The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (“LDF”) is currently seeking a creative and experienced Legal Scholars Program Director to oversee the administration and strategic direction of the Legal Scholars Program.  The selected candidate will oversee the day-to-day operation of all phases of the Program. This position will be located in LDF’s Washington, DC office and reports to the Chief Operating Officer.

As LDF recognizes its 80th Anniversary in 2020, it will take its effort to expand educational opportunities for African Americans to the next level, with the launch of a Legal Scholars Program (LSP or the Program). LSP is an innovative scholarship program designed to produce a highly skilled cadre of racial justice attorneys committed to working in the Southern region of the United States. This exceptional program will greatly increase the number of students LDF assists, create a path for these students to realize equal educational opportunity, expand the ways they are supported, and launch their careers as civil rights attorneys.

The Program will seed the South with a cohort of well-trained and highly dedicated civil rights attorneys to provide superior legal representation to African American communities. It is LDF’s intent that the LSP provide pathways to leadership, self-sufficiency, and socio-economic progress. Moreover, LDF aims to develop individuals to become ambassadors and eventually advocates for transformational change in African American communities, bringing increased and much- needed resources to the South. By providing a broad range of support—financial, educational, and mentoring—the Program will offer a new generation of law students the opportunity to succeed and transcend barriers. The LSP is a critical and ambitious investment toward building the pipeline for tomorrow’s civil rights leaders.


LDF is the country’s first and foremost civil and human rights law organization. Founded in 1940 under the leadership of Thurgood Marshall, who subsequently became the first African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice, LDF was launched at a time when the nation’s aspirations for equality and due process of law were stifled by widespread state-sponsored racial inequality. From that era to the present, LDF’s mission has been transformative—to achieve racial justice, equality, and an inclusive society. As the legal arm of the civil rights movement, LDF has a tradition of expert legal advocacy in the Supreme Court and other courts across the nation. LDF’s victories established the foundations for the civil rights that all Americans enjoy today.

LDF’s litigation, public policy advocacy and public education programs in the areas of criminal justice, economic justice, education and political participation seek to ensure the fundamental and basic human rights of all people to quality education, economic opportunity, the right to vote and fully participate in democracy, and the right to a fair and just judicial system.

LDF’s historic desegregation campaign that culminated in the victory of Brown v. Board of Education, ending de jure segregation, was unequivocally one of the most transformational milestones in the history of the United States. LDF has spent more than six decades fighting to realize the full promise of Brown and to elevate the quality of education experienced by African Americans. As a critical component of its strategy for education equity, since the early 1960s, LDF has conducted one or more scholarship programs for undergraduate and law school students.

Currently LDF has an annual operating budget of approximately $30 million and employs 96 professional and support staff working at its headquarters office in New York City and its office in Washington, DC. LDF is governed by a distinguished Board of Directors that meets approximately 4 times per year and consists of various standing and special Committees of the Board. For additional information, please visit LDF’s web site:


  • Lead long-term planning efforts, including initiatives geared toward sustainability and longevity;
  • Develop operational systems, processes, and policies in support of the programmatic mission;
  • Monitor, summarize, and report the progress of the Program to the Executive Team comprised of the President and Director-Counsel, Associate Director-Counsel, and Chief Operating Officer;
  • Establish milestones, timeline, and full-scale project plans for the Program’s implementation and operations;
  • Ensure the Program meets the Executive Team and Donor’s expectations with respect to quality, scope, delivery timelines, and strategy;
  • Establish effective and efficient engagement of support services (HR, IT, and Finance). Coordinate communication between support and business functions;
  • Work as a strategic partner with the President and Director-Counsel to execute LDF’s vision and strategic goals;
  • Consistently monitor and report on progress of the Program to all stakeholders;
  • Provide leadership and direction to the scholarship team. Establish milestones and project deliverables to ensure that programmatic goals and Donor expectations will be met;
  • Lead efforts to identify and hire key staff to join the Program;
  • Implement basic programmatic structure, timeline, and feedback plan for Program participants.
  • Establish evaluative measures to define success;
  • Direct creation of informational and marketing materials for participants;
  • Ensure compliance with state and federal regulations pertaining to scholarships; and
  • Contribute to the overall success of LDF’s Scholars Program enrollment management effort by performing other duties as assigned.


This is an extraordinary opportunity to contribute to the development and launch of an innovative new scholarship program within the nation’s premier civil rights legal advocacy organization. The Legal Scholars Program Director must be strategic and highly organized, with a well-developed capacity for complex program design and leadership, individual and institutional relationship-building, and building/leading a complex team of professionals. Ideally, the Legal Scholars Program Director should have worked in a leadership position with responsibility for recruitment, admissions, scholarships, and/or student support programs in a higher education institution, philanthropic foundation or nonprofit organization. While no one person will possess all of the qualities enumerated below, the ideal candidate will have many of the following professional and personal characteristics:

Professional Qualifications:

  • Minimum of five years of experience in a college or university admissions or scholarship office, or similar nonprofit or philanthropic scholarship program, is required.  Substantial experience in scholarship administration is preferred.
  • A bachelor’s degree is required; a master’s degree is preferred;
  • Mastery-level knowledge of state and federal law and regulations regarding scholarships;
  • Dynamic, positive, high energy individual able to relate well with diverse populations;
  • Strong presentation, problem solving and critical thinking skills;
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills;
  • Ability to multi-task and perform well under pressure;
  • Capacity to meet aggressive deadlines efficiently;
  • Proficiency in Word, Excel and PowerPoint;
  • Flexibility to adjust schedule to meet operating needs; and
  • Familiarity and affinity with the history, goals and mission of LDF.

Personal Attributes:

  • Commitment to LDF’s mission and a record of engagement with issues of racial justice;
  • Ability to work comfortably in a diverse environment;
  • Flexible work style with the ability to multi-task;
  • Demonstrated integrity and a commitment to excellence;
  • Capacity to lead and inspire with a vision that attracts others;
  • Collaborative and approachable in style;
  • Self-confident, self-sufficient and self-directed; and
  • A problem-solver who is resilient in the face of conflict.

This is not an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, skills, efforts or requirements or working conditions associated with the job. While this is intended to be an accurate reflection of the current job, management reserves the right to revise the job or to require that other or different tasks be performed as assigned. This description does not constitute a contract of employment, and LDF may exercise its employment-at-will rights at any time.

This is a grant funded position. Salary will be commensurate with experience.

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The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are committed to providing equal employment opportunities to you without regard to race, creed, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status, age, veteran status, medical condition or disability, genetic information, gender identity, or any other protected status under federal, state, or local law.

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