View all jobs

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

Washington, DC

About the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs

The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs (the Committee) 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 $5.3 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 executed its first collective bargaining agreement (CBA) signed in 2022 with a staff bargaining unit.

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 Chief Finance Officer (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, an operations specialist, and the receptionist/facilities supervisor.

The ideal candidate is an experienced operations leader who brings passion for the Committee’s mission 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. 



Organizational and Strategic Leadership

  • Partner closely with the Executive Director and Leadership Team members to effectively implement the organization’s strategic vision

  • Own the vision and accountability for designing and implementing best-in-class organizational systems and structures that promote cross-team collaboration and communication

  • Provide strategic advice and recommendations related to organizational growth and structure

  • Ensure effective communication of priority issues and projects and promote organizational learning across all teams

  • Identify and operationalize opportunities for organizational efficiency

People and Culture

  • 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

  • Lead, mature and fully integrate all aspects of the Committee’s people functions, ensuring the organization is best positioned to attract, recruit, and retain top talent required to meet its mission

  • Cultivate and strengthen internal and external relationships among the Leadership Team and the organization’s staff

  • Lead initiatives in organizational management, performance management, and leadership development

Financial Management

  • In collaboration with the CFO, optimize the Committee’s finance and accounting policies, financial controls, and compliance systems; implement policies and procedures that model best practices in each of these areas

  • Advise the Executive Director regarding opportunities for continuous improvement of the organization’s fiscal function and performance   

  • Support the Board Finance and Investment Committees and staff the Board Executive Committee in its work on senior staff compensation; provide financial reports and advice to the Board Finance, Investment, Development, and Executive Committees

  • Liaise between the external investment portfolio manager and the Board Finance and Investment Committees, ensuring alignment with the Committee’s investment policy, recommending changes to investment policies, and managing a consolidated organizational budget of $5.33 million; use financial analyses to provide insight into operations and business plans and to make projections for sustainability and risk management

  • Represent the organization externally in banking and lease operations  

Operations and IT

  • Oversee the IT function and ensure the ongoing maintenance and updating of systems and architecture to effectively serve the organization's internal and mission-facing needs

  • Oversee the organization’s risk management and compliance responsibilities, implementing policies and systems to ensure the organization adheres to all relevant regulations, the CBA, and federal and DC employment laws

  • Ensure that office operations (reception, security, supplies procurement) and maintenance of the physical office work effectively and smoothly

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. The Committee 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

  • Deep knowledge of nonprofit finance and accounting regulations and investment and risk strategies, with demonstrated ability to translate financial information and concepts for staff and Board members

  • 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

Washington Lawyers’ Committee offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes 403b and 401k retirement plans, medical, dental, and vision insurance, paid annual leave and federal holidays, and professional development funding. A salary of $174,000 will be provided to the successful candidate, consistent with WLC’s compensation framework. As required by the IRS, compensation for this position (salary and benefits combined) is listed on the organization’s 990.

Additional Information

The Committee’s office is located in downtown Washington, D.C. Under the Committee’s hybrid policy, all staff work in the office every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, with an option to telework on Monday and Friday. We continue to monitor public health guidance and keep safety and science top of mind. 

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.

Share This Job

Powered by