Chief Of Staff - #9820561

National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA)

Date: 1 week ago
City: Washington, DC
Contract type: Full time

NLADA is America’s oldest and largest nonprofit association devoted to excellence in delivering legal services to those who cannot afford counsel. We provide advocacy, guidance, information, training, and technical assistance for members of the equal justice community, especially those working in public defense and civil legal aid. For more than a century, we have connected and supported people across the country committed to justice. 

Because the quality of justice in America should not depend on how much money a person has, NLADA leads a broad network of advocates on the frontlines to advance justice and expand opportunity for all by promoting excellence in delivering legal services for people who cannot afford counsel.

Over the last year, we have welcomed new leadership and launched our Racial Equity Initiative. Our membership includes people who have been clients of public or civil defender services, and our overall membership drives our mission and strategic priorities. We have embarked on an organizational transformation and modernization, to include internal efforts at dismantling white supremacy culture. We are growing and evolving and seek others who strongly desire to join the journey.

The Chief of Staff is a key executive role within the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA), directly supporting the President and CEO while closely collaborating with the Executive Management Team. This position is vital in the strategic execution and operational alignment of the NLADA's mission and values. The Chief of Staff ensures that the organization's strategies, structures, and culture are cohesively aligned and effectively implemented.

A significant aspect of this role involves federal lobbying, where the Chief of Staff will develop and execute strategic lobbying efforts at the federal level, focusing on policy issues central to the NLADA's advancement of racial equity and access to counsel. This includes establishing relationships with key policymakers and government officials, monitoring legislative developments, and ensuring the organization's voice is influential and present in relevant policy discussions.

Moreover, the Chief of Staff actively strengthens bonds and working relationships among staff, recognizing, and leveraging the power of intersectionality and diversity. This role is crucial in fostering an environment of shared collaboration and accountability, encouraging a culture where diverse perspectives are valued and integrated into the organizational fabric.

In this role, the Chief of Staff will act as a strategic advisor and chief administrator and champion the organization's commitment to inclusion, equity, and collaborative excellence. The Chief of Staff will be expected to lead by example, demonstrating a deep understanding of social justice issues and a commitment to driving systemic change.

The Chief of Staff ensures that the organization remains true to its core values while navigating the complexities of the nonprofit and trade association landscape, including compliance with federal lobbying laws and the effective management of lobbying efforts and resources.


Strategic Leadership and Collaboration:

  • Serve as a confidante, thought partner, and trusted advisor to the President and CEO.
  • Partner with the Executive Management Team to manage and evolve the organizational structure and culture.
  • Lead efforts in supporting and sustaining the organizational culture, with a strong focus on inclusion and racial equity.
  • Supervise professional development opportunities and establish career paths for both attorneys and non-attorneys.
  • Provide leadership on workplace culture, promoting employee engagement and high performance.

Organizational and Staff Development:

  • In partnership with core staff, ensure effective management systems for developing, mentoring, and empowering a diverse workforce.
  • Oversee Human Resources and Executive Management Team initiatives related to staff hiring, management, performance, compensation, professional development, and retention.
  • Support core staff committees focused on compensation, professional development, and more.
  • Establish policies, processes, and procedures to ensure consistency and continual improvement.

Governance and Representation:

  • Chair selected Board-driven committee meetings, promoting best practices in board governance.
  • Assist in managing relationships with organizational partners and serve as a proxy for the President and CEO in key settings as needed.
  • Support the President and CEO in projects with the Board, refining and implementing their agenda.

Federal Lobbying

  • Develop and execute strategic lobbying efforts at the federal level, focusing on policy issues relevant to NLADA.
  • Establish relationships with key policymakers, legislative staff, and government officials to advance the NLADA's legislative agenda.
  • Monitor and analyze federal legislation and regulatory developments that could impact the NLADA and its mission.
  • Provide expert advice to the President and CEO on federal policy issues, legislative strategies, and potential implications for the organization.
  • Collaborate with the communications team to craft messaging and advocacy materials for federal lobbying efforts.
  • Coordinate with other nonprofits, advocacy groups, and stakeholders to build coalitions and partnerships for greater impact in federal policy advocacy.
  • Represent the organization in meetings, hearings, and federal policy and lobbying events.
  • Ensure compliance with all federal lobbying laws and reporting requirements.

Continuous Improvement and Thought Leadership:

  • Promote transparent decision-making processes.
  • Contribute to the organization’s thought leadership, managing self-reflection efforts for continuous improvement and learning.



Education and Experience Requirements

  • Undergraduate degree required, JD or advanced degree in business, public administration, nonprofit management, organization development, or a related field highly desired.  Capitol Hill or Federal Lobbying Experience a plus.
  • Minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible experience in a relevant role, preferably in a nonprofit organization of comparable size.
  • Demonstrated skills in problem-solving, project management, and resourcefulness.
  • Collegial management style with a proven ability to lead and manage people and groups effectively, fostering leadership, team building, organizational and staff capacity, and promoting individual and organizational success.
  • Ability to quickly gain credibility and respect with both internal and external stakeholders.
  • A strong track record of working successfully with diverse teams.
  • Willingness to tackle tasks of all sizes, understanding their importance in the organization's success.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, showing respect and value for all individuals, encompassing differences in race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, religion, sexual orientation, ability, and socio-economic circumstance.
  • Strong commitment to working collaboratively and respectfully to overcome challenges and obstacles.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

  • Strategic Leadership and Federal Lobbying: Strong knowledge of federal lobbying, social justice issues, and nonprofit management; ability to serve as a strategic advisor and effectively manage relationships with key stakeholders and policymakers.
  • People Management and Organizational Development: Exceptional leadership skills with a proven ability to foster an inclusive and collaborative work environment; competence in leading organizational change and staff development.
  • Analytical and Problem-Solving Abilities: Superior analytical skills with a strong capability for strategic planning, decision-making, and problem-solving in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.
  • Communication and Interpersonal Skills: Effective communicator with excellent interpersonal skills, capable of engaging with various internal and external stakeholders, including government officials, board members, and team members.
  • Operational Efficiency and Compliance: High proficiency in project management and organizational skills; ability to manage multiple priorities and ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, particularly in federal lobbying.
  • Commitment to Diversity and Continuous Improvement: Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, valuing differences and promoting individual and organizational success; dedicated to continuous learning and improvement.


Salary Information

The salary range for this position is $160 - $175,000 annually, depending on experience.

How We Support Staff

  • Free individual Medical, Dental, and Vision Insurance for employee coverage, reduced rates for family coverage, and a health care Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
  • Employer-provided life insurance policy and Short-Term and Long-term disability benefits
  • Wellness support, to include paid sick leave, Family Medical Leave Act, and Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • 403(b) Retirement Plan
  • Paid time off, to include recognition of all federal holidays, a paid day off on months without a federal holiday and is closed the week between December 24th and January 1st.

NLADA is committed to a policy of equal employment opportunity for all persons without regard to race, creed, sex, color, religion, age, national origin, sexual orientation, political affiliation, disability, pregnancy, personal appearance, marital or family status, or any other status protected by District of Columbia and Federal laws. This policy governs all aspects of employment, including selection, job assignment, compensation, discipline, termination, and access to benefits and training. 

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