May 19, 2017

Job Posting: National Lawyers Guild

The progressive public interest association is hiring its first Ombudsperson for a two-year appointment. According to an internal announcement, "The National Lawyers Guild has recently decided to appoint an Ombudsperson to assist the organization with managing complaints and unresolved conflict that arises in Guild spaces." Although the NLG Ombuds is independent, neutral, and confidential, it is designated as an agent for notice and has a contractual duty to notify leadership of complaints within five days.

No salary or qualifications are listed.  Applications are due by June 15, 2017.  (NLG Search Results.) 

The posting is available to NLG members only. Here is the full text:

The National Lawyers Guild has recently decided to appoint an Ombudsperson to assist the organization with managing complaints and unresolved conflict that arises in Guild spaces. The NEC or Executive Council (EC) periodically receives complaints, of various types, that don’t always get resolved in a timely manner or members are not sure who to file their complaint or grievance with. In response to the lack of clarity, the National Executive Committee approved the position of Ombudsperson, who will not be a member of the NEC and will work to achieve resolution of conflicts and grievances. This plan is a result of consultation with a contracted experienced mediator who has assisted the Guild in establishing principles and procedures for conflict resolution.

An intrinsic part of the policies we are establishing is the appointment of an Ombudsperson, backed up by a small conflict resolution team, since currently there is no clear individual responsible for receiving most complaints, following up on them in a timely manner, communicating respectfully with all parties involved and helping develop a plan for resolution. We believe the creation of the Ombudsperson position will greatly help alleviate these concerns and notify members of who to reach out to with their grievance.

What is an Ombudsperson?
An Ombudsperson is an independent, neutral and impartial voice in dispute resolution. This person would receive grievances or complaints filed (formally or informally), and, along with the conflict resolutions team (which would consist of two other individuals), would investigate the complaint, mediate communication between the parties and provide the parties, or the EC where appropriate, with recommendations for resolution.

The Ombudsperson cannot be a member of the National Executive Council, nor can they be a paid staff person.
How long does the Ombudsperson’s term last?
The ombudsperson’s term would be for two years.
Although there would be one Ombudsperson, they would be backed up by a team of two. This will insure consistency and avoid times when there are conflicts of interest. They shall serve for 2 years – although initially one will have a one year term so that someone else can rotate in after one year. Then there shall be rotation ever year.
What is the scope of responsibilities of the Ombudsperson?
The responsibilities for the Ombudsperson include:

1. Receiving complaints and grievances filed by members. Must notify national leadership of a new complaint within 5 business days.
2. Conducts investigation of complaint, along with conflict resolution team.
3. Handles communication with each party involved to notify them of status throughout the investigation and resolution process.
4. Conducts initial calls or meetings with each party to glean their positions, interests, and goals for the matter.
5. Provides initial assessment and recommendations to the EC based on investigation.
6. Assists with mediation as necessary and requested, including helping identify outside mediators when appropriate.
7. Must adhere to the response timeline in the NLG’s Bylaws and policy on sexual harassment.
8. Identifies appropriate resources for complainants, when requested and available.
9. Identifies appropriate trainings and resources for accused parties.
10. Provides written report of investigation and recommendations to the Executive Council.
11. Uses NLG bylaws and policies to shape recommendations and proposed sanctions.
12. Monitors compliance of the parties with the agreed-upon resolution.
13. Provides a closing report for the matter to the EC which includes a timeline of events as well as summaries of the investigation process, recommendations, and compliance.
1. State your name, address, chapter and any relevant history, positions or work in the NLG.
2. Please explain your interest in this position, and what skills, experience, or talent you could bring to it.
3. What is your vision for this position, and how do you view restorative justice work in general?
4. Please give two names as references we can speak with (preferably within the NLG, although not essential).
All applications or questions for both nominations and volunteers should be addressed to Judith Mirkinson, Legal Worker Vice-President, at Nominations or applications are due by June 15, 2017.


  1. I've confirmed by query to the NLG that this is a volunteer position.

    1. Thanks, Evan. Lots of work and responsibility for a volunteer.