Page Hero

Hero Image

Executive Director

NACDL has grown to be one of the nation’s most prominent organizations dedicated to reforming flaws and inequities in the criminal legal system and redressing systemic racism. The Executive Director will have the opportunity to work with a motivated, professional, and passionate Board of Directors, engaged members, and a committed professional staff to ensure that NACDL remains sustainable and continues to expand its local, state, and national presence. The Executive Director will help transition NACDL to new levels of achievement in a rapidly changing and challenging legal environment.

REPORT TO:  Board of Directors
LOCATION:  Washington, D.C.

Vision

NACDL envisions a society where all individuals receive fair, rational, and humane treatment within the criminal justice system.

Mission

The mission of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is to serve as a leader, alongside diverse coalitions, in identifying and reforming flaws and inequities in the criminal justice system, and redressing systemic racism, and ensuring that its members and others in the criminal defense bar are equipped to serve all accused persons at the highest level.

About NACDL

NACDL is the leading national criminal bar association comprised of all facets of the criminal defense bar. NACDL is committed to enhancing the capacity of the criminal defense bar to safeguard fundamental constitutional rights and to fight against racial inequality and disparity in the criminal legal system. The organization harnesses the diverse views and forward-looking viewpoints of its members to advocate for policy and practice improvements in all areas of the criminal legal system. It does so in collaboration with a wide range of partners from across the ideological spectrum who share a commitment to core constitutional principles and promoting criminal justice reform.

Since its founding in 1958, NACDL has supported its membership of criminal defense lawyers at all stages of their career, through a multi-faceted approach to promote professional development. NACDL provides widely acclaimed continuing legal education, a vast compendium of resources, policy advocacy, and pro bono opportunities.

NACDL has a strong network of criminal defense lawyers and criminal legal advocates across the United States, all of whom embody a commitment to the principle that all accused persons deserve zealous and effective representation and share a commitment to pursing fundamental reforms to combat over- criminalization, mass incarceration, racial, ethnic, and economic disparity, and to rein in prosecutorial overreach. Additionally, NACDL’s more than 90 affiliate organizations in the United States and throughout the world share NACDL’s determination to ensure justice and due process for those accused of crime, improve the integrity, independence, and expertise of the criminal defense profession, and promote a more fair and rational approach to crime and punishment.

For a comprehensive description of NACDL’s work, see the accompanying addendum.

The Opportunity

NACDL has grown to be one of the nation’s most prominent organizations dedicated to reforming flaws and inequities in the criminal legal system and redressing systemic racism. Based in Washington, D.C, the organization consists of approximately 8,500 members across the United States along with 90+ affiliates.

The next Executive Director (ED) will have the opportunity to work with a motivated, professional, and passionate Board of Directors, engaged members, and a committed professional staff to ensure that NACDL remains sustainable and continues to expand its local, state, and national presence. The Executive Director will help transition NACDL to new levels of achievement in a rapidly changing and challenging legal environment.

Reporting to a 47-member Board of Directors and managing a budget of approximately $8.5M, the Executive Director serves as Chief Executive Officer and is responsible for the administrative and personnel management of approximately 45 committed and professional staff. The Executive Director also serves as the leader of the NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice (NFCJ) which has an 11 member Board of Trustees, as well as acting as the publisher of The Champion, NACDL’s renowned journal which offers timely, informative articles written for and by defense lawyers, featuring the latest developments in Fourth Amendment law, challenging faulty forensic science, defense of white-collar cases, challenging false confessions and eyewitness identifications, bail reform and risk assessments, jury selection, mental health and disabilities defenses, Brady litigation, sentencing advocacy, the defense of capital cases, and more. The Champion, published ten times per year, is considered to be a highly valued NACDL member benefit.

Recognizing this critical moment, the next Executive Director will raise the profile and visibility of NACDL’s important work, expanding a strong national media presence in order to become the go-to organization on criminal justice issues. A renewed focus on diversifying membership, member engagement, technology, and developing innovative ways to target mission-focused efforts towards “added value” for all members will be key.

The Executive Director will assure that best efforts are made toward accomplishing the strategic plan and achieving constructive growth for the organization including diversifying revenue streams, planning, budget development and management, development of programs and events, and building and maintaining relationships key to NACDL’s members and future success.

Successful performance will be weighted on collaborating and leveraging benefits throughout the organization and its 90+ affiliates. The national, state, district and local organizations will work together to serve members’ needs at all levels.

The next Executive Director will strengthen internal and external communications regarding focus and methods to build relationships and collective impact. The individual will invest in leadership development of NACDL’s staff, Officers and Board to maximize the organization’s ability to promote to crucial criminal justice reform. The next leader will be able to make deliberate strides in establishing an internal culture of both transparency and accountability, so that all staff, Officers, Board, and members of NACDL can dedicate their efforts towards attaining the goal of criminal and social justice for all.

For a detailed description of NACDL, see Addendum A. Or visit www.nacdl.org.

Candidate Profile

Passion for the Mission of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

The next leader of NACDL is a proven, accomplished leader who exhibits passion for the mission of the organization and a desire to make a positive difference in the lives of those impacted by the criminal legal system, as well as in the lives of NACDL’s membership. The ideal candidate is committed to harnessing the potential of a vast array of volunteers in service to NACDL’s vision and mission.

Vision, Management Acumen, Strong Communication Skills

In partnership with the Officers and Board of Directors, the next Executive Director casts a vision of NACDL’s work at the intersection of systemic racism and reforming the criminal legal system. The ideal candidate provides direction to the Officers, Board, staff and Trustees, and creates a collaborative  atmosphere throughout the organization. This individual possesses exceptional management abilities, highlighted by a track record of high-level program administration, business and financial acumen, exceptional written and verbal communication skills, comfort and facility with public speaking, and a demonstrated presence within the criminal justice field.

Strategic and Collaborative Planning Skills

NACDL’s next Executive Director will lead the organization to fulfill its strategic priorities and to establish a system of periodic review. This individual is a strategic thinker and problem-solver without seeking or desiring to solve problems on their own. A healthy and intentional reliance on staff and volunteers (including Officers and Board members) is required. The individual demonstrates effective management approaches in building consensus, identifying solutions to multi-faceted problems, and acting with decisiveness.

Board Relations and Governance

The candidate develops strong partnerships with Officers, members of the Board of Directors, multiple highly-engaged committees, and the NFCJ’s Board of Trustees, with a mutual interest in furthering the mission and increasing the organization’s scope of outreach and influence. A track record of successfully engaging with an active and participative governing Board must be evident. The Executive Director l maintains a climate of trust in all leadership and Board-related matters, as well as a learning environment that encourages active engagement by the Board in pursuit of organizational effectiveness.

Ability to Establish Positive Organizational Culture of Transparency and Teamwork

The ideal candidate demonstrates an ability to firmly establish a positive organizational culture of mutual respect, cross-system communication, and teamwork. The candidate also encourages and pursues an environment of integrity, transparency and service, and appreciates and acknowledges the work of NACDL’s dedicated staff, while advancing their professional excellence. Other core skills are evident in seeking diverse views and perspectives, building consensus, and acting with integrity.

Fundraising

The ideal candidate demonstrates fundraising success and the ability to strategize around revenue generation and diversification, through active solicitation of contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations, and through development of a supportive, diverse Board of Directors and trustees.

A J.D. is highly preferred, but not required. Current or prior experience in the criminal justice arena, including but not limited to policy work, teaching, grant writing surrounding the criminal justice arena, or some form of criminal justice advocacy is essential.

To apply, please submit a current resume and letter of introduction to Kittleman & Associates, LLC at https://bit.ly/3938nEz (click on the Apply button at the bottom of the page). Application deadline March 3rd, 2021.

For more information about the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, visit www.nacdl.org.

The National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is an equal opportunity employer. NACDL provides equal opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, citizenship status, veteran status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, genetic information, disability, matriculation or political affiliation or any other protected classification which may be applicable under the law of the particular state or locality in which you are applying for employment. No question on this application is used for the purpose of limiting or excluding any applicant from consideration for employment on a basis prohibited by local, state, or federal law. Equal access to employment, services, and programs is available to all persons. Those applicants requiring reasonable accommodation to the application and/or interview process should notify a representative of the organization.