Northwest Justice Project seeks a Deputy Director

About the Organization

The Northwest Justice Project (NJP) is the State of Washington’s largest state and federally funded provider of comprehensive civil legal aid services to people in or near poverty. Every year, NJP provides legal assistance and representation to more than 14,000 low-income households to address fundamental human needs including housing, family safety, access to health care, and income security. NJP’s more than 150 attorneys deliver individualized and systemic client services from 19 regional offices, through a variety of service models, including a statewide legal assistance hotline. NJP also maintains an extensive public web site with self-help legal resources in multiple languages and formats. NJP now seeks a Deputy Director to support and advance NJP’s mission to combat injustice, strengthen communities, and protect human dignity.

About the Position

The Deputy Director serves as the program’s general counsel and is responsible for NJP’s effective and efficient administration and operations to ensure the delivery of high quality legal services to low-income individuals and communities.

The Deputy Director is a member of the executive leadership team, reporting to the Executive Director, and works in close collaboration with the Executive Director, the Director of Advocacy, and the Director of Finance to provide strategic, programmatic, and race equity leadership for NJP. The Deputy Director supervises the Operations Director, Human Resources Director, and Information Technology Director.

The Deputy Director carries out the duties of the Executive Director in the Executive Director’s absence.

General Counsel Duties

  • In collaboration with the executive leadership team oversees risk management issues associated with strategic, complex, or sensitive advocacy matters.
  • In collaboration with the Director of Advocacy, oversees practice and advocacy related ethics and risk management issues.
  • Works with Human Resources Director to ensure compliance with all applicable employment laws, NJP personnel policies and the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and oversees labor-management relations, including union contract negotiations.
  • Reviews and addresses all reports or complaints of potential malpractice or violation of professional ethics.
  • Oversees systems to ensure avoidance of risk related to quality of practice.
  • Responds to individual ethical inquiries from staff.
  • Maintains reports of grievances against NJP attorneys filed with the Washington State Bar Association, complaints filed with funders and third parties, and any complaint filed with a court regarding attorney malfeasance, including motions for sanctions and related outcomes.
  • Engages in regional, state, and national efforts to address policy developments related to regulatory, grant compliance, and other programmatic requirements impacting NJP and NJP services to client communities by providing input to regulatory entities and public and private funders.

Program Administration and Operations

  • In collaboration with the Human Resources Director, the statewide advocacy leadership team, and responsible managers, works to ensure quality of practice and address staff performance issues.
  • Works with Director of Advocacy and Human Resources Director as appropriate to implement NJP’s Race Equity Justice Commitments and equity goals and strategies.
  • Works with the Human Resources Director, statewide advocacy leadership team, and responsible managers to support opportunities for staff leadership, recognition, and professional growth.
  • Reviews and approves recommendations to terminate employment of legal advocacy staff.
  • Works with Information Technology Director to maintain and, as necessary, identify and implement, business processes and technology systems needed to ensure program accountability, institutional integrity, and responsiveness to staff and client needs.
  • Works with Operations Director to oversee and support all aspects of NJP office operations, purchasing, services, facilities, and related contracting.
  • Works with the Director of Finance to establish and support program-wide budget priorities, advocacy resource plans, sound program fiscal administration, and assists finance department as needed.

Strategic Plan Development and Implementation

  • Works with executive leadership to identify and prioritize critical strategic goals, and assists with the development of practicable timelines, action plans, and identification of necessary resources.
  • Collaborates with the statewide advocacy leadership team to develop and implement priority setting efforts that ensure program resources are client-centered and focused on addressing the greatest needs of client communities.
  • Collaborates with the statewide advocacy leadership team on high-profile advocacy initiatives.
  • Leads periodic assessments of program infrastructure components to identify performance gaps and develop solutions and resources to address them.
  • Along with the executive management team, the Resource Development Director, Advocacy Counsel and other managers, promotes the visibility of program’s work internally and within the broader community, and works to build relationships with community partners.

Regulatory, Grant, and Contract Compliance

  • Coordinates and collaborates on responses to state and federal legal aid contracting processes, and supports responses to grant proposals and other funding opportunities.
  • Reviews contract and grant commitments to protect program integrity, minimize risk, and ensure organizational compliance with contract requirements and deliverables, and reporting requirements.
  • Develops, reviews, updates and implements program policy related to regulatory and contract requirements, restrictions on program operations, and other programmatic needs.
  • Liaison with Office of Civil Legal Aid, Legal Services Corporation, Legal Foundation of Washington and other funders to ensure accountability and compliance with contract terms, site visits, compliance inquiries, allocation of resources and other public relations needs.
  • Works with Director of Advocacy and other managers to enforce compliance requirements with regulations or program policies.
  • Provides ongoing staff education and training on regulatory and compliance requirements.

Qualifications

The successful candidate will possess the following essential qualifications:

  • Experienced public interest advocate serving low-income, marginalized communities and/or significant civil litigation experience with In-House/general counsel experience in corporate or nonprofit setting.
  • Increasingly responsible positions in nonprofit management or administration within a socially responsible mission-driven organization.
  • Demonstrated experience with publicly funded grant management, contract compliance, and risk management in a professional services environment.
  • Demonstrated experience with human resources, labor-management, and/or employment law issues.
  • Demonstrated experience working as a member of a leadership team in a diverse work and/or community environment.
  • Demonstrated commitment to promote race equity to mitigate the impacts of racialized structures through organizational leadership.
  • Member of the Washington State Bar Association or other jurisdiction with ability to obtain WSBA membership by motion.

Skills:

  • The ability to deeply listen, incorporate feedback, and build trust with staff at all levels, regardless of positional authority.
  • The ability to communicate effectively to diverse audiences through multiple forms of media.
  • The ability to think strategically, identify systemic solutions to long-term needs, and make difficult decisions to problem-solve time-critical issues.
  • Ability to simultaneously manage a host of diverse projects and respond to multiple and varied day-to-day demands.
  • Technologically adept and able to use available electronic and on-line tools for, among other needs, shared communication, collaboration, analysis, and presentation.
  • Ability to identify, develop, and implement program-wide systems needed to ensure program accountability, support staff objectives and further program mission and strategic advocacy goals.
  • The ability to engage with decision makers.
  • The ability to build strong relationships with community stakeholders and legal aid partners.

Compensation

The starting/minimum annual salary for the Deputy Director position is $130,000. Salary and benefits will be commensurate with experience and organizational salary structure.

How to Apply

Northwest Justice Project has retained Morten Group, LLC to conduct this search.

Applicants should email a cover letter and resume in PDF format to executivesearch@mortengroup.com with the subject line “Northwest Justice Project – Deputy Director Search.” Cover letters will be evaluated as a writing sample. Application materials must be directed to the email address above. No phone calls, please. Note that due to the number of applications we receive, we will only respond to those applicants whom we would like to invite to interview for the position.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

The Northwest Justice Project is especially interested in qualified candidates whose professional, personal, and service experience will allow them to contribute to and support NJP's and the Washington's equal justice community's commitment to race equity.

Northwest Justice Project is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate inemployment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy status, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, sensory, mental or physical abilities, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factors. Applicants from historically underrepresented communities, including people of color, people who identify as transgender, lesbian, gay, or bisexual, and those with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. Individuals needing a reasonable accommodation for the application or interview process or more information about the project, should contact Morten Group Project Manager, Sarah Menke at executivesearch@mortengroup.com.