Since 1973, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund has been the nation’s most respected legal organization working to advance civil rights for LGBTQ+ individuals and everyone living with HIV. Starting with its first case, an appeal for Lambda Legal to exist as a nonprofit, the organization’s impact litigation has secured historic, precedent-setting victories that have expanded protections and secured rights for individuals, couples, and families.
The landmark cases Lambda Legal has successfully argued include Lawrence v. Texas, overturning all remaining state sodomy laws in the United States; Brandon v. Richardson County, arguing for a sheriff’s culpability in the murder of Brandon Teena; Cammermeyer v. Perry, a pioneering case that paved the way for the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell;” Taylor v. Rice, challenging the State Department’s refusal to hire HIV-positive people as Foreign Service officers; and Henry v. Hodges, one of the Ohio cases consolidated with Obergefell v. Himes, that helped to bring marriage equality nationwide.
For more than 45 years, Lambda Legal’s legal, policy, and advocacy work has touched nearly every aspect of life for LGBTQ+ people and everyone living with HIV. Their strategic approach to broadening rights includes the deployment of high-impact education and advocacy campaigns to complement and strengthen their casework. Current cases include federal lawsuits challenging the refusal to correct the gender marker on Kansas birth certificates and fighting on behalf of a couple denied the opportunity to apply to serve as foster parents, multiple suits on behalf of spouses denied social security survivor benefits, and arguments to end the restrictions on the military service of transgender and people living with HIV. Current policy work seeks to expand non-discrimination protections at the federal, state, and local level, promote sound policy driven by science rather than stigma, particularly in the realm of public health, and root out anti-LGBTQ+ bias in the justice system. Current advocacy work addresses issues such as workplace discrimination, anti-LGBTQ+ curriculum laws and judicial bias in the courts.
Founded by volunteer lawyers struggling to break new ground in the American justice system, Lambda Legal quickly established itself as the preeminent legal organization bending the arc of the moral universe toward justice for LGBTQ+ individuals and people living with HIV. Today, Lambda Legal’s 85 expert staff continue the organization’s legacy of devising groundbreaking legal strategies and pioneering policy initiatives to move history forward. Headquartered in New York, with offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., Lambda Legal operates with a $19 million annual budget and is governed by a 32-person board.
For more information about Lambda Legal, visit https://www.lambdalegal.org/
The mission of Lambda Legal is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
The Value Proposition
Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Chief Executive Officer will be a key leader in defining the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement in the 21st Century. In collaboration with the board and staff, the CEO will define Lambda Legal’s vision and set its strategic direction. The CEO will operationalize the day-to-day leadership, management, and planning necessary to ensure Lambda Legal’s continued growth and impact. The CEO will develop and implement innovative strategies to advance the organization’s mission. The CEO’s primary responsibilities include the following:
- Inspire, motivate, and lead a team of highly intelligent, accomplished and committed professionals united by a common mission and vision;
- Attract, recruit, and retain an innovative and high-performing team with the aim of fostering an inclusive environment, instilling a culture of teamwork, ensuring organizational cohesion, and offering opportunities for professional growth;
- Listen actively with respect to all opinions, including dissent, and make difficult decisions when necessary;
- Champion a culture of inclusion throughout the organization by fostering diversity and implementing robust equity policies.
Fundraising and Fiscal Stewardship
- Develop and maintain relationships with key stakeholders, including individuals, foundations, law firms, and corporate donors;
- In partnership with the Chief Development Officer and the Development Department’s strategy, cultivate and solicit major gifts;
- Lead the development of short-term and long-range strategic plans and budgets that advance organizational goals and objectives;
- Oversee the effective and efficient management of the organization’s financial resources ensuring its fiscal stability and long-term viability.
- Serve as the primary face and voice of Lambda Legal, while enhancing brand and external communications efforts, making Lambda Legal more broadly visible to a range of constituencies;
- Foster strong relationships with other leaders in the LGBTQ+ and HIV advocacy communities, while collaborating with other social justice and civil rights organizations;
- Represent Lambda Legal in the media, the community, and at events.
The ideal candidate will be a visionary and respected social justice thought leader. They will have an authentic commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and evident cultural competency. They will also be a transparent and collaborative leader, compelling public speaker, and engaging communicator. Based in New York, this position requires significant travel. The new CEO will bring the following:
- Demonstrated success building strong and effective teams, supported by a track record of leading by example to create cultures defined by excellence, professionalism, trust and respect;
- Prior experience working with a nonprofit board and a demonstrable understanding of board development, governance, and decision-making, including vision development and strategic planning;
- Media experience with a proven ability to distill complex issues into accessible language to a wide range of audiences;
- Extensive fundraising experience, including a history of forging lasting relationships with stakeholders, individual donors and institutional funders;
- Organizational and staff development expertise, with the ability to effectively communicate and manage change;
- Understanding of nonprofit fiscal structures and funding streams, combined with strong business acumen;
- Knowledge of the history and issues affecting LGBTQ+ and gender non-conforming/non-binary (GNCNB) individuals and people living with HIV, including an awareness of how the evolving political and social climates impact those issues;
- A deep understanding of how various impact litigation, policy, and advocacy strategies are employed to expand civil rights;
- Familiarity with the intersectionality of race equity and economic justice issues;
- Prior experience managing a represented workforce is preferred;
- A bachelor’s degree is required; a graduate degree, ideally a juris doctor, is preferred.
The successful candidate will exhibit authentic, visible passion for the work of Lambda Legal to improve the lives of the persons and communities it serves. They will be genuinely interested in listening, with the humility to collaborate and process diverse perspectives and the ability to transform what they hear into action. They will have the integrity and dexterity to establish trust and build confidence within and among staff, board, and stakeholders. Above all, they will possess the emotional intelligence to appreciate the wisdom and focus the passion of Lambda Legal’s esteemed and committed staff.
To attract a multi-talented leader, Lambda Legal is offering a competitive compensation package. The package includes medical, dental, life, AD&D, and disability insurance, as well as an annual retirement contribution and ample PTO days covering observed holidays, vacation, sick, and personal time. Relocation reimbursement will be provided for the exceptional candidate.
Why Lambda Legal
For more than 45 years, Lambda Legal has been leading the march toward full lived equality for LGBTQ+ people and everyone living with HIV. Throughout, but most profoundly today, the hard-fought progress that has been made is being eroded by powerful and well-resourced foes. At a critical time in history, this is an extraordinary opportunity for a visionary leader to fortify Lambda Legal’s pillars of impact litigation, policy, and advocacy to defend and continue the expansion of rights for LGBTQ+ people and everyone living with HIV.
Please submit a brief cover letter and résumé as attachments via e-mail to:
Michelle Kristel, Managing Partner | McCormack+Kristel
Soladé Rowe, President | WB&B
1740 Broadway, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10019
Office: 212.531.5003 | Fax: 212.203.9599
Please note that your education, dates of employment and other
information will be verified prior to an offer.
As part of its commitment to full civil rights throughout the LGBT and HIV-affected communities, Lambda Legal encourages diversity and pluralism within its staff. Lambda Legal is an equal employment opportunity employer that considers all applications, terms, conditions, and benefits of employment (including recruitment, hiring, promotion, compensation, training, transfer, layoff and termination) without regard to race, color, religion, age, national or ethnic origin, sex, marital status, height, weight, parental status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, HIV status, veteran status, disability, non-job related criminal conviction history, political or union affiliation, or any other basis made unlawful by applicable federal, state, or local law.
People of color, women, people of all gender identities and gender expressions, people with HIV, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.