California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) is a prominent legal services organization, nationally recognized for its large-scale impact on behalf of California’s low-income rural communities. Founded in 1966, CRLA provides free civil legal services, advocacy support, and educational resources to low-income rural residents across the state of California. CRLA’s administrative office is in Oakland, California, but its presence spans 17 offices statewide. More than a “legal aid office,” CRLA’s commitment to Systemic Advocacy includes an emphasis on impact litigation and legislative work conducted in partnership with allies to have a large-scale impact beyond any single legal case.
California Rural Legal Assistance seeks applications and nominations for the position of Executive Director. This is a pivotal moment in the organization’s history as José Padilla, CRLA’s longstanding leader is retiring after more than four decades at the organization, with 38 years as Executive Director. The ED is charged with the organization’s strategic leadership, management, and successful operation. This includes leading long-range strategic planning, major policy initiatives, Board relationships, fund development, staff management, and program planning and oversight. The ED will report directly to the Board of Directors.
The successful candidate must possess a Juris Doctorate, be licensed by the State Bar of California, or be admitted to the California Bar at the start of their tenure as ED. This person must have a humble presence with a track record as a clear communicator, adept at balancing the need for transparency and collaboration with timely decision-making and follow-through. This is a remarkable opportunity to join a justice-driven organization and provide the visionary leadership and organizational discipline needed to ensure that CRLA’s impact, community presence, and national status are preserved and advanced.