Executive Director: Philadelphia VIP

Posted January 17th, 2017 at 9:08 am.

Philadelphia VIP, the hub of pro bono in Philadelphia, recruits, trains, and supports volunteer attorneys who provide free legal services to low-income clients.

POSITION SUMMARY:  Philadelphia VIP has served as the hub of pro bono in Philadelphia since 1981.  Founded by the Philadelphia Bar Association and Community Legal Services, VIP’s mission is to leverage the powerful resources of the community to provide quality volunteer legal services and ensure access to justice for low-income Philadelphians.

VIP is an exemplary non-profit organization led by Sara Woods for the past nine years.  VIP is guided by four key values:  inspiring volunteerism; empowering our volunteers and clients;  commitment to excellence; and collaboration among all sectors of the legal, business, and nonprofit communities.  Having increased its revenue from $600,000 to $1,333,000 since 2007, VIP has a healthy operating position and strategic reserve.  The organization receives funding from diverse sources, including individuals, law firms, corporations, foundations and government sources.

The next Executive Director will lead a dynamic organization that is poised for growth.  VIP has a committed and engaged staff of 16, a 37 member Board of Directors, and an active volunteer corps of over 1,500.  The organization is in the first year of its new strategic plan, after successfully achieving many of the former plan’s objectives and goals.  The next Executive Director will be charged with continuing to focus on achieving excellent outcomes and services for both volunteers and clients.  The Executive Director will empower the staff, engage the board of directors, manage the organization, cultivate and steward donors, and implement a sustainable, ambitious vision for VIP’s success.

OVERVIEW OF VIP:  Philadelphia VIP has a 35-year history of recruiting volunteer lawyers to  provide free legal services to low-income Philadelphians who cannot afford attorneys and who do not qualify for services elsewhere. Created in 1981 as a public-private collaboration between the Philadelphia Bar Association and the public interest legal community, VIP’s mission is to mobilize the private bar to address the rapidly widening justice gap between the legal needs of Philadelphia’s poor and the availability of affordable representation. Today, in an economy that creates even greater distance between who can and cannot afford legal services, VIP has adapted its programs to engage the current generation of volunteer lawyers to meet the evolving legal needs of low-income Philadelphians.

The only organization in Philadelphia whose core work is to recruit, train, support, and match volunteer attorneys with low-income clients, VIP provides volunteers with ongoing case management and technical assistance throughout the life of cases.  Volunteer service through VIP produces outcomes that affect the health, safety and other basic human needs of Philadelphia’s poor. VIP works with other legal aid organizations, law firms, the courts and city agencies to analyze data and to identify, strategize, and implement collective legal remedies.

VIP has developed targeted programs to engage new sources of volunteers and to address specific areas of profound unmet need in Philadelphia, including homeownership, family law, and legal assistance for small businesses and nonprofits. By developing its professional network throughout the city and cultivating its efforts to recruit and retain a corps of highly specialized professionals as volunteers, VIP has earned the role of the “hub of pro bono in Philadelphia.” When lawyers want to volunteer, they reach out to Philadelphia VIP.  VIP is the foremost conduit through which high-need cases are referred to private volunteer attorneys.

For more information about the organization, please see the most recent annual report, audit and 990 at https://www.phillyvip.org/about-us/reports-financials/

QUALIFICATIONS: Pennsylvania Bar License preferred.  Candidate must be a graduate of an accredited law school.  Passion for VIP’s mission and experience assisting low-income clients and pro bono volunteers is preferred.  The ideal candidate is an energetic, goal oriented, team player, with excellent skills in communication (oral and written) and relationship-building, demonstrated interest in supporting volunteers, and a strong commitment to access to justice for underserved communities.  The candidate should be a self-starter, attentive to detail, and successful at managing multiple deadlines. The candidate enjoys working with a close-knit team in a fast-paced office and embraces technology, including leading edge case management systems.  This position is full time and exempt, with generous employee benefits and a great team atmosphere.


Mission and Strategy:

  • In partnership with the Board of Directors, establish and implement a clear vision for the organization;
  • Articulate the goals and objectives and implement the strategy needed to realize the vision;
  • Ensure that all programs hew closely to the vision and mission of the organization and achieve strategic goals.

Board Partnership:

  • Work with the Board to achieve the mission of the organization. Serve as the primary liaison for the staff to the Board;
  • Work with the Board President to set Board meeting agendas to ensure timely communication of program, development, financial and strategic matters;
  • Handle all administrative matters relating to Board meetings; and
  • Create opportunities for Board and Staff interaction on a regular basis to build knowledge of the organization’s programs and key staff.

Communications and External Relations

  • Cultivate relationships with key stakeholders: Philadelphia Bar Association, law firms, community and business leaders, funders, legal services agencies;
  • Build the organization’s profile and brand recognition;
  • Oversee all organization and external communications; and
  • Direct the social media presence of the organization.

General Management: 

  • Recruit, lead, develop, and motivate a qualified staff to achieve program goals;
  • Ensure appropriate systems are in place to facilitate the day to day operations of the organization (program management, development, and administration); and
  • Manage the planning and execution of major events.

Program Oversight:

  • In partnership with the Managing Attorney, oversee legal team to ensure programs align with mission and achieve strategic goals;
  • Demonstrate substantive knowledge of issues and best practices related to legal volunteerism;
  • Serve as a strategic recruiter for all volunteers;
  • Be personally engaged in the delivery of programs and services, including recruitment and retention of volunteers.

Fundraising and Financial Management: 

  • In conjunction with the Board of Directors, serve as the primary fundraiser for the organization;
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of and ability to secure the resources needed to ensure financial sustainability;
  • Develop and implement a rigorous and continuous fundraising plan to meet resource objectives; continually seek new sources of funding and steward all relationships with the utmost care;
  • Manage the budget and ensure the stewardship of organizational financial resources;
  • Ensure appropriate controls and financial systems are in place; and
  • Ensure the timely preparation and filing of all financial and tax-related documents.

Operations Management:

  • In partnership with the Director of Operations, manage the organization’s physical space, infrastructure and assets, including lease negotiations and lease compliance, technology needs and security;
  • Provide guidance on all human resource issues, including developing and administering personnel policies, benefits management, employment practices and handling individual personnel issues; and
  • Ensure sound risk management policies and practices including compliance with applicable laws and securing appropriate types and levels of insurance coverage.

Evaluation and Measurement: 

  • Ensure transparency in all programs and activities;
  • Foster a culture of accountability, evaluation and measurement; and
  • Establish policies and practices for evaluating program performance against stated goals.

DEADLINE: ASAP – submissions will be reviewed on a rolling basis with priority to those received by February 10, 2017.

HOW TO APPLY:  E-mail cover letter and resume to Pranshu Verma, Director of Operations, pverma@phillyvip.org.  Please include salary requirement and potential start date.  No calls, please.


Filed under: Executive Level by Margie DuBrow

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