VOLS Seeks Executive Director

December 15, 2017

We seek a dynamic Executive Director with strong leadership, management, fundraising and communication skills to lead our organization's efforts to provide pro bono legal assistance to low-income New Yorkers.

VOLS' History, Mission and Projects

In 1984 the leaders of the New York City bar founded VOLS in response to the crisis caused by Reagan-era budget cuts to funding for legal services.  For 33 years, our mission has been to leverage the good will, resources, and talents of New York City's leading law firms and corporate legal departments to provide pro bono legal assistance to low-income New Yorkers.  We accomplish our mission by developing innovative projects that both meet the critical legal needs of low-income New Yorkers and engage and focus the vast pro bono resources available in this city.

With a staff of twelve people, including seven practicing lawyers, we currently operate six pro bono projects: our (1) Children’s Project, (2) Elderly Project, (3) Immigration Project, (4) Incarcerated Mothers Law Project, (5) Microenterprise Project, and (6) Unemployment Insurance Advocacy Project.  Our Project Directors and staff attorneys, who are experts in their fields, recruit and train volunteers, screen and assess new matters, and provide ongoing expert guidance to pro bono lawyers.  To maintain their expertise and to develop the best pro bono matters for volunteers, our lawyers on staff also provide direct legal representation to clients.  Beyond engaging individual volunteer lawyers in serving individual clients, we also 1) build institutional capacity within our participating firms and corporations and 2) engage in policy advocacy in areas affecting our the populations we serve.

Our model is very efficient.  In 2016 our staff enabled 1,000 volunteer lawyers from 50 leading firms and corporations to provide pro bono assistance benefitting 3,000 New Yorkers.

Building on this deep and sturdy foundation, VOLS' next Executive Director will lead us in our efforts to innovate and to increase the impact of our programs. 


The Executive Director will be responsible for overall direction, strategy, and management of the organization.

Specifically, the Executive Director will:

  • Work closely with VOLS' highly engaged Board of Directors and senior staff to establish shared goals, direction, and a vision for the organization;

  • Build, maintain, and strengthen VOLS' vital network of relationships with law firms, corporations, community-based organizations, government agencies, and foundations;

  • Lead organizational planning, including assessing our projects, aligning our allocation of resources with our mission, and supporting our creative and enthusiastic staff in their efforts to improve our programs and launch new initiatives;

  • Recruit, retain, support, and promote a diverse Board and staff of passionate, expert professionals.

  • Have responsibility for managing our budget and finances, including fundraising and financial reporting;

  • Represent VOLS in the media, at public presentations, in professional associations and on committees, and in communications with other organizations and the community at large; and

  • Promote our work through traditional media, social media, and other channels, and inspire VOLS' staff to do this as well.


We seek a person with a passion for social justice who has significant nonprofit management experience as an Executive Director or senior leader of a program/department at a nonprofit organization.

Specifically, candidates should have:

  • At least ten years of relevant experience, including at least seven years working at a senior level, at a nonprofit organization with a mission of providing free legal services;

  • Experience working with pro bono attorneys at law firms and an understanding of the culture and organization of New York City's firms and their capacities with respect to the provision of pro bono legal services;

  • Experience working as a public interest lawyer, either in providing direct legal assistance to individuals or working on impact litigation;

  • Enthusiasm for engaging lawyers in pro bono service;

  • Familiarity with community-based organizations in New York City and the populations they serve;

  • Experience seeking and securing funding from government agencies, foundations, corporations, and individuals.

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills; and

  • Competence with social media, communications technology, and online databases.


Salary DOE.  VOLS offers an excellent benefits package.

How to Apply

Please send a cover letter and resume to James H.R. Windels, Chair of VOLS Board and Search Committee, at james.windels@davispolk.com by January 15, 2018.

VOLS is an equal opportunity employer, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, nationality, creed, age, disability, sexual orientation, biological sex, gender identity/expression, family status, or any other basis prohibited by law.  We strive to build and maintain a diverse staff, and we encourage candidates of all backgrounds/identities to apply for this position.