Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

  • The Legal Aid Society
  • New York, NY, USA
Full time Other

Job Description

Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
The Legal Aid Society
About The Legal Aid Society
The Legal Aid Society, the nation's oldest and largest nonprofit law firm serving New York City, exists for one simple yet powerful reason: to ensure that no one is denied the right to equal justice because of poverty. For over 140 years, The Legal Aid Society has protected, defended, and advocated for those who have struggled in silence for far too long – working on the front lines and behind the scenes to offer their clients the exceptional legal services they deserve. Through their Civil, Criminal Defense, and Juvenile Rights Practices, The Legal Aid Society offers an unmatched depth and breadth of legal expertise to vulnerable New Yorkers in over 300,000 legal matters each and every year. Every day, in every borough.
The leadership of The Legal Aid Society is committed to a work culture of zealous advocacy, respect, diversity and inclusion, client-oriented defense, access to justice, and excellent representation. The Legal Aid Society is dedicated to building a strong professional relationship with each of their clients, to understanding their diverse circumstances, and to meeting their needs. The Legal Aid Society's ability to achieve these goals depends on the efforts of all staff.
For more information on The Legal Aid Society, please visit its website.
The Opportunity
The 2,200+ members of The Legal Aid Society's staff who directly represent clients, advocate and litigate for systemic reform, and provide the administrative infrastructure for the organization, are key to success and the ability of the organization to meet its mission. To ensure that The Legal Aid Society continuously provides a diverse, inclusive and affirming workplace for staff and to extend the same to volunteers and clients, the organization is seeking a Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Directly reporting to the Attorney-in-Chief/Chief Executive Officer, the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will lead a collaborative, organization-wide initiative to deepen Legal Aid Society's internal diversity, equity, and inclusion across all of its policies, procedures, and activities.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
The duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Leading an inclusive, collaborative design process that results in a framework for The Legal Aid Society's DEI initiatives internally;
  • Working across the organization at all levels and within all departments to ensure that the objectives and underlying values of The Legal Aid Society's DEI work are clear, communicated, and understood, and are reflected in The Legal Aid Society's culture;
  • Building leadership awareness, commitment, and accountability for employee experience and diversity, equity, and inclusion action plans across Legal Aid;
  • Implementing Legal Aid wide diversity trainings and feedback listening groups;
  • Establishing and communicating key institutional DEI goals and metrics as well as the measurement of Legal Aid's performance in attaining DEI objectives and regular, transparent reporting on progress;
  • Collaborating with The Legal Aid Society's HR team to help deepen and strengthen an inclusive and diverse internal culture and reinforce principles of diversity and inclusion in hiring and workplace conditions;
  • Promoting accountability amongst staff for engaging in genuine, effective DEI-related work and providing guidance and support in implementing those goals;
  • Partnering with The Legal Aid Society's communications teams to ensure that internal and external communications reflect DEI values and practices, participate in external surveys and groups producing research, data, and communication about DEI-related issues;
  • Playing a key role on the executive team, advising the Executive Director and senior leaders on DEI-related issues and providing guidance and advice for executive team members' work as equity-focused leaders and managers;
  • Ensuring that the voices of staff are heard and valued.
Candidate Profile
The Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will bring deep expertise around DEI practices and principles and experience leading large-scale culture change. The candidate will be an exceptional strategist, communicator, and facilitator who can create a vision, a road map for achieving that vision, and the collective buy-in and accountability required to achieve organizational change. The Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will work in close partnership with The Legal Aid Society's CEO and colleagues on the executive team, as well as staff members across the entire organization, to develop and implement a framework and vision for The Legal Aid Society's equity and inclusion work.
Additional desired competencies and characteristics include:
DEI Leadership and Expertise
  • A track record of extensive leadership in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, including race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and disability;
  • Strong diversity, equity, and inclusion analyses and commitments as well as experience successfully leading the integration of DEI throughout organizational policies, practices, management, and culture;
  • Comprehensive understanding of oppression in the United States and the ways in which systemic discrimination has marginalized certain populations;
  • Experience and understanding of leadership in a multiracial, multigenerational setting and the ability to coach others to be inclusive leaders;
  • Willingness and comfort to engage with staff at all levels to help build an inclusive, equitable culture;
  • Experience with building learning and development systems and initiatives that support and advance DEI values and principles.
Change Management and Leadership
  • Demonstrated experience in significant change management processes that require building buy-in and leading across a wide range of stakeholders;
  • Keen understanding of how to empower people, influence colleagues, and work across departments in a complex organization;
  • Proven ability to translate strategic thinking about complex challenges and organizational gaps into executable plans to deliver on strategic imperatives and solve problems large and small, and measure progress toward goals.
Communications and Relationship Building
  • An emotionally intelligent, results-driven leader who can inspire staff at all levels, collaborate across departments, and provide feedback and coaching to support the achievement of complex goals;
  • Thoughtful and patient communicator who will strengthen The Legal Aid Society's efforts to establish shared norms, vocabulary, and practices around DEI;
  • Ability to serve as an organizational spokesperson and inspire internal colleagues with diplomacy, passion, and gravitas;
  • Highly skilled communicator, written and verbal – both individually and in large audience or public communications.
Koya Leadership Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Trisha Sutrisno and Amber Gomes are leading this search. To make recommendations or to express your interest in this role please visit this link or email or All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.
The Legal Aid Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer – women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ communities, veterans, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
About Koya Leadership Partners
Koya Leadership Partners, a member of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.
For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit

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