Multnomah Defenders Inc. Executive Director Portland, OR · Full time

Multnomah Defenders, Inc is seeking an Executive Director to lead our staff and to build on our track record of providing high-quality legal services.


The Opportunity

Multnomah Defenders Incorporated (MDI), is public defender office, organized as a nonprofit public interest law firm, based in Portland, Oregon, that 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.

This is a unique opportunity to join an organization of talented defense attorneys who stand between clients and systems that can be oppressive, racist, and hostile to poor people. Come to MDI to inspire, lead, and support the lawyers and staff on the front lines of this effort. Help modernize and advocate for this work, build on our client-centered approach, and manage our resources to maximize staff cohesion and positive results for our clients.

MDI’s next Executive Director will succeed Jessica Kampfe, who currently serves as Executive Director of Oregon’s Office of Public Defense Services. They will also work with MDI’s Interim Executive Director, Sara Foroshani, as she remains on MDI’s leadership team as Major Felony Manager.

About MDI

Established in 1982, MDI contracts with Oregon’s Public Defense Services Commission to represent indigent clients in the Multnomah County Courthouse and Justice Center in downtown Portland, the Gresham Branch of the Multnomah County Circuit Court, the Multnomah County Juvenile Court, and the Oregon Appellate Courts. Our organization handles felonies, misdemeanors, contempt matters, 

juvenile dependency, termination of parental rights, juvenile delinquency cases, and civil commitment appeals.

With an annual budget of $6.5M to $7M and two offices in Portland, OR, MDI operates with a diverse staff of 70, including attorneys, trial assistants, administrative staff, case managers, a social worker, investigators, and law students. The organization is governed by a 5-person Board of Directors, with one director independently appointed by each of the following: the Chief 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. Non-management MDI employees are eligible for union membership represented by AFSCME.

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.

▪  Communications and Relationship Building: Excellent written and interpersonal communication skills, including internal communications (with staff and Board) and external communications 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, Sheriff’s Office, 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 systemic 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.


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

▪  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.

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

▪  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.


Salary range is $125,000-$145,000 depending on experience, plus excellent benefits.

▪  90% of medical and dental premiums for employees and dependents are covered.

▪  Generous vacation accrual and paid time off.

▪  401k contributions at the rate of 10% of salary after 6 months employment.

▪  As a nonprofit, MDI qualifies as an employer for Public Student Loan Forgiveness under applicable payment plans.

Apply by March 24th, 2023 / 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 [email protected]

MDI is an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate based on race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran or disability status. We are committed to building a diverse and inclusive organization, and we are most interested in finding the best candidate for the job. Studies have shown that women, trans, non-binary, and Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) are less likely to apply for jobs unless they believe they meet every qualification. We are committed to building a diverse and inclusive organization and encourage you to apply, even if you

don’t believe you meet every qualification.


$125,000 - $145,000 per year