Election Process & Schedule
If you would like to run for any position with NALSWD for 2014-2015, please submit a short 1-2 paragraph personal statement indicating who you are, why you are running (including a couple of key qualities you have or a specific project you think is important), and what position(s) you are interested in. Being open to more than one position makes it easier to find a position that will fit.
All candidacy statements should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday, April 13th at 9pm Pacific.
After all submissions are received, our current President will process these statements, possibly talk to candidates about their preferences, and try to configure a slate of candidates that makes sense and meets those interests. Generally speaking, anyone who wants a role in NALSWD and is flexible about what specific level or title they get, we will work hard to find a position for. NALSWD has no interest in turning away talented people who want to help make this organization even better.
The new officers will shadow the current office holders (sitting in on meetings, beginning to take over duties, handing down information, etc.) until Mid-May, when they will assume full responsibilities.
Overview of 2014-2015 NALSWD Positions
The NALSWD Executive Board consists of the President, Executive Director of Advocacy, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Information Officer, Membership Director, and Conference Director. The Executive Board meets weekly/bi-weekly for a short conference call to coordinate projects and discuss big picture issues. Because NALSWD has grown so much - and because we are doing so much more in terms of creating resources and connecting students - we want to develop a second "Junior" level of offices as well. These would be positions underneath each of the Executive Board members who would take on substantial responsibilities for discrete projects and likely be part of a committee of volunteers. The Junior Board would not do the weekly Executive conference calls, but may have a weekly or bi-weekly conference with their Executive Board member about projects in their area.
In the past, we have also had Co-Executive Officers (like our Co-Vice Presidents 2 years ago) who split duties for areas where there is a lot to do or where the two candidates combined can fulfill the role better. This year we also discussed the possibility of a regional split for positions like Membership Director, where Co-Directors would each focus on a certain region of the country to boost recruiting.
We also want to have an Advocacy Committee made up of a few individuals who work under the Executive Director of Advocacy. Overall, NALSWD's leadership structure can be flexible if needed to incorporate the talents and energies of more of our members who want to take on a leadership role. With that in mind, we will now describe the general duties of each Executive Board position with NALSWD.
Position Descriptions & Duties
- President - has chief responsibility for running NALSWD, monitoring the work of the Executive Board, and calling meetings. They also write the monthly newsletter and serve as the point person for contact with other disability organizations and the American Bar Association. The President has a large say in the big-picture direction of NALSWD, but is also where the buck stops for both problems and projects. Being President takes a substantial time commitment and is a position best filled by someone with substantial contacts in the disability community and familiarity with NALSWD's mission. The President has a very active group of former NALSWD Presidents and other alumni to call on for advice and support at all times.
- Executive Director of Advocacy - fills in for the President when needed and takes primary responsibility for NALSWD's advocacy projects. In the past, this has included writing student self-advocacy guides (LSAT accommodations, applying to law school, etc.), signing on to position papers and amicus briefs, and could include authoring op-eds or other public statements. The Executive Director of Advocacy will also head the Advocacy Committee and will coordinate advocacy projects including lobbying, writing op-eds, and becoming involved in litigation. Ideal candidates have strong inter-personal skills and some specific ideas for projects and causes it makes sense for NALSWD to pursue this next year.
- Chief Information Officer - controls the face NALSWD presents to the world, through management of our website, blog, mailing list, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. It may make sense to have a set of Junior Officers who each take responsibility for a discrete area (someone with a more technical background as Website Manager, someone else as Editor for our blog to create more original content, etc.) and have the CIO coordinate those efforts. The CIO also takes minutes for all Executive Board meetings. Most important are editing ability and timely response to emails.
- Chief Financial Officer - manages NALSWD's finances. This involves a lot of interaction with law firms and corporations to solicit donations, keeping track of funds, and potentially applying for grants to help NALSWD grow. Typically the CFO has a committee of volunteers to help on fundraising projects as well as being able to call on the Board for manpower. Great candidates are comfortable communicating with law firms and can organize people. NALSWD's finances are currently in very good shape, but particularly for conferences, fundraising should happen early.
- Membership Director - recruits new members for NALSWD. Because 1/3 of our members graduate every year, it is essential that we keep reaching out to students who can benefit from our organization. Past membership activities have focused on reaching students through Facebook and online forums, as well as through law school administrators. There was a lot of excitement at the conference for the idea of organizing small regional student meetings throughout the year (potentially as simple as "any NALSWD members in Chicago, meet at this bar/cafe at this time to socialize"). Strong social skills and ability to respond to email in a timely manner are very important for this position, as answering member questions is a major component (you can also draw on alumni knowledge and contacts for this).
- Conference Director - organizes the annual NALSWD Conference. This involves scouting a location, booking space and catering, arranging panels and speakers, deciding on swag, and publicizing the event. The Conference is NALSWD's flagship event and a fabulous opportunity for networking and community-building. This is a great position for Co-Directors in order to lighten the load, and all Board members contribute effort when needed. While the March date worked well for us, the geographic location of the conference can and should rotate in order to draw on different groups of speakers and make the event more accessible to students. Candidates should be very organized, and event-planning experience can be helpful.
- Advocacy Committee - approximately 5 people in a Junior Officer role who will take on discrete projects to further the advocacy goals of NALSWD. The committee will have discretion to focus on projects they care about and can include lobbying for more judges with disabilities, writing articles about laws/regulations, or drafting amicus briefs. The committee will be organized by the Executive Director of Advocacy. The committee would not take part in the weekly/bi-weekly Executive Board calls, but may have their own calls as needed.
Again, there is a lot of space underneath each of these positions for the creation of Junior Officer roles (Social Media Czar, Alumni Coordinator for Conference, etc.). If you have any interest in getting more involved in NALSWD - as an Executive Board member, Junior Officer, or even just as a specific project volunteer - please get in touch with us at email@example.com with your ideas! NALSWD is doing exciting things and we would love to have you be a part of that.
Finally, please remember to submit your candidacy statement by Sunday April 13 at 9pm Pacific to firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to hear from you soon!
-The NALSWD E-Board, 2013-2014