Chief Equity & Inclusion Officer

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Senior Manager/Supervisor

Community Legal Services, Inc. of Philadelphia is the largest provider of free civil legal services in the Philadelphia area.  CLS is locally and nationally renowned as a premier legal services provider dedicated to ensuring access to justice for all low-income individuals and communities.  CLS has eight legal units covering a wide range of civil legal services.  CLS started its Diversity and Inclusion Committee in the Fall of 2015.  Since then, CLS has gone through an evolving journey of change and transformation in the diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) space. CLS is committed to ensuring that internal processes, practices and values reflect a culture of fairness, equity, belonging and inclusion. The work of the CEIO also includes external goals to advance issues of equity in CLS’s substantive work, with a specific emphasis on race, disability and LGBTQ+ equity and highlighting these identities in CLS communications.  CLS currently has a DEI committee and a racial justice committee. 

CLS seeks a full time Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer (CEIO) to contribute to and support an inclusive organizational culture that centers racial, social, LGBTQ+ and disability equity as well as ensuring that our advocacy and communications reflect those values. The CEIO will provide strategic vision and leadership in all areas of CLS’s DEIB work, lead CLS’s DEI committees as well as provide support to staff-led affinity groups.  This position will report to the Chief Operating Officer and is responsible for helping CLS apply an equity lens to both internal dynamics and work environment as well as our advocacy for clients and communities.   The CEIO is a critical thought partner to management and staff at all levels and will provide transformative leadership to advance CLS values and principles of DEIB. 

The CEIO’s core responsibilities will include chairing and leading the work of CLS’s DEI Committees, fostering an inclusive work culture, supporting best practices around recruitment, hiring and retention, monitoring progress on CLS’s DEIB work through development of data systems and tracking, leading strategic initiatives by identifying trainings, employee engagement work and other DEI projects with the desired goal of strengthening the culture within CLS’s workplace and ensuring that CLS’s advocacy is grounded in a deep understanding of equity and equitable outcomes.  CLS values its external and internal communication around DEIB, and this position will be a valuable thought partner with CLS’s communications team to ensure our communications reflect intentional, thoughtful and impactful content. 

Strategic support will also be provided to the CEIO in staff engagement at all levels on DEIB initiatives, trainings, projects and events (both internal and external events).  The CEIO will work with Managing Attorneys, the Executive Director, the Deputy Director for Legal Practice, the Director of Supervision and Professional Development, unions, and advocates across the program, and with CLS’s Communications team to ensure the internal and external work advances equity and inclusion. This will include collaboratively developing metrics to evaluate progress and ensuring organizational accountability towards identified goals.  The position will have an administrative support person, shared with one other manager, to help effectuate these critical objectives. 

Where appropriate, the CEIO will present CLS’ race equity and justice policy interests in public forums, including legislative and rulemaking hearings and may serve on relevant local, statewide, and national task forces. The CEIO will support and help build and facilitate relationships with community-based groups and organizations in furtherance of mutual racial justice and racial equity goals. 

Chair and Lead of DEI Committees 

  • Racial Justice Subcommittee 

The Racial Justice Subcommittee’s mission is to create greater awareness about, and opportunities to advance, issues of racial justice in CLS’s substantive work, community partnerships, and communication. This position will provide critical leadership, innovative vision and high-level support and coordination as Chair of CLS’s Racial Justice Subcommittee.  The CEIO will develop a structure for interacting with CLS’s Legal managers and substantive legal units with the goal of supporting the coordination and implementation of Racial Justice priorities within each unit.  The CEIO will provide targeted and technical assistance to CLS legal advocates to incorporate a racial justice lens and anti-racism strategies in their areas of substantive advocacy. In this capacity, the CEIO may assist units with identifying racial justice issues for impact litigation and/or policy advocacy. 

  • DEI Committee 

As chair of the DEI Committee, the CEIO will support the hiring and retention efforts within the diversity committee in its mission to continuously review and strengthen policies and practices to recruit, promote, and retain BIPOC staff, as well as help assess, monitor and respond to staff retention decisions to cultivate an inclusive work environment. 

In this capacity the CEIO may (1) co-lead and/or support a Retention Project aimed at developing an organization-wide Retention Policy with a focus on retention of racially diverse staff; (2) identify additional best practices and metrics around recruitment, screening, selection of candidates, interviewing and hiring; (3) collect and maintain identity data and (4) support best practices in aligning Human Resources policies and practices with a race equity lens. 

Strategic Initiatives 

  • Training and Employee Engagement 

In collaboration with the Director of Staff Training and Professional Development, the CEIO will identify strategic initiatives, trainings, employee engagement work and other DEI projects with the desired goal of strengthening the culture within CLS’s work environment. 

Employee engagement will also involve supporting current affinity groups and forming additional affinity groups.  The CEIO will be also a leader in creating space for dialogue on racial justice issues. 

Supporting best practices in recruitment, hiring and retention 

In collaboration with other legal managers the CEIO will support Human Resources in strengthening and maintaining equitable and inclusive best practices around recruitment, hiring and retention.  This could include jointly training new managers and hiring committee members on implicit bias and reasonable accommodations; reviewing job postings with a DEIB lens prior to posting; helping to develop data tracking systems to monitor progress on key DEIB metrics that incorporate qualitative and quantitative data; actively participate in recruitment efforts; and join hiring committees as requested. 

Communications and Racial Justice 

The CEIO will serve as a liaison for the CLS Communications team by helping to bring a racial justice lens to CLS’s communications.  The CEIO will collaborate with the communications team on creative ways to expand CLS’s racial equity communications and will work with the Communications team to respond to and work with media on racial justice issues and on the intersection of systemic racism and poverty. 

The following are required qualifications for this position: 

  • Experience with and understanding of race equity work 

  • Commitment/willingness to learn about building trust with marginalized communities and understanding of trauma-informed representation and story-telling 

  • History of working with or living in Indigenous and other diverse communities and working directly with people from diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds 

  • An understanding of and engaging with the concepts of institutional and structural racism and bias and their impact on underserved and underrepresented communities 

  • Ability to facilitate and participate in challenging and uncomfortable conversations around race, systemic racism, identity and privilege 

  • Competence in training and curriculum development in DEIB 

  • Interest in leveraging technology to further DEIB goals and identifying data-driven solutions 

  • Demonstrated commitment to advancing racial justice 

  • Excellent relationship management skills 

  • Knowledge of or willingness to learn about laws that could challenge racial injustice and disparities 

  • Three or more years of experience and interest in policy work, litigation 

and other forms of systemic advocacy 

  • Excellent work ethic, organization, and communication skills 

  • Excellent legal research and writing skills 

  • Excellent oral advocacy skills 

  • Ability to provide leadership and strategic support in impact litigation and advocacy campaigns 

  • Strong networking and interpersonal skills 

  • Proven ability to work with a wide range of internal and external advocates and partners 

  • Project management skills and demonstrated success in leading and working collaboratively with others 

  • Possess sound professional and legal judgment 

  • Ability to maintain strict confidentiality as needed 

The following are strongly preferred additional qualifications

  • Experience working in the public interest legal field 

  • Experience working within a unionized environment 

  • Experience supervising others 

  • Experience on a management team 

  • Law degree and admission to a state bar 

To Apply: Candidates are highly encouraged to submit their application by November 30, 2023.  CLS will accept applications on a rolling basis until the position has been filled but will give priority to those who apply on or by November 30.  You can submit your application on CLS’s website online at OR submit your application below by clicking "Apply Now" 

What to Include in your application: Please include a cover letter, resume, writing sample relevant to the position and three professional references (past or current supervisors preferred but at least one supervisory reference is required) identifying your relationship.  

CLS values a diverse work environment and strongly encourages women, people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ, people with disabilities, people who have experienced poverty or homelessness and people who have had prior contact with the juvenile, criminal, or child welfare systems to apply. CLS invites all applicants to include in their cover letter a statement about how your unique background and/or experiences might contribute to the diversity, cultural vitality, and perspective of our staff and legal services practice. 

Compensation: This is a full-time position based in CLS’s Center City office. Salary ranges from $110,000 to $125,000 commensurate with experience. 

Benefits: CLS offers a very generous and competitive benefits package including 100% employer paid medical (including gender affirming care), life, and short/long-term disability benefits, a 403(b)-retirement plan with employer contribution, and generous leave package, including 13 paid holidays and five personal holidays each year. 

Community Legal Services, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer.  CLS, Inc. does not discriminate in the selection of employees on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, sexual identity, genetics, age, national origin, disability, or veteran status.  In addition to federal law requirements, CLS complies with all applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment.  This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall and transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training. 


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