Senior Director of Operations

Job no: 495733
Work type: Staff Full-Time
Location: Denver, CO
Categories: Business Operations / Services, Admin / Executive / Office Support

IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research institution at the University of Denver that is committed to increasing fairness, efficiency, accessibility, and the public's faith in the civil justice system.

People look to our justice system for relief in matters that affect their rights, their businesses, and the most intimate aspects of their lives; however, barriers and inefficiencies are effectively denying them real access. IAALS empowers judges, lawyers, businesspeople, and everyday users to put the best ideas into practice. Relying on real-time data to inform real-world solutions, IAALS is changing how our system serves people today while anticipating future needs—working tirelessly to increase access to justice.

Our Work

IAALS works on solving problems within the legal system: both in the courts and in the delivery of legal services more broadly. We conduct comprehensive analysis and work with stakeholders to design models, empower decision-makers, and measure outcomes and impacts to advance a trusted American legal system.

A trusted and trustworthy legal system is essential to our democracy, our economy, and our freedom. But, the American legal system is in a state of unprecedented change and challenge. Some 80 percent of Americans have legal needs that go unmet. Some 76 percent of state civil cases have a litigant on at least one side without lawyer representation. Businesses routinely choose arbitration rather than using the courts, jury trials are disappearing, and public confidence in our legal system is low.

Justice, the courts, and legal services must be accessible—and they are not. But IAALS is changing that. The problems are complex and multi-dimensional, and we are committed to comprehensive, balanced, and inclusive solutions across the American legal system. IAALS has ongoing projects in the areas of judicial reform, civil justice reform, family justice reform, legal education, and reregulation of the legal profession. We encourage applicants to learn more about our work at

Position Summary

The Senior Director of Operations reports to the Chief Executive Officer, is a member of IAALS’ Senior Leadership Team, and will be responsible for leading the administrative functions at IAALS so as to achieve IAALS’ mission. Responsibilities include contributing to strategic planning for and day-to-day leadership of IAALS and its operations and collaborating with other Senior Leadership Team members to support the agenda for IAALS’ programmatic work. This includes cultivating and participating in development opportunities, marketing and communications, managing and developing operations staff, and office-wide operational leadership to support IAALS’ objectives.

Essential Functions

  • Provides strategic and day-to-day leadership of IAALS and its administrative functions.
  • Develops, with the assistance of IAALS’ Budget Officer, the IAALS budget. Implements that budget once approved by the Chief Executive Officer and the Executive Committee.
  • Individually responsible for general administrative matters, liaison with university relations and monitoring of compliance with all University requirements, HR planning, and financial management.
  • Supervises operations team; exercises oversight of budget and finance, operations, events, development, and communications.
  • Leads development strategy with support from Director of Development.
  • Collaborates with Senior Leadership Team members in IAALS-wide planning and strategic thinking.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Strategic planning at an organizational level; excellent writing and critical thinking skills, organizational management skills, collaboration and leadership skills, and communication skills.
  • Attention to detail and ability to meet deadlines and project goals.
  • Exceptional interpersonal, verbal, and written communications skills.
  • Understanding of complex legal, HR, budgeting, development, communications, and other administrative issues, including those common to nonprofit organizations and unique to IAALS given its relationship with the University of Denver.
  • Must be able to build strong relationships and serve as a liaison between multiple parties, particularly within the University of Denver.
  • Capacity to plan, strategize, and prioritize work. Must be flexible, use good judgment, problem solve, make independent decisions, and work on multiple tasks without direct supervision. Ability to solve practical problems in situations where limited standardization exists and to anticipate what is needed in the future.
  • Adept at managing multiple processes simultaneously while enabling team members to perform at their highest levels.
  • Flexible thinking and clear, concise decision-making skills.

Required Qualifications

  • Master’s Degree – Field of Study: Business, management, or law.
    • Additional experience may substitute for some of the required education.
  • 8-10 years of experience with hands-on management of teams and systems, with increasing leadership responsibilities.
  • Familiarity with finance, budgetary development and oversight, and HR.

Preferred Qualifications

  • At least 12 or more years of experience in the legal system, a nonprofit, or a startup organization.
  • Experience as a CFO, CAO or COO, or equivalent, preferably in legal context, higher education and/or nonprofit.
  • Experience fundraising for a nonprofit, major gifts, planned giving, stewardship, etc.
  • Experience with communications, events, and fund development.

Working Environment

  • Standard office environment.
  • Unexpected interruptions occur often and stress level is moderate to high.
  • Noise level is quiet to moderate.

Physical Activities

  • Ability to sit in front of a computer for an extended period of time.
  • Occasionally required to move about the office/campus with the capability of transporting objects up to 20 lbs.

Work Schedule

Monday - Friday, 40 hours per week.

Application Deadline
For best consideration, please submit your application materials by 4:00 p.m. (MST) November 8, 2022.

Special Instructions

If you are interested in applying for this role, please submit your resume and cover letter to our recruiting partner, Experience Factor.  All materials can be sent to Rachel Mestrezat -

Salary Grade Number:
The salary grade for the position is 17.

Salary Range:
The salary range for this position is $130,000 - $170,000.

The University of Denver has provided a compensation range that represents its good faith estimate of what the University may pay for the position at the time of posting. The University may ultimately pay more or less than the posted compensation range. The salary offered to the selected candidate will be determined based on factors such as the qualifications of the selected candidate, departmental budget availability, internal salary equity considerations, and available market information, but not based on a candidate’s sex or any other protected status.

The University of Denver offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO pass. The University of Denver is a private institution that empowers students who want to make a difference. Learn more about the University of Denver.

Please include the following documents with your application:
1. Resume
2. Cover Letter

The University of Denver is an equal opportunity employer. The University of Denver prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age (40 years and over in the employment context), religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital status, veterans status, and any other class of individuals protected from discrimination under federal, state, or local law, regulation, or ordinance in any of the university's educational programs and activities, and in the employment (including application for employment) and admissions (including application for admission) context, as required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended in 2008; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Age Discrimination Act of 1975; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; and any other federal, state, and local laws, regulations, or ordinances that prohibit discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation. For the university's complete Non-Discrimination Statement, please see non‑discrimination‑statement.

All offers of employment are contingent upon satisfactory completion of a criminal history background check.

Applications close:

We're Here to Help

Browse our knowledge base for help with frequently asked questions or submit a ticket

Submit a Ticket

2019 Forbes Best-In-State Employer Colorado image

University of Denver is proud to be ranked
among the top five Best Employers in Colorado