Public Law Center
(Santa Ana, CA)
Title: Executive Director
Founded in 1981, The Public Law Center (PLC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing free legal services to low income residents and other nonprofits in Orange County.
In 2021, PLC staff and volunteers provided over 65,000 hours of free legal services in handling over 4,500 cases benefiting more than 8,000 low-income children, adults and seniors in Orange County. The estimated value of this work is roughly $60 million in just the past three years.
PLC clients’ cases cover a wide range of issues including domestic violence, human trafficking, guardianship, housing, health, bankruptcy, asylum, family law, consumer fraud, and immigration. PLC also provides free legal advice and representation to Orange County nonprofit organizations, so they can better meet their legal obligations and focus on providing services.
PLC’s work is a mix of direct representation, brief counsel and advice, recruitment, training and mentoring of lawyers and law students, training of staff at nonprofit organizations, law enforcement and other governmental agencies, advocacy before local, state and federal policy makers, and strategic impact litigation to challenge societal injustices.
PLC’s staff of over 55 provides direct services to clients and also makes certain that volunteers have the tools necessary to properly assist those clients referred to them. PLC volunteers include partners and associates at major law firms, in-house corporate counsel, solo and small firm practitioners, young lawyers, law students, college students and an array of others concerned about ensuring access to justice. For most lawyers and law students in Orange County, PLC is the place to turn when they think of volunteering to provide legal services.
After serving 22 years as Executive Director and General Counsel of PLC, Ken Babcock will be retiring in 2022.
For more information about Public Law Center and its services, please visit their website.
The Public Law Center is seeking an inspiring leader with demonstrated success in team building and a commitment to providing access to justice for low-income and vulnerable residents as its next Executive Director to support the growth and sustainability of this highly respected organization as it meets the ever-increasing demand for its services.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE POSITION:
Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director is responsible for the organization’s consistent achievement of its mission, strategic goals, and fund development/financial objectives, helping to sustain and expand upon PLC’s excellent reputation. The Executive Director supervises and empowers the organization’s leadership team and assists the Board in fulfilling its governance functions, ensuring that the Board, staff, volunteers, and key external stakeholders are working to achieve a common vision and purpose. In addition to providing visionary and inspirational leadership and ensuring the financial health of the organization, the Executive Director leads long-range planning, Board relations, staff development, fund development, external relations, and program planning and oversight. The Executive Director must be a compelling and motivating presence for PLC’s leadership team, staff, Board, and clients, as well as with external stakeholders such as individual donors, institutional funders, and community partners.
Specific duties and responsibilities of the position include, but are not limited to:
Program Strategy & Leadership
- Provide effective management and team-building support to Program Directors to ensure that PLC’s programs meet the operational and shared strategic goals of the organization.
- Work with staff and Board to assess current legal services and programs and provide thought leadership to continuously improve the delivery of legal services and new programs.
- Demonstrate a commitment to the principles set forth in PLC’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Statement.
- Devise and implement an annual development plan and effective strategies to ensure substantial growth in organizational fundraising and increased financial sustainability.
- Provide thought leadership and support to build and enhance a diverse range of funding sources.
- Leverage contacts and resources to expand the donor/resource base.
- Participate in the year-round identification, cultivation, and solicitation of major donors through meaningful and individualized contact.
Management & Staff Development
- Strengthen effective organizational structure and work closely with senior leadership and human resources to attract, hire, and retain diverse and talented staff.
- Help to create and foster an equitable, diverse, and inclusive work environment with a positive and supportive team culture that values collaboration, cohesion, staff well-being, transparent communication, integrity, ethics, and values.
Financial Oversight & Administration
- Maintain primary accountability for the financial position of the organization including overseeing fiscal management and the development of budgets to ensure the financial integrity and viability of the organization; monitoring appropriate financial compliance, reporting, and auditing; providing the appropriate control and accountability of all funds, physical assets, and other property.
- Devise and implement effective strategies for financial stability and growth.
- Oversee operations, including facilities, technology, equipment, and risk management.
- Facilitate and promote timely Board communication, including reporting on the organization’s operations, fiscal health, and strategic and operational issues.
- Promote interfacing between Board and staff.
- Support the Board in fulfilling its governance function.
- Promote an environment that is conducive to transparency, good governance, and productive Board work.
- Work with Board Nominations Committee to identify Board candidates to further diversify Board membership and expand the Board’s collective commitment to meeting the needs of the community.
External Relations & Communications
- Ensure that PLC is consistently presented in a strong, positive image by serving as a spokesperson for the organization, clearly articulating its mission, vision, programs, services, and impact on the community.
- Maintain the leadership and program advocacy role of the organization by cultivating and maintaining strong relationships with other community organizations and key constituent groups, as well as with government and political leaders through both direct contact and collaborative partnerships.
TRAITS AND CHARACTERISTICS DESIRED:
The successful candidate will be a decisive yet collaborative leader with exceptional listening and interpersonal skills, a personal passion for the mission of PLC, and the highest degree of professionalism and integrity. As such, the Executive Director must be a strong relationship builder with excellent communication skills who is able to relate and connect with diverse audiences both internally and externally. The ideal candidate is an inspiring team builder and mentor who operates with a strategic perspective while executing day-to-day activities. An inclusive leadership style that endorses collaboration, trust, and open, transparent communication between all stakeholders will be highly valued. This individual will accomplish goals through motivation, the delegation of authority, and the use of systems that are designed for effective planning, evaluation, and accountability. The successful candidate will have critical thinking skills and will display good judgment, financial acumen, strong organizational skills, and logical priority-setting skills. The successful candidate should have a reputation for honesty, trustworthiness, emotional intelligence, compassion, humility, strong ethics, and fairness. Above all, this individual must be deeply passionate about the work of Public Law Center and will be able to speak credibly and persuasively about the organization’s vision for the future and impact.
CAREER PATH LEADING TO THIS POSITION:
Preferred candidates will have demonstrated excellence in a senior leadership position in a legal services or nonprofit organization that is recognized for its dedication to exemplary service to the community. Experience as a practicing attorney in public interest law, public policy, or movement building is strongly preferred. Most importantly, the successful candidate must have a track record of commitment to the work of PLC and be able to draw from their understanding of the organization’s mission and clients to inspire others. The ideal candidate will be a dynamic and forward-thinking individual who has shown success in generating widespread support for an organization through positive culture building, and collaborative efforts with internal and external stakeholders. Experience building and motivating a strong team with exceptional programmatic results while simultaneously growing an organization’s talent, systems, and processes to enhance its impact and financial sustainability will be highly valued. A good understanding of effective, forward-looking fiscal management, including annual budgeting and cash flow analysis, and implications for nonprofits is preferred. The successful candidate must demonstrate an ability to oversee, inspire, and collaborate with staff and will have a clearly articulated management philosophy which supports a positive team culture and well-being of staff, high performance, and employee retention. Exceptional communication skills, including public speaking and writing skills, and success in forming strong community partnerships are essential and expected.
The annual salary range for this role is $200,000-$225,000 plus benefits.
PLC staff are currently working on a hybrid in-person / work-from-home schedule. The Executive Director must live in or within reasonable commuting distance to Orange County for events and frequent in-person meetings with staff, board, donors, and community members.
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