Executive Director - Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Harrisburg, PA

Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network logo

PLAN is headquartered in Harrisburg, PA. Most of its staff work remotely and a small number work hybrid. The Executive Director is required to reside in Pennsylvania and maintain a frequent presence in Harrisburg and across the PLAN Network.

About PLAN

The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Inc. (PLAN) is dedicated to ensuring equal access to justice for low-income Pennsylvanians. As the strategic leader and coordinator for eight independent regional legal aid programs and six specialized legal aid programs, PLAN makes the delivery of free legal services possible across the state. PLAN’s vision is to create a society where every low-income individual and family in Pennsylvania can access the full spectrum of civil legal services and remedies.

Through a client-centered approach, PLAN supports a compassionate and coordinated legal aid delivery system. This system offers essential legal information, advice, and representation on critical issues affecting basic needs, including food, shelter, employment, consumer issues, healthcare, and family safety.

PLAN administers funding from major governmental sources to support its network of legal aid programs. This includes funding from the Pennsylvania IOLTA Board, including IOLTA revenues and filing fee revenues; the Pennsylvania Housing and Finance Administration; state appropriations of state and federal funds, such as the Disability Advocacy Program funding and the Social Services Block Grant funds; as well as other special funds that arise periodically. While PLAN does not receive direct funding from the Legal Services Corporation, which helps fund seven of the eight geographical programs, it works closely with this major federal funder, including advocating for its funding with federal legislators. PLAN also secures occasional special grants from foundations, government entities, and other donors to further support its mission and the work of its member programs.

Beyond funding administration, PLAN provides several direct services and programs. It oversees the Martin Luther King, Jr. Internship and Fellowship programs, which promote economic and racial diversity by financially supporting law students and covering half the costs for law graduates employed at PLAN programs. PLAN also delivers a comprehensive range of training for the staff of PLAN programs, other public interest lawyers, and pro bono attorneys, including an annual statewide conference. Additionally, PLAN maintains and updates the statewide PALawHELP.org and PAProbono.net websites, assists member programs with resource development and communications, and hosts an annual Excellence Award banquet to celebrate the outstanding achievements of legal aid staff and supporters of access to justice.

Total PLAN revenues for Fiscal Year 2024-25 are projected to be $43.1 million, with $40.6 million distributed as grants through the PLAN network and approximately $2.5 million allocated to its internal operations.

PLAN is governed by an engaged board of directors, which includes low-income clients, lawyers appointed by the Pennsylvania Bar Association, appointed Project Directors, and other community members. Each member legal aid program within the PLAN network has its own independent board of directors that determines service priorities.

For more information, please visit the PLAN website.

The Opportunity

Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Inc. (PLAN) seeks a dynamic, thoughtful leader to serve as its next Executive Director. This leader will provide strategic, financial, and operational leadership, ensuring that the PLAN network remains at the forefront of civil legal aid delivery while meeting the highest standards of excellence and integrity.

Reporting to a dedicated Board of Directors, the Executive Director will be a trusted ambassador, enhancing PLAN’s visibility and impact across the state by building robust relationships with the Pennsylvania Bar Association, Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Pennsylvania IOLTA Board, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) and other state agencies, state and national access to justice entities, and philanthropic organizations such as the American Bar Association IOLTA Commission, National Association of IOLTA Programs, National Legal Aid and Defender Association, Legal Services Corporation, legislators and policymakers, and other entities engage in the civil legal service space. The Executive Director will strategically manage a diverse range of constituents and stakeholders internally and externally, ensuring that each voice and relationship is effectively attended to in service of PLAN’s broader mission.

The Executive Director will foster a culture of respect, retaining and developing a talented and motivated staff. They will drive efforts to diversify and deepen funding sources, ensure fiscal stability, enhance PLAN’s lobbying role, and create an effective communications strategy that highlights PLAN’s value to the broader Pennsylvania legal services system.

By enhancing internal systems, policies, and overall operational efficiency (including through technology), the Executive Director will ensure that PLAN's services are accessible and organized in efforts to modernize the civil legal aid delivery system across the state.

This role requires a leader who can inspire the organization; manage and grow relationships with IOLTA, DHS, and other funders as well as within the state Legislature; and facilitate internal unification and connection. The ideal candidate will bring senior leadership experience in law, nonprofits, government, policy, and/or advocacy, with a proven ability to foster collaboration and innovation.

Candidate Profile

We recognize that there is a spectrum of lived and professional experience that will ensure success in this role. While no one candidate will have every experience outlined in the position description, ideal candidates will display the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics.

Champion of the Mission

  • Centers client voices to ensure they resonate at every level, listening to and understanding their needs, then advocating passionately for them.
  • Possesses knowledge of Pennsylvania's legal aid system and its political dynamics, strategically using that knowledge to empower low-income Pennsylvanians.
  • Energized and willing to lead efforts to modernize the civil legal aid delivery system across the state, in the hopes of revolutionizing how people access and interact with legal assistance in the state.
  • A champion of culturally competent leadership, fostering a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace environment that embodies the values of justice statewide.
  • An individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics, and values — someone who can be trusted without reservation.

Authentic Relationship Builder & Collaborator

  • Leads with thoughtful listening and humility. Adept at building genuine relationships across diverse opinions and networks, including agencies, judiciary, elected officials, grantees, local bar associations, social services, potential funders, the public, and client communities. 
  • Successfully engages with and supports a diverse, highly energetic Board of Directors to drive organizational goals and governance.
  • Exhibits outstanding oral and written communication skills tailored to various audiences and stakeholders.
  • Proficient at managing a wide range of responsibilities and empowering team members to thrive in a dynamic and challenging environment.
  • Self-aware, with high emotional intelligence. Brings vision, integrity, courage, creativity, energy, humor, and compassion to high-intensity work, fostering an inclusive and supportive work environment.

Dynamic & Thoughtful Leader

  • A resilient and diplomatic leader with exceptional consensus-building and stakeholder engagement and management skills. Masterful at leveraging influence across a wide range of stakeholders with little direct authority. 
  • Ability to implement and grow cultural and operational strategies that enable organizational growth and continued impact.
  • History of fostering internal connections, elevating the standards of integrity and mutual respect to inspire and unite teams.
  • A forward-thinking leader, capable of anticipating future challenges and opportunities, and strategically planning 1, 3, and 5 years ahead to ensure long-term success and sustainability.
  • Innovative thinker with the ability to conceptualize how internal improvements can positively influence the entire Pennsylvania Legal Aid system, driving statewide impact.
  • Demonstrates the ability to navigate conflicts with grace and composure; is neither conflict averse, nor someone who enflames conflict.

Skilled & Strategic Advocate

  • A knowledgeable advocate adept at lobbying on behalf of low-income clients, communities, and PLAN network organizations across legislative, media, and appropriate platforms.
  • Ability to enhance PLAN’s lobbying efforts and collaborate with legislators and policymakers, leveraging relationships to influence policy, drive systemic change, and strategically position the organization as a key player in legislative advocacy. (Previous lobbying experience is highly advantageous.)
  • Demonstrates a track record of successful fundraising from a range of private and public sources.
  • Politically savvy with experience promoting bipartisan engagement, fostering relationships to advance network objectives.
  • A powerful storyteller and communicator with an inspirational presence, effectively conveying PLAN’s mission and impact.
  • Expands critical partnerships through innovative approaches, broadening PLAN’s impact and influence.

Nonprofit Business & Operational Acumen

  • Demonstrates understanding of legislative and executive-level public policy issues and processes, especially in the public interest legal space across a range of issues (Juris Doctorate degree helpful, but not explicitly required for this role)
  • Establishes robust systems for delivering high-quality legal services and ensures financial and programmatic accountability for grantees.
  • Successfully manages the $43 million PLAN budget in alignment with the policies and decisions of the PLAN Board of Directors and funder requirements.
  • Ensures PLAN's fiscal integrity and strategically expands support for the network by diversifying funding sources and enhancing existing ones.
  • Brings significant management experience necessary to oversee PLAN's operations, lead staff effectively, and manage substantial budgets, preferably within the legal aid or nonprofit sector.
  • Possesses expertise in nonprofit budgeting, financial management, grant dispersal processes, and compliance.
  • Utilizes relevant technology effectively to enhance communication and streamline service delivery. Implements and invests in technology and internal systems to maximize staff efficiency.
  • Capable of leading, supporting, and motivating a remote workforce to effectively achieve organizational objectives effectively.

Compensation & Benefits

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience. The salary range for this role is $175,000 to $200,000 with a generous benefits package. 


Koya Partners has been exclusively retained for this engagement, which is being led by Molly Brennan, Corina Benitz, and Gina Wrolstad.

Expressions of interest will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Earlier expressions of interest may receive priority consideration. We encourage all interested candidates to submit their applications promptly via our Talent Profile or email the search team directly at PLAN_ED@koyapartners.com. All inquiries and discussions are strictly confidential.

Koya Partners | Diversified Search Group is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email NonprofitSearchOps@divsearch.com. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

PLAN is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants. PLAN is an Affirmative Action Employer.

About Koya Partners | Diversified Search Group

Koya Partners, a Diversified Search Group company, is the nation’s premier search firm dedicated to mission-driven leadership. Since its founding in 2004, Koya has had an exclusive focus on mission-driven clients and was founded on the belief that the right leader can transform an organization and have a deep and measurable impact on our world. Koya works with nonprofits & NGOs, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

Diversified Search Group is consistently recognized by Forbes on its top 10 list of “America’s Best Executive Recruiting Firms” and is an industry leader in recruiting transformational leaders for a changing world. The firm is deliberately different in its approach, with best-in-class teams who have decades of experience in cultivating inclusive leaders, understanding the dimensions of diversity, and building equitable teams.

Learn more about Koya Partners | Diversified Search Group via the firm's website

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