Deputy Legal & Advocacy Director
Maryland Legal Aid
August 3, 2023
Maryland Legal Aid (MLA) announces an exciting opportunity for two full-time Deputy Legal & Advocacy Directors. MLA is seeking experienced and committed advocates to join MLA’s legal leadership team and help develop and drive our vital, groundbreaking legal & policy efforts on behalf of vulnerable, low-income Marylanders.
About Maryland Legal Aid
Serving the people of Maryland for over 100 years, Maryland Legal Aid (MLA) is a statewide, nonprofit law firm and the largest provider of free, civil legal services to people experiencing poverty. From its 12 offices throughout the state, MLA employs more than 260 total staff and handles cases addressing the most fundamental needs of its clients, including family, housing, income support, healthcare, employment, and consumer law. MLA also represents children in CINA (Child in Need of Assistance) proceedings and other vulnerable populations, including homeowners facing foreclosure, migrant and seasonal farm workers, people with developmental and mental health disabilities, nursing home and assisted living residents, and veterans seeking benefits. MLA’s Community Lawyering Initiative, which includes its Lawyer in the Library program, provides advice and assistance with expungement of criminal records and other vital civil legal matters through community-based clinics.
MLA provides direct legal assistance and advocacy for clients in a variety of civil issues, such as: fighting unlawful evictions; advocating for improvement of substandard housing; acquiring critical health care; obtaining disability and other income assistance; maintaining custody of children and obtaining, preserving, or increasing child support; preventing foreclosures or mitigating their effects; recovering unpaid wages; remedying fraudulent sales practices and predatory contracts; restoring utilities; dealing with debts and debt collectors; obtaining unemployment benefits; obtaining protection against domestic violence; securing educational services; expunging criminal records to remove barriers to obtaining housing, employment, child custody, and a driver’s license; and more.
Reporting to the Chief Legal & Advocacy Director, who heads MLA’s roughly 200-person Legal Department, the Deputies will help drive and support MLA’s legal program across the state. With a focus on litigation, the Deputies will support and supervise MLA’s legal leadership and staff to provide high quality, impactful, trauma-informed individual legal assistance and representation, while identifying opportunities for broader impact and systemic change. Through a combination of creative legal and policy advocacy, the Deputies will assure our clients receive excellent individual representation all while moving the state closer to the goal of eradicating poverty, ending systemic racism, and lifting up the lives and hopes of our clients and their communities in the state.
Below are the duties and responsibilities for the Deputy Legal & Advocacy Directors:
Work creatively and collaboratively with the other Deputy, the Chief Legal & Advocacy Director, the Advocacy Directors, the Executive Team, and MLA’s Chiefs and Supervising Attorneys to develop, support, and drive MLA’s case and advocacy priorities.
In collaboration with the Advocacy Directors and other subject matter experts, develop and lead MLA’s policy program, including legislative, rulemaking, public awareness, and enforcement efforts.
Supervise and support legal staff across the state, primarily those in management roles.
Mentor, support, and provide legal, ethical, and strategic advice to attorneys and staff at all levels.
Employ data-driven approaches to develop and recommend strategies to enhance MLA’s work, particularly around enhancing long-term outcomes for clients and communities.
Help develop and implement Maryland Legal Aid’s Strategic Plan, to be finalized in 2024, into all aspects of program advocacy.
Assist in grant proposal development and reporting including program evaluation and compliance efforts.
Ensure completion of required administrative tasks, including leave and training request approvals, case closings, time entry, and travel reimbursements.
Handle escalated client complaints.
Support and collaborate with the MLA union, which includes all staff attorneys and paralegals, and participate as needed in collective bargaining agreement negotiations and other union-required activities.
Support Maryland Legal Aid’s participation with pro bono and private attorneys to provide legal services to qualified clients.
Support Maryland Legal Aid’s participation in community outreach efforts in Maryland communities.
Work collaboratively with MLA partners to coordinate legal and other essential services and advocate for our clients and communities.
Participate in the planning, development, and delivery of trainings for lawyers and staff in substantive law areas and skill development.
Serve as a public face of MLA, including in court, at conferences, in policy making settings, in the media, and in the community.
The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:
JD from an accredited law school.
Current Bar membership in good standing from any state. If licensed to practice in another state, a commitment to obtain licensure in Maryland after hire.
Federal and state litigation experience, including with appeals and with leading multi-member litigation teams. Experience in areas of practice covered by MLA highly desirable.
At least seven years’ litigation, legal policy, and/or law firm experience, with experience in low-income legal services, civil rights, and/or appellate litigation preferred.
Significant supervisory experience with the ability to motivate, advise, coach, and give constructive feedback to staff at all levels.
A genuine passion and deep commitment for the mission of Maryland Legal Aid and a vision for the delivery of legal services, leadership and mentoring of legal staff, collaborative communications, and union relations.
Demonstrated experience developing effective legal strategies and delivering results, establishing realistic objectives, and evaluating progress.
Significant experience effectively using current technology and remote communications to supervise and, at times, co-counsel, with staff located in multiple offices.
Exceptional written and oral communication skills
The ability to partner with a team of professionals across offices.
Experience advocating for policy reform at the federal, state and/or local level.
Demonstrated skills in managing, leading, and motivating a high-performing legal team.
Willingness to spend time and travel to our offices across the state.
Excellent leadership, empathy, and communications skills.
The salary range for this position is $100,000 – $130,000. In addition, MLA provides employees with a generous benefits package that includes flexible/hybrid work schedules; health, dental, vision, and life insurance; a 401(k)-retirement plan; 4-weeks paid time off; paid sick leave; 14 annual paid holidays; and more!
Employment at MLA qualifies for both the Maryland Janet L. Hoffman Loan Assistance Repayment Program (LARP) and the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.
Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Justice, and Inclusion:
Maryland Legal Aid is committed to diversity, equity, justice and inclusion. As an equal opportunity employer, MLA seeks to hire employees from diverse backgrounds and perspectives that are reflective of the communities we serve, including people with disabilities, people of color, women, and members of traditionally underrepresented groups. MLA also incorporates these principles into our daily work, including how we treat fellow staff, how we operate in coalition and community work, and how we advocate both inside and outside of court.
How To Apply
Apply for Deputy Legal & Advocacy Director using the link below: