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ED Position: Western Center on Law and Poverty

Monday, January 19, 2009

Western Center on Law & Poverty seeks an Executive Director to lead a well-established and highly reputed nonprofit public interest organization - California's oldest and largest legal services support center - to the next level of service on behalf of the state's low income people.

An outstanding, hard-working and committed Board of Directors and staff will support the incoming Executive Director.
Western Center on Law and Poverty advances and enforces the rights of low-income Californians to the basic necessities of life by working statewide for systemic change. WCLP engages in legislative and administrative advocacy, impact litigation and technical assistance to legal and social services organizations to effectuate broad-based change aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty. Leaving the representation of individual clients on individual cases to neighborhood legal aid offices, WCLP takes the lead on advocacy designed to make large scale improvements in the way low-income Californians receive the most critical services and benefits, primarily in the areas of health care, housing and public assistance. Our successful court cases, legislative work and administrative advocacy help hundreds and often thousands of people at a time.
In addition to poverty advocacy work, WCLP staff annually responds to between 3,500 and 4,000 requests for technical assistance and provides dozens of trainings around the state. WCLP has published several authoritative manuals on topics such as CalWORKs, Medi-Cal eligibility, emergency benefits, lead poisoning prevention, foster care benefits and affordable housing.

Additional information about Western Center may be found on its website: . WCLP is headquartered in Los Angeles, with a branch office in Sacramento. The staff currently
numbers 21, including 12 lawyer/advocates. Western Center has an annual budget of approximately $3.0 million. Since 1996, when Congress cut off federal financial support for programs like Western Center, WCLP has been supported by private donations, foundation grants, contracts for services, and attorneys' fee awards.

About the Position:
WCLP seeks a new Executive Director who is passionate about and has a demonstrated commitment to promoting access to justice for low-income people. The new leader will work closely with a dedicated and hard-working Board of Directors and an outstanding, creative and committed staff, as well as a broader community of advocates, private lawyers, and donors. The Executive Director is the primary spokesperson for Western Center, oversees its legal, legislative advocacy and administrative staff, works with the Board of Directors to develop and implement short and long term strategic and financial planning, and is responsible for fundraising and managing daily operations.

Major Responsibilities:
• Promoting WCLP's mission and commitment to excellence in the legal services community in all of its functional areas, including impact litigation, legislative and administrative advocacy, and the provision of technical assistance and support.
• Maintaining and expanding WCLP's current sources of funding without compromising the organization's mission and commitment to excellence.
• Maintaining and expanding partnerships, relationships and strategic alliances with other legal services programs, community based organizations, private lawyers, government agencies, and the legislature.
• Increasing WCLP's visibility in California as the "go to" organization on poverty advocacy issues and expanding WCLP's leadership role in the broader legal services community on issues related to the delivery of legal services to, and access to justice by, low-income Californians.
• Working closely and effectively with WCLP's Board of Directors to develop short and long term strategic plans.
• Implementation of WCLP's strategic plans through the assessment of current programs. Recommendations for, and implementation of, changes where needed.
• Strengthening and expanding WCLP's impact litigation capacity.
• Developing, maintaining and communicating sound financial and reporting practices aligned with Board expectations as well as managing the organization in keeping with budgetary constraints.
• Providing leadership, inspiration and guidance to the staff in an environment of open communication and transparency. Furthering the staff's professional development and morale so as to maintain the organization's high-quality advocacy and its ability to attract and retain excellent staff members.
• Increasing diversity at the staff and Board level.
• Overseeing the staff and operations of WCLP's two offices.
Ideal Experience and Qualifications:
• A JD and bar membership in California or in another state.
• The ability to articulate a compelling vision for an organization, whether private or nonprofit, and a record of translating that vision into action.
• A record of personal and professional commitment to social justice and advocacy on behalf of low-income communities.
• An executive with a track record of working collaboratively with the board of directors and staff of a mission-driven charitable organization.
• Successful fiscal and corporate governance of a corporate, legal or non-profit entity.
• A demonstrated enthusiasm for, and track record of, raising funds and support from institutions, foundations and individuals.
• Leadership and management experience in attracting, developing and retaining professional staff.
• A politically savvy, non-partisan executive and negotiator.
• Excellent interpersonal, public speaking, advocacy and written communication skills and the ability to identify legislative and legal advocacy opportunities and issues which will further WCLP's mission and increase revenue.
Salary: Commensurate with experience and qualifications. Generous benefits package.

Application Procedures: Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Interested applicants should submit:
1. A cover letter expressing in detail why you are interested in the position of Executive Director of WCLP as well as what you believe you can contribute to the future of the organization and its client community;
2. A current resume;
3. Two writing samples;
4. Salary history; and
5. The names and contact information for three references.
Submit all materials electronically to:
WCLP Executive Director Search Committee
All applications will be kept confidential.

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