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American Judicature Society Executive Director Job Description APPLICATION DEADLINE: July 30, 2013

Position Summary

The American Judicature Society, an independent, nonpartisan, membership organization working nationally to protect the integrity of the justice system, seeks an Executive Director.

The Executive Director serves as chief executive officer of the Society and is responsible for overall operations, including planning, execution and reporting of all activities. The Executive Director reports to the President of the Society and works closely with the Board of Directors and staff to give direction to the formulation and achievement of AJS’s philosophy, mission, strategies, and financial objectives and goals.

During the summer of 2013, AJS is forming a new affiliation with Vanderbilt Law School. The Executive Director will be resident in Nashville, Tennessee and will be expected to oversee the relocation of the Society’s headquarters from Des Moines to Nashville beginning in the late summer of 2013.

Objective: To provide dynamic leadership and guidance to maintain AJS’s historical position as the national leader in efforts to improve the administration of justice.


Programs and Publications. Work with staff, consultants, Vanderbilt Law School faculty and students, and contributing scholars to develop and produce high-quality programs and publications for AJS. Explore opportunities for partnering with Vanderbilt Law School on applied research to advance improvements in the administration of justice. Support research at existing AJS centers. Responsible for budgeting, deadlines and quality of programs and publications.

Communications and Media Outreach: In tandem with the Society’s President, serve as a primary spokesperson and media contact for AJS. Develop and implement communications and media relations strategies and seek out public speaking opportunities to enhance the visibility of AJS among key constituencies. Collaborate with Vanderbilt Law School to publicize joint research, programs, and publications.

Fundraising and Budgeting: In consultation with the Board of Directors and Finance Committee, develop and execute annual budgets and fundraising initiatives that incorporate grants, contributions from members and supporters, membership drives, special events and conferences, and sale of publications. Activities include creating and executing a comprehensive resource development plan, writing grant proposals, and proactively cultivating new sources of funding from individual and institutional donors.

Member and Donor Relationships: Build and strengthen relationships to increase member enthusiasm and involvement. Develop and implement a membership growth plan. Communicate positively, frequently, thoroughly, and interactively both internally and externally. Lead initiatives to build partnerships where they coincide with AJS’s mission. Explore opportunities to collaborate with Vanderbilt Law School faculty to secure grant funding for joint research projects and educational programs. Maintain relationships with AJS State Chapters and National Advisory Council members.

Working with Board of Directors: With the President, support the Board’s governance functions and facilitate the optimum interaction between management, staff and the Board. Give direction to the formulation of AJS’s annual objectives and goals and provide leadership for accomplishment. With the President, develop agendas for meetings and develop an annual calendar of events and programs. Keep the President and the Board fully informed of the financial and operational condition of AJS. Work with the President to make the committee structure of the Board function effectively.

Working with Staff: In consultation with the AJS Board and leadership of Vanderbilt Law School, recruit and retain high-quality professional staff with relevant substantive and administrative experience. Develop and implement professional development plans and team-building exercises that enhance the effectiveness of staff. With appropriate staff, exercise responsibility for all administrative matters. Ensure an effective management team with provision for succession.

Required Qualifications

  • Law degree required, with additional background in social sciences preferred;
  • Substantive knowledge of law, courts, and research on judicial process;
  • Proven leadership capabilities;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills;
  • Demonstrated success in fundraising and resource development;
  • Strategic planning and organizational management skills;
  • Experience managing organizational budgets;
  • Strong personal and professional ethics and values. 

Significant travel is required, and may comprise up to 40% of time. Salary commensurate with experience. Benefits include group health insurance and dental plan, paid vacation and sick leave, group life insurance plan, and defined contribution pension plan (eligible after two full years of service).


Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, résumé, three writing samples, and three professional references through the secure job application portal on the American Judicature Society website at:

may also be submitted in hard copy form to:

Executive Search Committee
American Judicature Society
The Opperman Center at Drake University
2700 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311

Or by e-mail to:

No telephone calls accepted.

The American Judicature Society is an equal opportunity employer.