Executive Director

Location Baltimore, MD 21201
Date Posted December 03, 2021
Job ID 6951
Employment Type Retained
Scion Executive Search ( has been retained to conduct a search for the new Executive Director for Maryland Legal Aid (MLA), a well-established and nationally recognized nonprofit, whose mission is to provide high-quality legal services to the State’s low-income population through a mix of services, and to bring about the changes indigent people need in the systems that affect them. This position provides the successful applicant with an incredible executive career opportunity to drive impact in the legal services space on behalf of marginalized and vulnerable communities across Maryland, and beyond!
This impactful full-time executive leadership opportunity is for immediate hire. Long term, this position is based on-site at MLA’s Headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland. During the Covid-19 pandemic, this role will leverage remote and in-person meetings.
                                                                                                          ABOUT MARYLAND LEGAL AID:
Since 1911, MLA has provided high-quality legal services to low-income and marginalized individuals and communities, to help them address their civil legal issues. MLA is dedicated to preserving the basic human needs and human rights of clients, particularly as they navigate the justice system. In the process, MLA’s goal is to empower clients to overcome challenges, achieve stability, secure independence and achieve an overall better life. Focus areas for MLA include: housing, healthcare, child custody, domestic violence, employment and other civil legal areas.
MLA pioneered the Community Lawyering Initiative (CLI), which has served as a template nation-wide, whereby MLA lawyers provide critical civil legal services in the neighborhoods in which their client population lives and works. CLI provides legal assistance to underserved communities in unconventional locations such as libraries, community centers and places of worship, empowering people to overcome barriers in employment, housing, health care, childcare and child custody. The Maryland Center for Legal Assistance (MCLA) is a wholly owned subsidiary of MLA. Through a contract with the Administrative Office of the Courts, MCLA operates five (5) District Court Self Help Resource Center walk-in centers and two (2) call in centers.
MLA’s clients have been able to break cycles of poverty and abuse: remove barriers to finding employment: complete education and maintain stable homes for themselves and their children. 106,846 Marylanders received civil legal assistance from MLA in 2019!
Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director is a visionary, highly motivational and proactive leader who publicly embraces and represents the mission and goals of MLA. This leader fosters program innovation; broadens external relationships; seeks continual funding and supervises an engaged, productive internal team. Overseeing 300+ staff members and an annual budget of over $30M, the Executive Director is responsible for all aspects of the administration and operation of the organization. The ideal candidate is a leader with strong business and leadership acumen who can build upon and expand the organization’s reach and visibility externally while establishing internal infrastructure and people-related strategies to support these goals.
Leveraging strong speaking skills and the ability to engage with people of all backgrounds, the Executive Director drives procurement of funding from various stakeholders by illustrating the impact of – and need for – MLA’s services in the community. This role powerfully advocates for systemic changes needed on behalf of impoverished and marginalized people, regularly engaging with citizens’ advisory groups, legislators, the courts, judicial leaders, Bar Associations, private and public attorneys, social agencies, other legal services programs and more. Additionally, the Executive Director inspires and coalesces staff across the organization’s 12 Maryland offices around its mission, empowering each to engage with its clients based on the locale’s needs.
Key focuses of this role will be:
  • Provide inspirational leadership that maintains and/or increases impact and ensures the mission of MLA is fully realized.
  • Lead expansion of funding on behalf of the organization to support greater service provision to clients.
  • Provide more accessible services to impoverished individuals and families in the context of the pandemic, including innovative approaches to service provision and adapting operations to support these changes.
  • Energize, mentor, and engage internal staff around the central mission of the organization, understanding the varying needs of clients across the four major regions of Maryland.

With the mission ever-top-of-mind, the Executive Director will set the tone for MLA’s continued growth, innovation, impact and long-term financial stability in Maryland. This executive leadership role is best suited for a candidate who is skilled at – and enjoys – driving external engagement, fund development and internal operational and organizational management. This is an incredible opportunity to make a true impact in the lives of Maryland community members and further grow an established, impactful nonprofit organization.
MLA’s Executive Director is responsible for oversight of the overall administration, strategy, and management of the organization’s programs and services. Consistent with the policy set by the Board of Directors and in collaboration with the leadership team, the Executive Director will drive MLA's goals while ensuring a unified and positive organizational culture. The Executive Director role is externally focused on maintaining close relationships with the legislature and other institutions whose missions align with MLA’s to continually create avenues of growth. The Executive Director is tasked in that regard with leading and supporting implementation of systems and processes to support growth and organizational impact.
Fundraising and External Relations:
The Executive Director takes the lead on funding and fundraising initiatives for all the organization’s programs. This individual will identify, cultivate, build and solidify relationships with new and established contributing organizations and individuals and implement innovative strategies to attract additional funding. Adapting to changing community needs and creating new funding sources will be key. The Executive Director will build on MLA’s value proposition and actively identify and seize on opportunities to market MLA’s work, mission and impact while effectively representing the organization and promoting a positive organizational image. Working as a connector and advocate, this leader will liaise between the communities served by MLA and the organization, funders, lawmakers and other key stakeholders. The Executive Director will develop organizational strategy and infrastructure to best support growth and effectively anticipate future funding changes. This person will also ensure Agency compliance with program grant requirements. Building upon the existing community network of nonprofit and government partnerships, this leader will advance MLA’s mission, vision, and growth goals.
Organizational Leadership:
The Executive Director will provide thoughtful and visionary leadership that is inclusive, transparent and empowering in a manner that supports and guides the organization's mission as defined by the Board of Directors. This individual will inspire a service-oriented, professional, results-driven environment across the organization steeped in the mission and focused on increased impact.
Growth and Strategy:
The Executive Director will oversee, manage and grow the organization’s affairs (budget of over $30 million annually). In collaboration with the Board and established consultants, this leader will develop a long-range strategic plan, goals and associated work plans to drive MLA’s mission, vision, and presence in Maryland.
Financial Stewardship:
This role will collaborate with the finance team and propose to the Board of Directors an annual budget and work plan that specifies the programs and activities that further MLA’s mission, including the resources necessary to carry out these functions and annual measurable objectives. This role will also actively engage in complex fiscal management through hands on budgetary development and oversight; routinely report performance and financial activities to the Board.
People/Talent Strategies:
The Executive Director will value and nurture MLA’s employees, foster a collaborative working environment, encourage professional development and champion accountability amongst staff. This leader will build relationships and trust and empower internal leadership and staff through providing clear vision, transparency, expectations, evaluation and accountability around performance. Additionally, the Executive Director will actively participate in the selection, training, and evaluation of key personnel and ensure compliance across all human resources, labor and other regulations, working to establish and interpret policy and procedure.
Internal Operations:
The Executive Director will build on and evolve existing organizational infrastructure and information technology to support and promote strategy and goal achievement. This includes effectively anticipating operational changes and planning for continued growth. This individual will ensure all aspects of operations align with the established organizational mission, values, and growth goals.
Board Relations and Development:
The Executive Director will establish and maintain effective working relationships with the Board of Directors, including client Board members, and serve as chief liaison to the Board, including facilitating agenda setting, Board member orientation and proactive communication. This role will also provide, upon request, prospects for potential new additions to the Board who align with MLA’s Board member makeup requirements and would benefit the organization.
  • A deeply mission-driven advocate for the civil legal rights and overall human rights of low-income persons.
  • Experience working in legal aid services or highly similar work.
  • 5 years or more leadership experience in a complex organization with 50 employees. Substantial leadership experience in a successful legal aid services program or similar organization a plus.
  • Active Bar license. If not in MD, ability to secure in the state within first year. 
  • Knowledgeable of court practice and procedure, along with a general understanding of the law handled by Maryland Legal Aid.
  • Demonstrated record of accomplishment and/or passion for fundraising.
  • Ability to effectively manage, empower and mentor experienced internal leaders.
  • A collaborative approach paired with strong decision-making skills and ability to lead a large, complex, multi-site organization.
  • Ability to establish and maintain positive partnerships. 
  • Excellent communication and public speaking skills; ability to inspire the trust and confidence of the organization, public and client communities.
  • An entrepreneurial, innovative and enthusiastic spirit.
  • Demonstrated experience in budgeting, compliance, finance and fiscal controls.
  • High level of ethical conduct.
This incredible executive opportunity offers the ability to make significant impact on the direction, health and sustainability of Maryland Legal Aid and its provision of compassionate quality legal services in Maryland.
This exciting role offers a highly competitive salary and a substantial benefits package including employer subsidized health insurance, employer-sponsored life insurance, short term disability (STD) and long term disability (LTD), flexible savings account (FSA), 401(k) retirement plan and generous vacation and sick time.
This is an opportunity, position and mission that will inspire you daily!
Maryland Legal Aid has retained the services of Scion Executive Search, a national executive search firm specializing in mission-driven organization recruitment, to assist in conducting this important search. For immediate consideration please apply with your resume and cover letter, in Microsoft Word format if possible, via:
Please address questions about this opportunity to:
Scion Executive Search
Attn: Rebecca Lerol
Executive Search Principal
Review of applications, nominations, and expressions of interest will begin immediately and continue on a confidential basis until an appointment is made.
Scion Executive Search ( is a national award-winning executive search firm! Since 2006, we have had the pleasure of successfully placing hundreds of exceptional leaders to organizations with incredible missions and programs. Through our innovative team building and recruitment solutions, we seamlessly bridge the gap in interim and executive searches. Our track record and recruitment process has made us one of the top recruitment firms in the nation.

We are proud to be part of the Forbes lists of the Best Executive Search Firms and the Best Recruitment Firms in America. Additionally, we have been recognized as a recruitment leader by ClearlyRated, as well as a top recruitment firm by The Business Times for over ten years running. More information about Scion Executive Search can be found at

Scion Executive Search, a division of Scion Staffing, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer and service provider and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, gender identity, national origin, citizenship status, sexual orientation, disability, political affiliation or belief, or any other protected class. We are committed to the principles of Equal Opportunity Employment and are dedicated to making employment decisions based on merit and value, for ourselves, our client companies, and for the candidates we represent. We are committed to the principles of Equal Opportunity Employment and are dedicated to making employment decisions based on merit and value, for ourselves, our client companies, and for the candidates we represent. For opportunities located in a region that have enacted fair chance, arrest or conviction-based employment ordinances, Scion Executive Search proactively follows the enacted guidance and considers for employment all qualified applications with arrest and conviction records. We believe in following best practices and considering all qualified applicants that apply with us.

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