Florida Rural Legal Services, Inc. Seeks Executive Director

Florida Rural Legal Services Seeks an Executive Director


Florida Rural Legal Services (FRLS) seeks an Executive Director to lead this private nonprofit law firm founded in 1966 for the purpose of providing free legal assistance to low income individuals, elderly persons and migrant farmworkers. Its mission is to empower low income individuals, groups, and communities by providing them with access to justice through legal advice, representation, and advocacy. FRLS serves thirteen south central Florida counties from offices in Lakeland, Fort Myers, Fort Pierce, Riviera Beach, Belle Glade and Martin County.


High priority roles and responsibilities for the Executive Director include:

  • Embracing the mission of FRLS and engaging and inspiring staff, Board members and other stakeholders in the development and implementation of that mission;
  • Serving as an effective ambassador for FRLS and nurturing collaborative relationships with funders, bar leaders, private donors and community, business and civic organizations throughout the service area;
  • Holding a vision for FRLS’ future including services to clients, staffing, structure and technology;
  • Fostering diversity throughout FRLS’ staff and Board, and promoting a culture of mutual respect, equity, inclusion and teamwork;
  • Ensuring FRLS’ financial health and stability through sound financial planning and management systems, and compliance with funder expectations and contractual and grant requirements;
  • Actively leading a diversified resource development program including individual and corporate gifts, foundation grants and government grants and contracts; and
  • Hiring, supervising, developing and meeting regularly with the FRLS’ legal management team and staff to provide leadership, direction, advice and oversight.


The successful Executive Director candidate will:

  • Demonstrate a passion for the mission of FRLS and a commitment to serving low income individuals, elderly persons and migrant farmworkers;
  • Have experience serving rural populations, in a similarly sized, multi-office organization;
  • Possess experience managing and supervising in a successful legal services or other nonprofit entity;
  • Have knowledge of financial matters including development of budgets, compliance with grant and contract requirements, and financial oversight;
  • Have a track record of success in resource development and possess a desire to develop and expand the resources of FRLS;
  • Have experience working collegially with unionized workforces;
  • Be willing and able to travel throughout the FRLS service area; and
    • Possess a Juris Doctorate or hold an advanced degree in an area relevant to FRLS’ mission.
  • Have experience working productively with an engaged Board of Directors;
  • Possess effective oral and written communication skills;
  • Value diversity and be culturally competent;
  • Possess personal attributes of professionalism, positivity, respect, good listening skills and the ability to motivate others;



Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.  In order to receive full consideration, candidates are urged to submit their materials by March 22, 2019. Please include a letter expressing in detail your interest in the position, your qualifications and what you hope to contribute to the organization’s future; a current resume; and the names and contact information for three professional references


Materials should be submitted electronically to ppap@mielegalaid.org in Microsoft Word or pdf format. 


FRLS is assisted in the search by Patricia Pap, Executive Director, Management Information Exchange, 105 Chauncy St., Fl 6, Ste 3, Boston, MA 02111, 508-737-4010, ppap@mielegalaid.org. Candidates with questions about the position or process are encouraged to contact her.


FRLS is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, parental status, military service, or other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law.


The salary of the Executive Director will be $135,000 to $155,000, depending on qualifications and experience.  FRLS offers excellent benefits including health, dental, vision, life insurance, disability, retirement, vacation and holidays.


About Florida Rural Legal Services:

Florida Rural Legal Services, Inc. (FRLS) was founded in 1966 as a private, nonprofit corporation.  FRLS provides free civil legal assistance to low income families and elderly people in thirteen South Central Florida counties.  FRLS also provides legal assistance to migrant workers throughout the State of Florida.

FRLS is unique in its service of farmworkers because of its rich history. The office of Economic Opportunity – the agency created by R. Sargent Shriver during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration to spearhead the War on Poverty – funded a two-year demonstration and research project to provide legal services to farmworkers in six South Florida counties. The project was originally called South Florida Migrant Services. The program was successful, and to this day, now as FRLS, continues to be the only legal services organization in Florida providing services to farmworkers and migrant workers throughout the state.

FRLS has offices in Lakeland, Fort Myers, Fort Pierce, Riviera Beach, Belle Glade and Martin County and satellite offices in Punta Gorda and Immokalee. Counties served include Charlotte, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Indian River, Lee, Martin, Okeechobee, Polk, Palm Beach, and St. Lucie counties. The administrative office is located in Lakeland.


FRLS has a budget of $7 million. Its primary funders are the federal Legal Services Corporation, State of Florida VOCA funds, Title III B Area Agency on Aging funds, direct county funding and bar association funds. FRLS has a staff of 70 employees including 29 attorneys. It provided legal assistance to over 7,000 people in 2017. FRLS also provided over 20,000 persons with information regarding their legal rights.


FRLS provides legal assistance in the areas of consumer, education, employment, domestic relations, domestic violence, housing, individual rights, public benefits, foreclosure, consumer matters and victims of crime.  It provides legal services for persons over 60 on issues that are unique to elderly persons such as Medicaid, Medicare, living wills, durable powers of attorney, health care surrogates, consumer fraud and retaining independence. In 2017, FRLS provided additional services related to foreclosure and consumer matters under a grant from the Florida Attorney General arising from a settlement involving irregularities in mortgage servicing and foreclosures. It also commenced offering expanded services to victims of crime.


FRLS takes pride in its specialty unit of attorneys, paralegals and support staff available to assist migrant workers with legal issues throughout the State of Florida, on issues such as wage and hour claims and unemployment benefits. FRLS is committed to providing high-quality civil legal services to address the special legal needs of migrant and seasonal farmworkers throughout Florida.


For more information about Florida Rural Legal Services visit https://www.frls.org/