International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP) seeks Executive Director

ISLP, headquartered in New York City, seeks an experienced, enthusiastic, innovative leader committed to fostering just and accountable development, which is sustainable, supportive of human rights and strengthens the rule of law, with the skills to manage and inspire leading lawyers working pro bono to achieve those ends.

Fifteen years ago, ISLP initiated a new approach to international pro bono. ISLP engages highly experienced lawyers to assist a wide variety of clients. It addresses and resolves complex legal issues and builds local legal capacity, to improve the lives and livelihoods of people in vulnerable communities, transitional economies, and developing or fragile states. Examples include the now-highly imitated transactional support for least-developed countries around natural resource extraction; representing under-served clients in the European Court of Human Rights; legal support to Myanmar’s transition; and commercial law training for African lawyers from underserved and marginalized sectors in collaboration with local bar associations.

ISLP recently completed a strategic review and is looking for leadership to carry forward and expand its unique vision, building on a solid and well-recognized foundation.

About the Organization

Since its founding in 2000, ISLP has sent hundreds of experienced lawyers to work, pro bono, with clients in more than 50 countries through both on-site projects and remote analysis and advice. In 2014 alone, volunteers worked on site in 25 countries. Clients include civil society organizations, least-developed country governments, and other concerned entities where resources are scarce with little or no access to skilled lawyers to help meet important rule of law and development needs. Focus areas are vulnerable communities, natural resources, anti-bribery and corruption, investment, trade & tax, economic and social development, and protection of civil society initiatives.

Experienced ISLP staff assess potential projects from the perspective of social impact, consistent with focus areas, and match project needs. The deep volunteer roster includes leading US, Canadian and European (through affiliate ISLP-UK) lawyers and a growing cohort of global south volunteers. Projects are monitored for effectiveness, drawing on experience to modify approaches, deepen existing programs, and extend ISLP reach.

ISLP’s income is generated from foundation and government grants, law firm and individual donations, and service- and program-related income. ISLP is interested in growing all these sources of support and finding new ones.

ISLP currently has a staff of 13 – nine in New York and four at ISLP-UK.

Duties of the Executive Director

The ED is the public face of ISLP, working closely with numerous partner organizations, government bodies and others to realize the full potential of ISLP, taking advantage of its unique legal resources. Internally, the ED, working with and reporting to the Board, in collaboration with the ISLP-UK Director as appropriate, supervising and working with an extremely able staff, will be responsible for overall organizational strategy, unrestricted and program funding, financial management, overseeing the coordination and implementation of projects, and overseeing the recruitment and selection of volunteers.

Project Development, Coordination and Implementation

The ED will build high-level organizational visibility and passionately promote ISLP’s reputation as a global voice in using pro bono legal services for social justice, directly and through supervision of ISLP staff, including:

  • Outreach to governmental and international organizations engaged in relevant activities, to develop relationships and project ideas;
  • Outreach to potential clients;
  • Outreach to bar associations, law firms, public interest law organizations, governmental law agencies and other parts of the legal community to develop understanding of the ISLP approach, publicize ISLP’s work and recruit experienced volunteer lawyers;
  • Development and follow-up of project ideas, goals and strategies for implementation;
  • Selection of volunteers for particular projects and related logistical and other support for those volunteers;
  • Reporting, monitoring and follow-up after completion of projects.

Fundraising and communication

  • Work closely with Board and staff to enhance ISLP’s development, including unrestricted and project/program funding;
  • Build ISLP communications and public outreach to improve public understanding of ISLP activities and contributions.

Administrative Oversight

  • Ensure the fiscal health of the organization, including budgeting and monitoring of financial performance;
  • Supervise the program and administrative staff;
  • Ensure compliance with reporting and filing requirements;
  • Develop and implement internal administrative systems.

Qualifications and Personal Attributes

The ideal candidate will be a qualified lawyer active in or knowledgeable about international law, economic development or human rights, experienced in the management of non-profit organizations, and familiar with and recognized by the funding community. The ED should have strong writing and interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate to a highly discerning audience. Fundraising is an important part of the position. Experience living and working in a developing country and knowledge of a foreign language are desirable. Applicants must have permission to work in the United States, as ISLP cannot assist in obtaining that permission.

The candidate will

  • Foster open, constructive and collegial relationships and communication between and among ISLP staff, ISLP-UK, the Board, clients, partner organizations, and the legal community, sharing ideas, concerns and commitments for commonly held values and mission objectives;
  • Reinforce ISLP as the preferred place of employment for innovative international pro bono, leading ISLP’s recruiting, training and career development processes for staff professionals and positioning ISLP as the “go to” organization for and about international pro bono;
  • Foster an atmosphere of equal opportunity, and merit-based advancement, mentoring and acting as a strategic leader.

The ideal candidate has an inclusive, consultative management style and temperament to partner with all of ISLP’s stakeholders, and lead the organization, anticipating critical issues, evaluating available options, and implementing decisions promptly and efficiently.

Location: New York

Salary: Commensurate with experience. ISLP provides health insurance and, after the first year of employment, provides a retirement plan with a 5 percent employer contribution.

Deadline for applications: Please submit curriculum vitae and narrative cover letter, including references to by COB November 23, 2015.