Executive Director of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) is one of the nation’s largest and most effective providers of legal services to low-income communities. After enjoying stable leadership for more than forty years, TRLA now seeks a new Executive Director.

TRLA provides free, comprehensive civil legal services to the low-income residents of 68 counties in Southwest Texas, from Austin to the Rio Grande River, and to migrant and seasonal farm workers throughout Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. In addition, TRLA is the provider of civil legal assistance to survivors of sexual assault and harassment in 114 counties in Northwest Texas. TRLA also operates a regional public defender program in several rural counties in South Texas, providing representation, including appeals, to persons accused of felonies, misdemeanors, and juvenile cases. TRLA represents 20,000 clients annually, including individuals, families, and organizations.

TRLA is the second largest grantee of the Legal Services Corporation, fielding 170 lawyers and a similar number of support staff in 18 offices from El Paso, Texas to Nashville, Tennessee. It provides direct legal representation in courts and administrative agencies, both state and federal, and engages in legal clinics, community legal education, and outreach. TRLA’s focus has always been litigation. TRLA has earned an excellent national reputation for the scope and impact of its efforts, particularly for its representation of migrant and seasonal farm workers.

Because TRLA serves the entire Texas-Mexico border region, 80% of the clients served are Hispanic, and 32% prefer to communicate in the Spanish language. So TRLA emphasizes hiring bilingual staff to engage clients without language barriers. TRLA also operates in a world where poverty is extreme. Four of the poorest metropolitan areas in the United States are in TRLA’s service area: Brownsville-Harlingen (#1), McAllen-Edinburg (#2), El Paso (#6), and Corpus Christi (#9). Opportunities for creative delivery of legal services are abundant along the Texas-Mexico border, as are challenges.

The Executive Director will lead the organization in its provision of both civil and public defender legal services, reporting directly to TRLA’s Board of Directors. The Executive Director will manage an annual budget of roughly $35 million and ensure compliance with grant conditions. The Executive Director will be responsible for collaborative efforts with grantors, the legal services community, and the private bar. The Executive Director will be responsible for all recruiting, hiring, training, and staff leadership. And the Executive Director will perform this work in a politically challenging environment, always seeking to maximize the impact that can be obtained using limited resources that are available to TRLA.

To qualify, applicants must: (a) be admitted or meet all requirements to be admitted to the Texas Bar; (b) have substantial experience in poverty law, with strong emphasis on serving as lead counsel in relevant litigation; (c) have demonstrated capacity to lead and inspire staff who believe in the mission of justice for the poor; and (d) be capable of representing TRLA publicly in a way that maintains TRLA’s stature in both the legal and client communities as a diligent defender of the rights of the poor as they seek equal access to justice.

Position Location: The applicant’s preferred location within TRLA’s primary service area will be one consideration in the selection process.

To Apply: Send a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications together with your résumé and two references to employment@trla.org. The search is being led by a committee appointed by TRLA’s Board of Directors, which includes current and former board members and senior staff. Contacting individual members of the search committee regarding the search is discouraged. Instead, please direct any questions to employment@trla.org TRLA is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Ability to speak Spanish is preferred.

Submission Deadline: Extended to November 1, 2017

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