Careers

CARPLS Legal Aid was established as the first legal aid hotline in the country in 1993 and has been a national innovator ever since. The organization’s mission is to ensure that anyone in need can access legal help. Through its committed staff and continued technological development, CARPLS has grown into a lead partner on four statewide programs and serves Cook County as the largest provider of free legal services.


DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

CARPLS Legal Aid, one of the country’s most innovative legal aid programs, is seeking an experienced attorney and legal business operations professional to serve as Director of Operations. In this newly created position, the DOO will manage the critical operations, functions and processes of this large legal aid program, on both a strategic and day to day basis, and have decision-making and executional responsibility to ensure the smooth operations of CARPLS’ programs, processes and technology tools.  

The Director of Operations, in partnership with the Executive Director, Legal Director, other top management and the Board of Directors, will work to advance CARPLS’ mission of providing cost-effective and timely legal services to our large volume of clients, and to move CARPLS along its proven trajectory as an innovative, process-driven and technology forward organization.

About the Organization

CARPLS Legal Aid is an innovative legal aid program that offers an immediate response to the everyday legal problems confronting low-income residents of Cook County and across Illinois. As the largest legal aid provider in Cook County, CARPLS operates 5 legal aid hotlines, 3 court-based advice desks and 2 online chatbots that give low-income clients direct access to experienced attorneys trained to quickly assess and respond to a wide range of civil and criminal legal problems. CARPLS’ attorneys resolve over 85% of all cases in-house by providing information, legal advice and brief legal services, including the preparation and review of legal documents.  Clients with more complex needs are referred by CARPLS to a network of specialized legal and social service providers. CARPLS’ unique “legal triage” system serves as a model for legal aid communities across the country and has increased access to justice by dramatically reducing the cost of legal aid services to the poor.  Since its inception in 1993, CARPLS has provided over 1,175,000 consultations helping to find solutions to basic legal problems at an average cost of $35 per consultation.   CARPLS provides more than 90,000 consultations each year in thirteen practice areas.  CARPLS’ strength lies in using technology and highly skilled attorneys to fulfill our role as the “front door” to legal aid services, as the hub and central referral source for our network of legal aid partners, and as the legal “coach” for self-represented litigants in our courts.  To learn more, please visit our website at www.carpls.org.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

Finance and Budget Management

  • Assist the Executive Director and Finance Manager on grant contracts and reports, contract issues, contract legal review and negotiations, in matters such as grantor funding, office leasing, equipment purchase and leasing, software contracts, and third-party vendors and consultants.
  • Assist in budgeting on issues of the expenses and projections for the operational and systems needs of CARPLS’ business.
  • With the assistance of the Executive Director and Finance Manager, develop and manage the legal department’s annual operating plan and all department and project budgets.
  • Lead the strategic planning process to determine future headcount and spend by practice and site.  Work as a primary interface between the legal department and finance department.
  • Identify, collect and report on key performance indicators and metrics on a global basis that are meaningful and relevant in ascertaining the legal department’s budget management performance.

Information Technology

  • With the input and support of the Executive Director, develops the IT architecture and strategy for the delivery of global IT solutions to the legal department, and work with IT vendors to choose and implement applications.
  • Serve as the primary internal and external contact for CARPLS’ technology needs, including management of and interface with outside tech vendors (computers, phones, call center, client case management and document automation and generation software), for purchasing needs, contracts, troubleshooting, repair and replacement, strategic improvements and vendor disputes. 
  • Serve as the primary internal and external contact for CARPLS’ data requests and data analysis, running reports to respond to grant reports, periodic reports of project specific data, or other needs for data drawn from the CARPLS’ Salesforce or other databases.
  • Provide process oversight, direction and momentum to the ongoing growth and development of the CARPLS’ knowledge management system.
  • With the Executive Director, establish processes for electronic filing and storage of administrative, program and training files for full remote access.
  • Serve as CARPLS’ primary point of contact for CARPLS’ Community Partners, for eligibility criteria updates, technology and systems needs of their staffs who use our technology on various projects.

Legal Operations

  • With the Legal Director, responsible for developing, refining and promoting the legal department’s mission, and developing and executing on the department’s short and long term operations plan.
  • Provide strategic forward-looking analysis and recommendations for new processes, review and improvement of existing processes, process mapping and process/systems innovation.
  • Create metrics and monitor progress to measure success against strategic plans.
  • In conjunction with the Legal Director, Project Supervisors, and Office Manager, manage CARPLS’ overall staff scheduling and timekeeping functions, including creation of master schedules, weekly staff schedules, managing planned time off, short notice call offs, and remote work requests, time record management, and staff paid leave, paid sick leave and unpaid leave, under CARPLS policies and to meet the overall and specific program staffing needs. 
  • In collaboration with the Legal Director and Project Supervisors, provide data and related support for annual reviews of the legal staff, with input on efficiency targets and other data driven performance metrics.
  • Participate in employee onboarding and exiting, particularly as to technology and organizational processes and policies.
  • Provide training and hold staff meetings on policies, process and technology-related changes for the CARPLS staff.
  • As a licensed attorney, the DOO will regularly spend a small percentage of work time doing CARPLS client legal services, to constantly be up to date on the essential legal work of the organization and how its systems are working/can be improved.

Human Relations

  • In conjunction with the Office Manager, assist in maintenance of personnel records under applicable laws.
  • In collaboration with the Executive and Legal Directors, assist in the drafting, review and maintaining of CARPLS policies and procedures.
  • Maintain up-to-date job descriptions for the organization.
  • Assist with job postings and resume collection as requested.
  • In collaboration with the Executive and Legal Directors, participate in human resources issues and problems.
  • In conjunction with the Executive Director and Office Manager, assist in the management of health insurance and other employee benefits, including working with outside benefits vendors/agents.

Administration & Communications

  • As a director of the organization, attend and participate in CARPLS Board of Directors meetings, and be responsive to the Board about the DOO’s areas of responsibilities.
  • Participate in strategic planning and plan operational execution along with other top management.
  • Serve as a leader of the organization by setting a high example for work ethics, efficiency and compliance with process and policy.
  • Execute special projects at the direction of the Executive Director.
  • Manage logistics for large CARPLS meetings or trainings.
  • Assist in the management of the physical plant (CARPLS main office and courthouse desk locations), moving offices, office leases, renovations or repair, and interface with the office of the building as needed.
  • Responsibility for CARPLS’ document retention and destruction on an annual basis and as needed.

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Juris Doctor degree required from an accredited law school
  • Minimum of 10 years of experience as a working attorney
  • Other academic degrees in computer science, IT, business, or business management a plus
  • Experience working in a legal not for profit or legal aid setting preferred
  • Minimum of 5 years of experience in an operational management role (law firm management, law department management, general counsel, business, IT or HR operations)
  • Educational and/or practical work experience managing technology, and a high comfort level with new and changing technology
  • Knowledge of legal technology tools and ability to develop and drive technology strategy and implementation
  • Knowledge of employment law or human resources experience a plus
  • Attention to detail, patience, ability to get tasks done, and ability to calmly juggle numerous issues at once
  • Ability to work well with all kinds of people and co-workers
  • Ability to manage internal relationships, up and down the organizational chart
  • Ability to work collaboratively with the Executive Director, Legal Director, Director of Development, Supervising Attorneys, Finance, and Marketing and Communications departments to complete organizational objectives
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including comfort with public speaking and negotiations
  • Demonstrated success managing, leading and coaching employees
  • Self-starting and ability to see what needs to be done without prompting
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team, both remotely and in the office
  • Flexibility to work when and where needed, based on the needs of the organization
  • Commitment to excellence and a passion for the mission and services of CARPLS.

COMPENSATION

$115,000 to $125,000, dependent on experience, with employee benefits including paid leave, paid holidays, health insurance, 401k with employer match, and other benefits.

CARPLS has a hybrid work policy with some remote work permitted in this position.

HOW TO APPLY:

Please submit an email attaching a copy of your resume to info@carpls.org with the subject line of “Director of Operations–Your Name” by July 1, 2024.

CARPLS is an equal opportunity employer, dedicated to having a diverse workplace.  All interested candidates are encouraged to apply.