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Job location
1001 State Street
Suite 700
Erie, PA 16501
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
Northwestern Legal Services
Street address: 
1001 State Street, Suite 700
Job type: 
Position Description: 

Northwestern Legal Services (NWLS) seeks an Executive Director to lead this nonprofit corporation dedicated to providing free legal representation to low-income people with civil legal problems. Its mission is to guide low-income individuals and families through the legal system using advocacy and education to obtain justice with the goal of improving their quality of life and strengthening our community.

High priority roles and responsibilities for the Executive Director include:

• Embracing the mission of NWLS, effectively articulating that mission to others, and leading NWLS in the accomplishment of the mission;
• Serving as the public face of NWLS and nurturing effective collaborative relationships between NWLS and its clients, funders, bar leaders, private donors, and community, business and civic organizations throughout the service area;
• Holding a vision for NWLS’ future including services to clients, staffing, structure and technology;
• Leading advocacy throughout NWLS and the community to benefit low-income clients;
• Growing and diversifying resources to support NWLS’s work;
• Effectively managing leadership development, succession, retention and recruitment throughout NWLS.

About NWLS

Founded in 1969, for five decades NWLS has served communities in the ten northwestern counties of Pennsylvania: Cameron, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Venango and Warren. This geographic area is approximately the size of the state of New Jersey. The counties are primarily rural. The NWLS administrative office is located in Erie, the largest city in the service area and the fourth largest city in Pennsylvania. NWLS has five other offices, in Bradford, Farrell, Franklin, Meadville and Warren.

NWLS serves a client population of 128,000 people. Its current operating budget is $1.8 million. It receives funds from the Legal Services Corporation, the Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers Trust Account Board (IOLTA), Pennsylvania Legal Services, a number of smaller grants, and private funding. NWLS currently employs a staff of 28, including 12 attorneys, 3 paralegals and 13 administrative and support staff.

NWLS provides services in a wide range of matters including public benefits, family law, housing, health care, education, and employment, using direct representation, private attorney involvement programs, a telephone advice program, self-help and pro se clinics, and community education. More than 3000 cases are closed each year.

More about NWLS’ service area:
Erie, Pennsylvania is located on the shore of Lake Erie. The most frequently used park in Pennsylvania, Presque Isle, is located in Erie and offers such recreation as swimming, boating, water skiing and hiking. Northwestern Pennsylvania offers a variety of other outdoor activities in its woods and mountains. Erie is located within a 120 mile radius of Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. Erie and its largest neighbors are host to many cultural and sporting events.


The successful Executive Director candidate must:
• Demonstrate a passion for the mission of NWLS and a commitment to serving low-income individuals and families;
• Hold a Juris Doctorate degree and be a member in good standing with the Pennsylvania Bar, or obtain membership upon employment;
• Have practiced law;
• Be an experienced manager and supervisor 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;
• Exhibit an affinity for and successful experience in resource development;
• Have experience working productively with an engaged Board of Directors;
• Possess excellent oral and written communication skills;
• Possess personal attributes which include civility, positivity, respect, good listening skills and the ability to motivate others;
• Have experience serving rural populations, in a multi-office organization preferred.

To apply: 

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. In order to receive full consideration, candidates are urged to submit their materials by March 2, 2018. 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 [email protected] in Microsoft Word or pdf format.

Northwestern Legal Services is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We offer liberal benefits. NWLS 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, [email protected] Candidates with questions about the position or process are encouraged to contact her. For more information about Northwestern Legal Services, visit www.nwls.org.
Salary range: 
Salary depends on experience based on a competitive public interest salary scale.
Submission deadline: 
Friday, March 16, 2018