JOB: Executive Director at California Indian Legal Services

California Indian Legal Services (CILS) seeks an Executive Director to lead a well-established and highly reputed statewide, public interest law firm that is dedicated to creating a better and more humane society for California tribes and Indians. This is an exceptional opportunity for an individual committed to and knowledgeable about Indian affairs to lead CILS into a new era of its work to protect and advance Native American rights.

Founded in 1967, CILS is the oldest public interest Indian rights law firm in the country, promoting the fundamental rights of California tribes and Indians through litigation, legislative and administrative advocacy, community development, and other strategies for systemic change. CILS is a state and national leader in protecting and advancing the rights of California Indians, and each year works with dozens of tribes in the state and thousands of Indian individuals and families.

CILS provides a full range of legal representation to California Indian tribes and Indian organizations, advocates for the rights of California Indians at the local, state, and national levels, and provides direct services and community education to low-income Indian individuals on issues related to Federal Indian Law. Our work includes such diverse practice areas as the Indian Child Welfare Act, trust lands, Indian probate, Indian cultural and religious rights, tribal community and economic development, tribal justice systems, tribal governance, tribal social service delivery systems, protection of sacred sites, and environmental protection.

CILS has an annual operating budget of approximately $2.3 million derived from a wide variety of sources, including federal and state grants, tribal donations, and tribal grants and contracts. Oakland currently houses both the central administration of CILS as well as a field office, and additional field offices are located in Bishop, Escondido, Eureka and Santa Rosa. We have approximately 20 staff, including ten lawyers/advocates. Our Board of Trustees is comprised of California Indians appointed by Indian tribes and organizations across the state, as well as representatives appointed by the State Bar of California.

Additional information about CILS may be found on our website, at

Position Summary:
The ideal candidate for this position will be a dynamic leader who brings passion, strategic thinking, and a strong commitment to seeking justice for Indian people. The Executive Director is the primary spokesperson for CILS, oversees its programs and legal and administrative staff, and has overall responsibility for day-to-day operations. For many years the Executive Director has been based in the Bay Area, but the Board will consider alternative locations based on the needs of candidates and the program.

Roles & Responsibilities:
Provide leadership and vision required to sustain and expand CILS’ role in the California Indian community
Provide effective management of CILS’ staff and operations to ensure that the priorities of the organization are met
Strengthen and expand CILS’ relationships with California tribes and Indian organizations
Build on CILS’ commitment to advancing California Indian rights and set strategic direction for program
Work closely and effectively with Board of Trustees
Develop and implement effective strategies to maintain and increase CILS’ funding, and diversify CILS’ funding base
Promote CILS and develop effective strategies to increase CILS’ positive presence in the community at large
Maintain CILS’ exemplary standing in the legal services community
Create a positive work environment to continue and enhance CILS’ high-quality advocacy
Maintain high level of knowledge about policies and legislation impacting tribal governments
Other duties as required to ensure high quality services and effective operations, and as assigned by Board of Trustees

Highly Qualified Candidates Will Possess:
Passion for the mission of CILS and clear vision of CILS’ on-going potential to advance the rights of California Indians
Understanding of the needs of our client community and commitment to legal services for Indian people
Solid and extensive background in federal Indian law
Previous management, strong supervisory skills and administrative ability
Effective communication, listening, and mentoring skills
Ability to attract, develop, and retain staff as well as maintain a high level of performance and effectively utilize their talents
Historical knowledge of California Indian communities
Practical experience interacting with tribal governments
Demonstrated track record of raising funds and support from a variety of sources
A licensed attorney admitted to the California Bar or eligible to practice in California strongly preferred

Competitive based on experience. Full family/partner medical and dental benefits, LTD, life insurance, generous leave policies.

Application Procedure:
Please submit letter of interest, resume, two writing samples and three professional references to Patricia De La Cruz-Lynas, Director of Administration, California Indian Legal Services, Re: Executive Director Position, 405 14th Street, Suite 300, Oakland, CA 94612. E-mail Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.