Job Posting: Executive Director at Colorado Legal Services

Colorado Legal Services seeks an Executive Director


Colorado Legal Services (CLS) seeks an Executive Director to lead and advance the mission of this renowned statewide nonprofit civil legal aid organization. CLS is the only organization in the state that provides a full range of free civil legal aid to low-income individuals and families in every Colorado County.


The mission of CLS is to provide meaningful access to high quality, civil legal services in the pursuit of justice for as many low-income persons and members of vulnerable populations throughout Colorado as possible. It is a daunting, but absolutely critical, mission.  In the words of CLS’s current Executive Director, “the only thing less popular than a poor person these days is a poor person with a lawyer.”


With an annual budget of approximately $13 million, CLS provides high quality legal service to as many as possible of the almost 1.4 million Coloradans who qualify financially for its services.  Priority is given to those in greatest social and economic need.  CLS serves the entirety of the 104,000-square-mile State of Colorado (the eighth largest state geographically in the country) through 13 regional offices. CLS currently has a staff of 150, including   80 attorneys and 55 paralegals, who are supported by administrative, financial, grant management and technology personnel. Staff legal work is supplemented by a robust private attorney involvement program.


The successful candidate will succeed CLS’s long-time and much respected Executive Director, Jonathan Asher, whose involvement with legal aid in Colorado goes back more than 50 years and is known for his dedication to the provision of excellent legal services to low-income residents of the state. Jon will leave CLS next March with the strongest possible foundation, a dedicated staff, relationships throughout the state’s communities, strong support within the bar and a solid financial position that provides the potential for flexibility and innovation. This is a unique opportunity for a leader with courage and commitment to build on a storied history of excellence and shepherd CLS into a post-pandemic future. There will be an opportunity for a transition period before Jon leaves to allow for a smooth assumption of responsibilities. The Board of Directors is committed to supporting a new Executive Director in providing creative and innovative leadership, both internally and in the state and national legal communities.


High priority roles and responsibilities of the Executive Director will include:

  • Engaging, inspiring and leading a team of staff, Board members, clients and community members in realizing CLS’s mission, and refining and adapting that mission to meet new challenges and opportunities
  • Ensuring CLS’s continued financial health and stability with oversight of its financial management systems, practices, and budget
  • Inspiring dedication by staff to excellence in service to clients throughout the highly urbanized and the remote rural communities served by CLS’s 13 offices
  • Advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-oppression within CLS, the legal system and client communities
  • Involving and developing CLS senior and middle managers in reaching CLS’ vision, goals and strategies
  • Leading a strategic planning process that will shape administrative systems to best support CLS’s significant growth, address the changing nature of the work environment, articulate the desired balance of systemic impact work and high-quality individual client assistance, and enhance organizational unity post-COVID
  • Embracing and promoting innovation with technology for efficient and effective programmatic administration and client service
  • Maintaining and enhancing CLS’s role among city, state and national poverty advocacy organizations and coordinating its work with these groups
  • Serving as an effective ambassador for CLS and the clients it serves by nurturing collaborative relationships with funders, private bar and judicial leaders, legislators, private donors and business and civic leaders


The successful candidate will demonstrate:

  • Passion for the mission of providing meaningful access to high quality, civil legal services to low-income and vulnerable populations
  • A JD and license to practice law, in good standing in Colorado, or eligibility for admission to the Colorado bar in a reasonable period of time
  • Ability to inspire dedication by staff to excellence and to clients
  • Commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in all program activities and client services and experience advancing DEI efforts within an organizational structure and with community partners
  • Ability to represent, explain and advocate for support for civil legal services for low-income people
  • Ability to read and understand financial statements and lead the budgeting process and deploy scarce resources for greatest impact
  • Substantial experience in the following areas:
    • The practice of law, public interest preferred
    • Managing and supervising in a successful legal services organization, law firm, corporate law department, branch of a court system, relevant government agency or nonprofit
    • Working collegially and effectively with a unionized workforce
  • Enjoyment in meeting staff, funders, board members, clients and community leaders and establishing long term relationships
  • Affinity for fundraising and establishing deep connections in the community
  • Ability and willingness to travel throughout the CLS service area and beyond
  • Experience understanding and navigating Legal Services Corporation regulations to maximize effective service to clients, strongly preferred
  • Experience collaborating with other grassroots and nonprofit organizations that serve the client community
  • Strong communication and public speaking skills
  • Personal attributes of professionalism, integrity, hard work, respect, empathy, humor, agility, creativity and calmness



To apply:

CLS is assisted in its search for an Executive Director by Patricia Pap, Consultant, Management Information Exchange, 105 Chauncy St., Fl 6, Ste 3, Boston, MA 02111, 508-737-4010, Materials should be submitted electronically to in Microsoft Word or PDF format. Candidates with questions about the position, listed qualifications, or the search process are encouraged to contact her.


Screening of applicants begins immediately and will continue until the time of selection. To receive full consideration, applicants are encouraged to submit application materials by November 18, 2022. Submit a letter expressing your interest in the position, your qualifications for the job with reference to the specific qualities described above, and what you hope to contribute to CLS’s future.  Include a resume and the names and contact information for three professional references. Please also include a description of your efforts to promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the results of those efforts.


Salary depends on experience based on a competitive public interest salary scale. The expected range is $140,000 to $180,000. The benefits package includes health, dental, vision, life insurance, long-term disability, tax sheltered annuity program, monthly stipend of $350 toward the cost of insurance, benefits, or certain other costs, or as additional salary, paid annual, personal and sick leave, and paid holidays, as well as the camaraderie of a team of committed advocates for social, racial, and economic justice.


CLS’s Equal Opportunity Policies assure the rights of all persons to work in, participate in, and receive the assistance and services provided by CLS without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, religion, religious preference, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, parental status, familial status, age, handicap, disability, military or veteran status, political affiliation, or any other consideration prohibited by law.


About Colorado Legal Services:

CLS has 13 regional offices throughout Colorado.  CLS’s main office is in Denver, which is also the location of most central state offices and many federal offices. CLS is governed by a diverse 27-member Board of Directors, composed of attorneys appointed by the Colorado Bar Association and other specialty bar associations, as well as nine client eligible community Board members (including the current Board Chair).


CLS receives funding from the Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado, an independent nonprofit with its own Board of Directors, whose sole function is to raise funds for CLS; the Colorado Lawyer Trust Account Foundation (COLTAF), which administers Colorado’s Interest on Lawyer Trust Account program; as well as from the Legal Services Corporation, and many other federal, state, and local funders and private foundations.


CLS provides services in the areas of family law; housing law including eviction and foreclosure defense; denials, reductions, and terminations of public benefits; elder law; consumer law, including defense of debt collections and bankruptcies; services to migrants and agricultural workers; services to survivors of violent crime and human trafficking; criminal record sealing to restore access to jobs, housing, and education; and services to two tribal nations in the southwestern corner of Colorado.


CLS also has an ID Unit that assists clients in obtaining or correcting identification documents; a Low-Income Taxpayers Clinic that assists clients with federal tax delinquencies, debts, and other tax-related issues; and a small Medical-Legal Partnership serving low-income patients at two UCHealth clinics (affiliated with the University of Colorado) in Denver with legal matters involving housing, domestic violence and public benefits. CLS recently added a Client Support Services Unit, with a Manager/Social Worker, which assists with clients’ non-legal needs by providing referrals and support. The Colorado Statewide Intake Unit provides client screening for all offices in cases involving consumer, housing and public benefits issues. Other specialty units include the Eviction Legal Defense Project, the Foreclosure Project, the Consumer Unit, the Family and Children’s Unit, the Health and Elder Unit, and the Housing Unit. CLS’s Migrant Farmworker Division serves farm and agricultural workers throughout the state. The Survivor Services Unit assists victims of human trafficking and other crimes. The CLS Durango office serves Native American residents of two tribal nations.


For more information about CLS, visit