Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts (PLS) seeks an Executive Director to lead the organization into the exciting next chapter of its distinguished history.

PLS is a nonprofit public interest law firm founded in 1972 that provides free legal services to individuals incarcerated in Massachusetts prisons and jails.  The core mission of PLS is to protect the human and civil rights of Massachusetts prisoners. PLS priority areas include ensuring provision of medical and mental health care, addressing excessive force, reforming solitary confinement, and redressing unlawful conditions of confinement. More detailed information is available at

With a small staff of attorneys, paralegals and support personnel, we engage in individual and class action litigation; provide direct administrative advocacy regarding incarceration and parole; initiate and support legislation to promote the civil and human rights of incarcerated individuals and their families; and, work with the media and community organizations to educate the public about criminal justice issues.

PLS is a fiscally sound, administratively strong agency with a dynamic staff of fifteen attorneys, paralegals and support personnel, and a diverse Board of Directors consisting of attorneys, community leaders, medical professionals, researchers, clients, and former clients.

Responsibilities: The Executive Director of PLS has ultimate responsibility for the programmatic performance, financial strength, and administrative functioning of the organization. The right leader for the organization will successfully engage, motivate and excite members of the staff and board, as well as a broad range of other supporters.  Key responsibilities include the following:

  • Develop and expand the financial resources of PLS and ensure rigorous, consistent financial and administrative oversight to maintain the long-term financial and institutional security of the organization. This includes grant writing and reporting, fundraising, annual audit and tax filings;
  • Provide strong leadership of the staff, encouraging and supporting independence and creativity while assuring rigorous accountability;
  • Support and participate in major or complex litigation to address systemic issues that affect PLS’s clients;
  • Represent PLS in its external relations with the legislature, the courts, and other government entities;
  • Serve as an effective spokesperson for the organization with the media and in the larger community;
  • Work cooperatively with other institutions and organizations to achieve shared goals relating to criminal justice reform.

Qualifications: PLS seeks an Executive Director with at least 10 years of experience as an attorney or a record of demonstrated success as a manager in the nonprofit social justice community.  Experience and attributes that will help the Executive Director succeed include:

A clear and compelling commitment to the work and mission of PLS;

Mature, independent, flexible with strong interpersonal skills;

Prior experience in management, administration, or leadership in a non-profit legal or human services program;

History of creative and demonstrated leadership in policy work and a substantive expertise in legal issues affecting prisoners and their families;

Significant commitment, skills, and experience in mentoring and training legal staff; possess strong leadership skills and a leadership style that inspires and encourages professional growth in others;

Record of effective media relations;

Excellent oral and written communication skills;

Bilingual skills in Spanish, American Sign Language, or other language common in the prison system preferred;

Prior experience with low-income prisoners and their families, and a demonstrated ability to relate effectively to a diverse clientele and staff;

Please submit a letter expressing your interest, a current resume, a writing sample, and a list of three references to: .  Please submit applications by email only (no phone calls, please)

People of color, LGBT individuals, formerly incarcerated people and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.


Posting Date: February 1, 2018