficiency of the organization, through continuous improvement of and investment in systems and resources to support growth.
- Promote LSNYC and its unique value proposition, increasing visibility for critical issues facing low-income New Yorkers and both growing and diversifying opportunities for partnerships and philanthropic support.
- Represent the organization and its mission to external stakeholders, providing thought leadership and cultivating relationships with partners, funders, elected representatives, courts, low-income communities, the private bar, and other stakeholders.
- Keep the LSNYC Board and constituent corporation board chairs apprised of the organization’s financial status, work, and operations.
While it is understood that no single candidate will offer every desired attribute and competency, the following is a representative list of the ideal professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:
Strategic & Visionary Mindset
- Be a strategic leader with an inspirational style, eager and energized to develop and articulate a values-driven, community-inspired, and innovative vision for the next chapter of a multifaceted organization with a rich history in a period of change.
- Lead a team in its delivery of efficient, culturally responsive, and comprehensive client services that live up to LSNYC’s commitment to providing the highest quality, accessible, and client-centered service.
- Have the passion and knowledge to serve LSNYC’s mission.
- Exhibit the courage to lead the organization in accordance with its values and vision, challenging the status quo when needed.
Empowering & Collaborative Leader
- Build and support a culture of inclusion, collaboration, and empowerment across the organization’s functions; motivate LSNYC’s diverse staff, ensuring strong internal communication and retention.
- Bring a track record of hiring, developing, and retaining culturally diverse staff at all levels through empathy and proactivity.
- Be a transparent communicator and natural listener who ensures all voices are heard, while also being firm and resolute in decisions.
- Be comfortable working within a unionized environment, with the knowledge, savvy, and sensitivity to navigate contract negotiations skillfully and thoughtfully.
- Communicate effectively across all levels of the LSNYC organization, from the Boards to the staff at each office.
Financial & Operational Acumen
- Be a seasoned executive and strong manager who understands the importance of effective operational and financial administration and can deploy these skills at scale in a complex environment.
- Exhibit strong non-profit budget development and management skills with a knowledge of working with restricted funding, ideally with exposure to the intricacies of government grants and contracts as a primary funding source.
- Be intentional about internal capacity building and structural support, including the build-out of internal systems that support the mission and work.
Skilled Advocate & Relationship Builder
- Be a natural relationship and consensus builder, able to work on multiple levels, with a wide variety of constituencies, to implement programs/processes and facilitate change when required.
- Promote a powerful sense of shared purpose and engagement in the future of LSNYC among all constituents through effective internal and external communication, including serving as a key spokesperson and public face for the organization to the media, funders, and others.
- Bring experience fundraising and building organizational capacity to raise support from a wide range of channels, expanding funding sources and bringing in more unrestricted dollars.
- Build support and influence with key stakeholders, including donors, Board members, policymakers, staff, union members, and other leaders across lines of difference.
- Exhibit the communication and delivery skills needed to successfully articulate the unique value proposition of LSNYC in the New York legal services arena.
Commitment to Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion
- Be resolute in fostering inclusion, empowering clients, and nurturing psychological safety.
- Demonstrate a dedication to furthering LSNYC’s commitment to becoming an antiracist and multicultural institution by spearheading cohesive efforts in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
- Be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics, and values — someone who can be trusted without reservation.
Champion of the Mission
- Above all, possess an unwavering dedication to advancing the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through high-quality legal service.
- Exhibit boldness and courage in their advocacy for justice.
- Demonstrate a proven history of supporting individual case work and initiatives aimed at broader systemic and institutional change.
- Bring a fervent passion for community-focused work.
Juris Doctor degree required, ideally with a strong track record in litigation and management experience at a comparable organization.
Compensation & Benefits
Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience. The salary range for this role is $300,000 – 350,000 with a generous benefits package including health coverage, a 403(b) plan and vacation time.
LSNYC permits all employees whose job functions allow it to work remotely up to fifty percent of each pay period. It is understood that as the head of the organization, the Executive Director will bring a willingness and enthusiasm to be onsite frequently and regularly.
Legal Services NYC is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages expressions of interest from people of color, individuals living with disabilities, people of all ages, women, and LGBTQ+ leaders.
Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Molly Brennan, Corina Benitz & Gina Wrolstad are leading this search. Express interest in the role by filling out our Talent Profile, or email the search team directly at LSNYC@koyapartners.com. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.
Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email NonprofitSearchOps@divsearch.com. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.
About Koya Partners
Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.
For more information about us, visit our Koya Partners website.