September 10, 2020 – Legal executive recruitment firm Young Mayden has been enlisted to find a senior associate executive director/ general counsel for the American Bar Association (ABA). Principal Barbara Mendel Mayden is leading the assignment.
The new hire, who will report directly to ABA executive director Jack Rives, will be expected to provide leadership in two distinct areas:
As general counsel, he or she will have responsibility for legal guidance and counsel to the organization’s senior staff and volunteer leadership. In addition to oversight of the group’s office of general counsel, key responsibilities will include providing legal guidance and counsel on business transactions and initiatives and ensuring that association communications, contracts, documents, filings and press releases undergo legal review. The individual will also oversee the provision of legal expertise, critical legal analysis, and policy guidance to local, state, federal, and international government agencies and organizations regarding the interpretation and implementation of the ABA’s legal policies and initiatives.
As senior associate executive director, the individual will participate as a senior leader within the association, acting in partnership with senior management and officers to develop strategic plans, policies, and programs. Key responsibilities include oversight of the legal education department, which is responsible for the ABA’s law school accreditation process, including standards setting and review, law school accreditation and reaccreditation, and data collections and publication. He or she will also provide primary staff support for assigned ABA entities as well as additional duties as assigned by the executive director.
Candidates should have a law degree from an ABA accredited law school and an active license in at least one state along with a minimum of 10 years legal experience. Other qualifications include a minimum of five years’ experience as an organizational manager, including leadership in establishing policies and developing strategies that have broad-based organization impact, as well as experience and skill with public speaking including presentations to governing bodies. Evidence of strong written and verbal communication skills is also required. Prospects should hold membership in the ABA.
Skills in leadership, communication and management are essential for this role. Candidates should have a proven record of leadership, including the ability to develop and communicate clear goals. Extensive decision-making skills and the ability to organize and manage collective decision-making processes are also needed. And prospects must have an understanding of the importance of the ABA’s recognition of the value of and commitment to diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace.
Legal skills will also be critical. Candidates must be able to provide competent, informed and timely legal advice and counsel to senior association management and volunteer leaders on a wide range of legal/policy issues; develop and implement legal strategies and solutions, and to analyze, interpret and communicate perspectives effectively; and supervise and train office of the general counsel staff, including organizing, prioritizing, and scheduling work assignments, among other capabilities.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law in a democratic society. The organization is based in Chicago.
Founded in 2007, Young Mayden has assisted law firms with lateral recruiting and strategic growth initiatives, including helping clients open new offices or merge with other firms in Boston, Dallas, Kansas, Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale, Charleston and Columbia. The firm also places attorneys with corporations.
Its principals, Kenneth Young and Ms. Mayden, have years of experience practicing business and employment law at several different regional and national law firms, including Bass, Berry & Sims; Skadden Arps; White & Case; King & Spalding; Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart; and Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough. In addition, the pair have extensive senior leadership experience in the ABA, where they have worked with many of America’s top attorneys and bar leaders.
Law-related organizational searches that Young Mayden has recently conducted include executive director for the Florida Bar Foundation, executive director of the World Justice Project, and executive director of the Uniform Law Commission, among others.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media