Multnomah Defenders Inc. Seeks Executive Director

Apply by Jan. 8, 2021


Our mission is to provide zealous, effective legal representation to our clients,

treating every client with dignity and respect.


The Opportunity: 


Multnomah Defenders Incorporated (MDI), a nonprofit public interest law firm based in Portland, OR, seeks a strategic and

mission-driven Executive Director to lead our staff team and build on our track record of providing high-quality legal services to indigent clients throughout Multnomah County. MDI's next Executive Director will succeed Keith B. Rogers, who is retiring after leading the organization through significant growth over the past 12 years.

About MDI:

Established in 1982, MDI contracts with Oregon's Public Defense Services Commission to represent indigent clients in Multnomah County 

Circuit Court and the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, including cases involving adult and juvenile misdemeanors and felonies, contempt matters, dependency and termination of parental rights, and civil commitment appeals.

With an annual budget of $4M to $5M, MDI operates with a diverse staff of 50, including attorneys, trial assistants, and investigators. MDI has two offices in Portland. The organization is governed by a 5-person Board of Directors, with a director independently appointed by each of the following: the Chief of Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, the Multnomah Bar Association, the Director of the Oregon Chapter of the ACLU, the President of the Oregon Criminal Defense Attorneys' Association, and the President of the Oregon State Bar Association. 

Executive Director Profile

MDI's ideal candidate for the Executive Director position will have the following experience, knowledge and education.



  • Organizational Leadership and Management: Minimum 5 years of senior management experience or equivalent. Includes demonstrated ability to​​ lead, supervise, and support a management team, as well as attorneys, trial assistants, investigators and other staff; establish and maintain organizational systems, foster a healthy organizational culture; lead vision and strategic development; and work effectively with a Board of Directors.

  • Knowledge of the Law: Experience with and/or knowledge of public defense, criminal law and procedure, and trial advocacy. Understanding of and ability to advise on Oregon's Rules of Professional Conduct.

  • Communications and Relationship Building: Excellent written and interpersonal communication skills, including internal communications (with staff and Board) and external communications, e.g., with judges, prosecutors, the media, and clients. Ability to effectively advocate for MDI and work with stakeholders including: Public Defense Services Commission (PDSC), Office of Public Defense Services (OPDS), legislators, District Attorneys, law enforcement, other government officials, peer public defense organizations, and social service providers.

  • Political Acumen: Experience with public policy and familiarity with: Oregon's public defense system; national and state public defense standards and guidelines; and legal strategy and tactics to achieve short-term goals and long-term systematic change.

  • Social Justice Commitment: Demonstrated commitment to justice for low-income communities and other marginalized groups. 

  • Financial Management: Familiar with nonprofit financial management principles and practices; experience managing organizational finances and government contracts.

  • Tech Savvy: Knowledge of and commitment to utilizing technology to support an organization's administration, communications, and service delivery.

  • Juris Doctor (JD): Licensed to practice law in Oregon (or ability to become licensed).


  • Experience as a trial attorney.

  • Relationships with Oregon public policy makers, community leaders, and other influencers related to the public defense and criminal justice systems.

  • Experience negotiating government and union contracts.

  • Knowledge and/or experience in dependency and termination of parental rights law.


Salary range is $125,000-$140,000 depending on experience, plus excellent benefits.

Apply by Jan. 8, 2021 / Please submit the following:

  1. A cover letter that reflects how your experience, skills, and commitment qualify you to become the Executive Director of MDI;

  2. A complete chronological resume, and:

  3. A diversity statement of up to 300 words that outlines your commitment and experience hiring and supporting a diverse staff.

Send via email as a PDF to MDI's Executive Search Consultant, Paula Manley,

MDIsearch@paulamanley.com / Subject Line: MDI Executive Search

or do so by clicking here.

All inquiries will be handled confidentially. Please use the above email to request an accommodation.

For a complete job description and more information about MDI see our website.​​


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