Executive Director

Client Overview

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), based in Chicago, IL, has retained Sterling Martin Associates to search for AALL’s next Executive Director. AALL is governed by an 11-member governing board and includes 13 full-time professionals. AALL’s budget is in the $4M range.

Founded in 1906, AALL is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that keeps legal information professionals on the cutting edge of industry advancement and passionately champions the value of law librarianship as a profession.

AALL’s 4,000+ members represent three types – academic, government, and private institutions such as law firms and corporations. Members are law librarians, chief knowledge officers, legal information managers, legal technology professionals, outreach services heads, records management staff, vendors, consultants, students, judges, and other legal information professionals whose work includes providing timely access to legal information, advancing legal research instruction, developing information technology, and revolutionizing law firm structure and management. AALL includes 30 local, regional, and state chapters throughout the U.S., and the organization has “partnerships” with law library associations throughout the world as well as with legal and information accrediting bodies and numerous other information industry organizations. A three-year Strategic Plan (2016-2019) covering Knowledge, Community, and Leadership was approved in July 2016. For more information, please visit www.aallnet.org.

Executive Director

Reporting to the Executive Board, the next AALL Executive Director will lead the organization in the following key areas:

Strategic Vision and Mission

Develop and articulate a strategy in support of the organization’s mission and vision. The Executive Director will lead the board and staff in supporting AALL’s vision by developing operating and business plans; and executing the plans to achieve the vision. S/he will ensure that the organization stays true to its mission and core principles.

Leadership and Management

Guide and lead an established, results-oriented staff team and ensure that both near-term and long-term goals are established, measured, and achieved. S/he will review organizational structure to ensure it is optimally aligned and that resources are in place to achieve stated goals.

Budget and Finance

Direct the organization’s financial strategy, financial planning, budgeting, and expense management. Mitigate financial risks with advice from the Director of Finance and Administration and Finance Committee. Negotiate contracts and ensure that the organization’s resources are managed appropriately.

Publications Support

Develop a strong working relationship with the General Editor of the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals, the Editor of the AALL Spectrum, and the Editor of the Law Library Journal.

Executive Board Relations

Partner with the board to achieve organizational goals. Provide direction to the board and key committees regarding strategy, policy, and approach. Support board governance.

AALL Entity Relations

Develop, cultivate, and maintain strong working relationships with entities including Special interest Sections, Committees, Juries, Caucuses and Chapters.

Public and Media Relations

Lead the ongoing development of a strategic public and media relations plan to increase the visibility of AALL and the legal information profession within the legal and library communities and the public.

Corporate Support

Develop and execute a corporate sponsorship program, in partnership with AALL member suppliers, in support of the association’s programs and services.

Relationship Management

Develop, cultivate, and maintain strong relationships with AALL members and entities, library and legal related associations, government agencies, corporate partners, key stakeholders, and other constituents.

External Relations

Serve as a staunch advocate for the organization and the legal information profession. Participate in related library and legal related associations; identify opportunities for the AALL President to serve as a spokesperson for the Association and for the organization to be the technical and policy expert, and leader in the field of legal information.

Ideal Background & Experience | Qualities & Characteristics

AALL seeks a strategic, visionary leader who can navigate the unique dynamics of working in an organization with a significant volunteer component. S/he should be a proactive and experienced executive.

Ideal candidates for the position will be passionate about AALL’s mission to advance the profession of law librarianship and support the professional growth of its members through leadership and advocacy in the field of legal information and information policy. Candidates should be poised and confident with executive presence and be able to manifest strategic leadership, professionalism, and interpersonal acumen. The successful candidate will be expected to be a trusted advisor throughout the organization and exhibit sound judgment and discretion. In addition, qualified candidates will be expected to present the following background and experience, qualities and characteristics:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university; advanced degree preferred.
  • A minimum of seven to ten years of senior executive organizational leadership, with evidence of increasing responsibility over time.
  • Experience in information services or in the legal sector a plus.
  • Membership association experience a strong plus.
  • Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation a plus.
  • A successful and proven track record in fundraising. Financial management and familiarity with nonprofit organizations.
  • A deep understanding of how to manage volunteers and volunteer governance.
  • Demonstrated experience managing a budget and staff similar in scope to that of AALL.
  • Proven ability to structure, motivate, delegate, and maintain organizational competence.
  • Demonstrated experience in developing and nurturing networks.
  • Superior communications skills, both written and oral.
  • An entrepreneurial spirit and orientation.
  • Demonstrated ability to plan strategically and think tactically.
  • An understanding of and a commitment to diversity.
  • A warm outgoing personality in order to mix readily with the diverse networks and partnerships in which AALL participates.


AALL offers a very attractive compensation and benefits package to attract the right candidate. The position is available immediately.

To apply, please send a cover letter and current résumé (Microsoft Word® format preferred) to aall@smartinsearch.com. A well-crafted cover letter outlining how your background and experience relate to the position is considered an important part of the candidate review process. All applications will be acknowledged.

AALL is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, economic status, personal appearance, family responsibility, matriculation, political affiliation, or any other status protected by applicable law.

For more information, contact:

Sterling Martin Associates
1025 Connecticut Avenue, NW | Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036

David S. Martin | Managing Partner
202.257.1627 | aall@smartinsearch.com

Leigh Beal | Senior Associate
347.804.4237 | aall@smartinsearch.com