West Tennessee Legal Services (WTLS) seeks a new Executive Director

West Tennessee Legal Services (WTLS) seeks a strong strategic planner to serve as Executive Director to lead non-profit community-based provider of civil legal advocacy. WTLS is dedicated to helping individuals, families and at-risk communities in rural West Tennessee access their legal rights. WTLS provides legal assistance to the low income residents of 17 rural counties in the areas of housing, elder law, individual rights community education, benefits, health, and domestic relations. WTLS receives funding from the Legal Services Corporation and from a variety of local, state, regional and national organizations.


WTLS has been well-served by its highly regarded Executive Director, who retired after 7 years in this position. The successful applicant will work closely with WTLS`s dedicated Board and Staff to continue the program`s longstanding commitment to WTLS`s mission. WTLS seeks an Executive Director with a vision and commitment to lead WTLS into the future.


Key Priorities

  • Recruit and develop staff to provide high quality legal representation for and advocacy on behalf of low income individuals and families in rural Tennessee
  • A commitment and outlook for innovative solutions to future challenges
  • Network at the local, state, regional and national level to create and strengthen relationships with collaborative partners and funders
  • Guide and implement an ongoing planning process with WTLS Board and staff which builds on program strengths with a vision for the future
  • Strengthen WTLS`s fiscal stability by seeking traditional and non-traditional funding sources to increase capacity toward its core mission
  • Lead staff in maintaining compliance with grant requirements and budget
  • Creatively utilize technology to improve service to the client community and allow staff to work more effectively and efficiently


Core Competencies

  • A Juris Doctorate and licensed to practice law in Tennessee
  • A willingness to engage individuals within the client community and agencies that serve them
  • Local, state and national relationship builder and community connector
  • Legal aid or public interest work experience preferred
  • Successful track record in resource development and fundraising. Experience with grant writing and grant compliance required
  • Prior management experience involving staff supervision, financial oversight and budget development
  • A persuasive and passionate communicator willing to engage a wide range of stakeholders and cultures
  • Leadership, professionalism, integrity, energy, compassion and sense of humor


About West Tennessee Legal Services

WTLS is a community-based provider of civil legal advocacy helping individuals, families and at-risk communities access their legal rights.

WTLS was established in 1977. It now serves 17 counties in West Tennessee. The service area is primarily rural, and includes part of the Mississippi delta area, and serves a poverty population of over 100,000 people. WTLS has a staff of 31, including 18 attorneys and 12 non-attorney professionals with offices located in Jackson, Dyersburg, Huntingdon, and Selmer. The Executive Director would be located in the Jackson office.

WTLS provides legal representation to its eligible client populations in West Tennessee with both public and private funding; develops and implements the most effective method of delivering legal assistance; sponsors education and research in poverty law areas; educates the private Bar and encourages their involvement; conducts programs to each low income individuals and those who work with them to recognize problems that can and should be addressed by legal aid lawyers; and cooperates and partners with other public and private agencies who serve our constituents.

WTLS is a HUD approved Housing Counseling agency, a HUS approved National Housing Counseling Intermediary/Organization, and also a Qualified Fair Housing Organization.

WTLS has an annual budget of over $4.7 million from federal, state and local sources, including both governmental and private funding, totaling over 40 funding sources. Each funding source conducts regular programmatic and fiscal monitoring and has found WTLS to be compliant.


Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. In order to receive full consideration, however, candidates are urged to submit their materials before September 15, 2023. Interested candidates should submit a cover letter expressing in detail why they are interested in the position of Executive Director of West Tennessee Legal Services, as well as what they believe they can contribute to the future of WTLS and its client communities. The letter should be accompanied by a current resume and names with contact information for three professional references. Materials should be submitted electronically to edsearch@wtls.org in Microsoft Word or PDF formant. Candidates with questions about the position or process should contact Board Chair Vanedda Prince Webb at (731) 285-6677 or at the aforementioned email address.


Salary: $120,000-$140,000 DOE. West Tennessee Legal Services offers a generous benefit package, including paid annual, sick and holiday pay, medical, dental, life and long-term disability insurance, legal malpractice coverage, bar association and professional tax fees, and contributions to the ABA retirement program.


WTLS is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women, minorities and handicapped persons are encourages to apply. For more information about West Tennessee Legal Services, please visit www.wtls.org.

Last updated on .

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