Varnum is a growing Michigan-based firm with eight offices and over 180 attorneys. We are recognized by our firm members, clients and communities for responsive service, practical advice, quality work, and a team-oriented, entrepreneurial culture. Varnum seeks an Executive Director who welcomes the challenge of working with talented professionals to manage a successful operation with creativity and ingenuity.
The Executive Director is responsible for all business and non-legal aspects of the firm, focusing on short and long term operational issues as well as providing support for strategic planning, freeing firm management to focus on high-level managerial decisions and developing new business. The successful Executive Director will understand the overall vision of the firm, while not losing sight of numerous operational issues that impact the firm's performance. The ideal candidate will operate comfortably across a spectrum of people and responsibilities, including financial, administrative, technology, facilities, human resources, marketing and business development.
The Executive Director is based in Grand Rapids and reports to the Managing Partner(s) and Policy and Executive Committees.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Ensure policies/procedures, determined by the Policy and Executive Committees, are implemented, followed and monitored in all firm offices, making recommendations when need for innovation or improvement is observed.
- Overall responsibility for general administration, compliance, growth and special projects. Foster effective teamwork to address issues related to finance/accounting, human resources, technology, purchasing, systems/procedure changes and long-range planning.
- Attend Partnership, Policy and Executive Committee meetings; prepare minutes and supporting materials. Attend Practice Team and other committee meetings as requested. Under direction of Policy and Executive Committees, coordinate implementation of policies, procedures and other initiatives to achieve strategic results.
- Serve as a business counselor by assisting the Policy Committee with overall strategic input, financial analysis and planning, including law firm mergers or acquisitions. Plan and assist in the successful onboarding and integration of new practices or firms.
- Oversee facilities: including involvement in management and negotiation of office leases, space planning, renovation or new construction build-out, maintenance of existing space, prepare analysis and feasibility studies of potential locations.
- Ensure all lawyers have appropriate level of staff, information technology and other support to develop and enhance the efficient and effective practices of the firm. Regularly travel to regional offices to develop relationships and better understand unique qualities of each office location.
- Foster the effective teamwork of direct reports (Directors of HR, Marketing, IT, Finance, Recruiting and Professional Development, among others); encourage best practices and process improvement. Oversee outsourced functions, if any.
- Ensure firm management is equipped with resources necessary to support all strategic and operating functions.
- Collaborate with Finance Director to develop and present comprehensive, timely financial analysis/reports for firm leadership. Create metrics that reflect achievement of firm goals.
- Monitor national and regional legal trends; advising firm leadership of their significance and impact on the firm.
- Represent the firm in the legal administration community, as appropriate.
- Establish/maintain good working relationships and decision making practices, collaborating with different levels of firm personnel and diverse groups of people; understanding and building on the firm's history and culture.
Required Skills and Abilities
- Strong administrative, management and leadership skills. Capable of working with limited direction, providing leadership and strategic guidance to others.
- Demonstrated ability to rapidly analyze issues, anticipate consequences, make decisions and initiate action.
- Excellent oral and written skills to communicate complex information and ideas tactfully and effectively to personnel at all levels of the firm, sometimes under pressure in the presence of strongly-held opposing viewpoints.
- Strong interpersonal skills to create a firm-minded atmosphere of mutual respect, trust, openness and encourage resourcefulness.
- Solid understanding of the importance of client relationships and the need for consistent and excellent client service, ensuring operational and technological support.
- Highly organized, with keen attention to detail and self-directed in work approach.
- Knowledgeable and conversant in current technology and applications.
Qualifications and Requirements
Bachelor's degree in a related field; Master's or MBA degree preferred.
Minimum 7 to 10 years of progressive management experience in a professional service organization; law firm experience preferred. Background in accounting, operations management, human resources and IT strongly desired.
Varnum offers an excellent compensation and benefit package with an inclusive culture and a professional work environment. Salary commensurate with experience and position responsibilities.
About Grand Rapids
Located 45 minutes from Lake Michigan beaches and blueberry farms, Grand Rapids is a thriving big city, with a small city feel. Topping many lists, including "fastest growing economy" and "best place to raise a family", Grand Rapids is truly a scalable, inclusive community. Led by collaborative business and philanthropic partnerships, a history of design-oriented furniture makers, innovative medical and life sciences, coupled with strong entrepreneurial activity, Grand Rapids' diverse economy continues to grow. We are a city of neighborhoods, with strong faith communities and numerous private/public schools with a downtown that offers year-round cultural and sports attractions, as well as an iconic craft beer boom and foodie scene.
If you, or someone you know, has these qualifications and is looking for a challenging career, please send resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org.