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Executive Director

American Bar Foundation
Chicago, Illinois
Posted Date
Jul 14, 2022
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Executive Director

American Bar Foundation


The American Bar Foundation (ABF) is extending its search for its next Executive Director and is inviting applications.


Established in 1952, the ABF, a nonprofit corporation, is one of the foremost research institutes dedicated to the empirical and interdisciplinary study of law, legal behavior, legal institutions, and legal processes in the U.S. and internationally. The ABF sponsors Law & Social Inquiry, a quarterly, peer-reviewed scholarly journal of international standing that is published by Cambridge University Press.


The Executive Director oversees the ABF research program through the management of 18 Research Professors, five Faculty Fellows, 13 Affiliated Research Professors, a full-time support staff of 22, and a part-time research assistance staff of 20. The interdisciplinary faculty have advanced degrees in such diverse fields as anthropology, criminology, economics, history, law, political science, psychology, and sociology, and many of the faculty hold both J.D. and Ph.D. degrees.


Executive Director candidates should hold a J.D., with preference given to applicants who also hold a Ph.D. in social sciences or humanities; a record of institutional leadership, including administrative and financial management; success in fundraising and academic grantsmanship; experience with the design and conduct of empirical and interdisciplinary research on law; familiarity with the organized bar and legal profession; and skill in communicating results of scholarly research to the bar, the bench, the academy, and the general public.


The Executive Director is charged with building upon the distinction of the ABF as a premier institute for pathbreaking, interdisciplinary, empirical research on law, legal processes, and legal institutions. Administrative responsibilities include directing, supervising, and promoting institutional research programs; producing multi-year plans for faculty research; directing and participating in institutional fundraising, including meeting with and presenting to public and private  foundations, corporations, and major gift prospects; recruiting and retaining an excellent faculty; planning, generating and managing the institutional budget; managing the research faculty and staff; building a comprehensive communications program with all the ABF’s constituencies; and regularly reporting to the ABF Board and officers on the research programs and other activities.


A full description of the Executive Director position and responsibilities is available on the ABF website. For details about the ABF faculty and research program, visit the website:


Applications are invited for the Executive Director position, with priority consideration for those received by October 1, 2022, and must include a cover letter and curriculum vitae.  To apply, please email your application materials to The ABF encourages women and applicants from diverse backgrounds to apply.  The Executive Director position is anticipated to begin in January 2023.  


EEO Statement: The ABF is firmly committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all qualified persons. All decisions regarding the terms, privileges, and/or conditions of employment, including but not limited to hiring, classification, grading, recruitment, discharge, discipline, compensation, selection for training or apprenticeship, placement, promotion, transfer, renewal of employment, tenure or terms, and benefits, will be made without unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, order of protection status, marital status, disability, military status, unfavorable discharge from the military, sexual orientation, pregnancy, gender, gender identity, housing status, parental status, source of income, certain arrest or criminal history records, genetic information, protected activity (such as opposition to or reporting of prohibited discrimination or harassment), or any other status or classification protected by applicable federal, state, and/or local laws. The ABF prohibits discrimination, retaliation, and harassment of individuals on any of the bases listed above and any other basis protected by applicable federal, state and/or local law.

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