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Chief Operating Officer, Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs

Washington, DC
Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
Chief Operating Officer
Washington, DC
About the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs works to create legal, economic, and social equity through litigation, client and public education, and public policy advocacy with a primary focus on racial justice. For more than 50 years, the Committee has been on the cutting edge of civil rights advocacy in the region bringing precedent setting litigation to address discrimination. Our work focuses on injustices in housing, employment, the criminal legal system, education, public accommodations, and civil rights of immigrants. We partner with individuals and communities facing discrimination and with the legal community to achieve justice.
The Committee prioritizes systemic reform litigation and advocacy. While it does engage in limited direct service, that work is designed to advance its change agenda through identification of high impact cases, case aggregation strategies, and community education. In addition, the Committee works in partnership with community-based and grassroots organizations that are led by members of impacted communities.

The Committee has an annual budget of $4.5 million, an engaged Board of Directors, and a talented staff of 30 professionals working collaboratively in a matrixed environment with a push toward a cross discipline team equipped to partner, defend, fight for, and litigate for our region’s communities. The Committee’s staff is unionized and negotiating its first contract.

For more information on the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, please go to www.washlaw.org.

Position Summary
Reporting to the Executive Director, serving as a key member of the Leadership Team, and working closely with leaders and staff across the organization, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) will provide leadership and daily management of Washington Lawyers’ Committee’s HR, administrative, IT, and compliance functions, and will oversee finance in close collaboration with the CFO. The COO will also be a crucial steward of the organization’s culture and values, working with leadership and staff to center racial equity across internal systems, policies, and processes. The COO manages the CFO, a finance consultant, a technology consultant, and the receptionist.

The ideal candidate is an experienced operations leader who brings passion for the mission of Washington Lawyers’ Committee and experience practicing and animating organizational values of diversity, equity and inclusion. They will also have experience as a cross-functional leader with a record of implementing solutions to the HR, operations, IT, financial, and day-to-day administrative needs of a justice-focused organization.

  • Partner with the Executive Director, Leadership Team, and staff to foster and cultivate a culture that promotes the organization’s values and reflects its deep commitment to racial equity and justice
  • In collaboration with the CFO, optimize Washington Lawyers’ finance and accounting policies, financial controls, and compliance systems; implement policies and procedures that model best practices in each of these areas
  • Lead initiatives in organizational management, performance management, and leadership development
  • Develop and strengthen internal and external relationships among the leadership team and the organization’s staff
  • Own the vision and accountability for the organization’s Human Resources functions
  • Advise the Executive Director regarding opportunities for continuous improvement of the organization’s fiscal function and performance    
  • Develop and implement the IT strategy across the organization ensuring that the necessary systems, security protocols, and policies are in place to provide best-in-class IT infrastructure supporting the organization’s goals
  • Oversee the organization’s compliance responsibilities, implementing policies and systems to ensure the organization adheres to all relevant regulations
  • Identify and operationalize opportunities for organizational efficiency
Desired Qualifications 
Strong candidates for this role will bring a diverse set of experiences, skills, abilities, and leadership qualities. Washington Lawyers’ Committee understands that no single candidate will have every skill and bring all of the experiences listed below.  Washington Lawyers’ is focused on a holistic view of potential candidates and actively seeks interest from candidates with a wide range of professional and lived experiences, especially those from historically underrepresented groups.
  • Passion for Washington Lawyers’ mission and prior experience working in justice-focused nonprofit organizations strongly preferred
  • Inspiring team leader with the ability to collaborate with diverse teams and who prioritizes building authentic and respectful relationships with all colleagues within an organization
  • Ability to steward organizational culture through a racial equity lens
  • Experience managing organizational financial activity and systems, including budgeting, multi-year forecasting, modeling, accounting, and reporting and skilled in navigating complex nonprofit compliance and risk management issues
  • Experience managing human resources including hiring, onboarding, off-boarding, and benefits
  • Effective and persuasive communicator, strong interpersonal skills, and the ability to communicate and collaborate with a broad range of audiences
  • Possesses unquestionable personal and professional integrity, unwavering commitment to equity, and a growth mindset
  • Knowledge of innovative technology systems for operations management strongly preferred
  • Experience working with unionized staff and collective bargaining agreements is a plus
  • Experience working closely with development departments on organizational marketing and branding is a plus
  • Bachelor’s degree required or 10+ years operational leadership expertise with demonstrated experience in human resource management, financial and operational oversight, and administrative functions
Compensation for this position is $163,000 and includes generous leave and employer-funded benefits.

How to Apply
Washington Lawyers’ Committee has retained the executive search firm LeaderFit to lead this search.  Interested candidates should submit a resume and brief cover letter.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis and the position will remain open until filled.

The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs is an equal opportunity employer. Diversity is an essential component of the Committee, and we encourage all qualified persons to apply. Applicants are accorded an equal opportunity for selection without regard to actual or perceived race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibility, personal appearance, matriculation, or political affiliation.
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