Request for Proposals for Institutional Host for the Law and Society Association
The Law and Society Association (LSA) is seeking a long-term institutional home for its executive office and staff beginning in fall, 2018. Founded in 1964, LSA is a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit corporation. The Executive Office handles all day-to-day business of the Association and coordinates all LSA activities, including the annual meeting, the Association web site, the publishing contract for the Law & Society Review (whose editorial office is located elsewhere), and governance activities of its Board of Trustees.
LSA plans to hire an Executive Officer to serve as its principal administrator concurrently with, or shortly after, its long-term institutional home is determined. In addition to the Executive Officer, staffing for the Executive Office is expected to include approximately three staff members (one of whom would be working half-time).
Institutions interested in hosting the LSA’s Executive Office are invited to send inquiries or an initial expression of interest as soon as possible to committee chair Charles Epp, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Search Committee expects to begin reviewing and responding to written proposals by March 31, 2017. Interested institutions that need more time should communicate this to the committee chair. Institutions are encouraged to identify one or more of their current employees who is interested in serving in the position of Executive Officer; however, institutions that do not have an interested employee are encouraged to respond as well.
Our request for proposals is organized in four sections:
I. A brief overview of the Law and Society Association;
II. Host Institution Terms;
III. Content of Initial Expression of Interest; and
IV. Executive Officer Job Description.
I. The Law and Society Association
LSA is the premier international scholarly association for the multidisciplinary study of law, with over 1500 members, one third of whom come from outside of the United States. As the central hub of this interdisciplinary field, LSA connects a rich web of academic networks, scholarly exchanges, and funding opportunities on socio-legal research. A host institution would enjoy the regard and standing of LSA and would benefit from the scholarly networks and funding opportunities associated with the LSA's connections.
LSA is an energetic, exciting association whose annual national conference has grown considerably in recent years, reflecting an explosion of scholarly interest around the globe in studying law in action. On average, two thousand scholars attend our annual meeting. Approximately thirty percent of participants are international, coming from six continents and fifty countries. At these meetings, participants exchange ideas in many ways: in panels with discussants commenting upon the papers presented, in authors meet readers sessions where path-breaking books are discussed, in roundtables where scholars freely debate ideas, and in the Association’s annual awards for scholarship and mentoring in the field of law and society. At five-year intervals since 1991, the Association's annual meeting has been part of an international meeting. The international meetings are particularly exciting events and have resulted in several cross-country, interdisciplinary research projects. Activities between annual meetings continue through our forty-five Collaborative Research Networks, originally developed with the assistance of a grant from the National Science Foundation, to facilitate international research collaboration.
LSA sponsors two workshops: a Graduate Student Workshop designed for students in mid-to-late stages of their graduate education and an Early Career Workshop designed for faculty in their first three years of employment in academic careers. Both are held in the two days prior to, and in the same location as, the Annual Meeting. Both workshops have competitive applications and provide some financial support for those selected to participate.
The Association, through Wiley, publishes a journal, the Law & Society Review, in four issues per volume per year. Founded in 1966, the Review is regarded by socio-legal scholars in the United States and other countries as the leading journal in the field.
Since 2014, LSA has been a sponsor of Life of the Law, a website that explores the relationship of law to American society and culture, reaching into the parallel worlds of scholars and journalists, engaging the listener’s imagination through sound-rich narrative storytelling, and presenting investigative reporting and thoughtful analysis over multiple platforms, including broadcast radio, podcasts, blogs, an interactive website and live law events. Many of these productions feature LSA members as advisory scholars.
LSA is a member of the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), and the Executive Officer regularly participates in their meetings. For more information on the Law and Society Association, visit its website at www.lawandsociety.org.
II. Host Institution Terms
LSA wishes to secure terms with a host institution that meet or exceed the favorable terms currently provided by The University of Utah, our current institutional home. These terms are divided into those that are essential and those that are highly desirable.
- Office space for overall administration of LSA that includes offices for the Executive Officer and the necessary administrative support (3-4 offices total) and full security, maintenance and custodial services for this space.
- Access to common areas and meeting space
- Utilities (lights, heat, etc.)
- Phone and Internet connection at the same level of service provided to other units within the institution
- IT support and web hosting services consistent with the current host institution
Highly Desirable Terms
- Integration for LSA staff into human resource services (e.g., payroll, employment policies, and benefits) with benefits and privileges consistent with those offered at the host institution (LSA fully covers staff salary and benefits)
- University appointment for the Executive Officer (who has in the past been a faculty member but in the future may be either a member of the faculty or of the professional staff) and any employee benefits that might be associated with that appointment (LSA anticipates covering the EO salary and benefits for the portion of time devoted to LSA work)
- Office furnishings, except computers
- Access to available grant writing support services
- Access to the host institution’s communications and public relations office
- Access to legal advice, e.g., contract review, by University Counsel
- Graduate Assistants and/or Work-study students if available
Building on the experience at the University of Utah, applicants are encouraged to include as part of the application a description of how the resources of LSA may enhance research and teaching in law and society at their institution. For example, at Utah, the Executive Officer has developed a speakers series that brings leading law and society scholars to campus and a travel incentive for first-time attendees from that institution at the LSA Annual Meeting. Such proposed initiatives might extend to collaboration across multiple colleges or universities in geographical proximity to the host site. In other words, applicants are encouraged to suggest collaborations that would benefit from the presence of LSA.
III. Content of Expression of Interest
- Assurance that the institution could meet the “essential terms” of the RFP
- Preliminary estimation of the “highly desirable terms” that could be provided
- Name(s) of possible candidate(s) (if any) for the position of Executive Officer
- Willingness to work with LSA to identify an Executive Officer or conditions for doing so, and any conditions of employment that might be associated with that position
- An estimate of the salary expectation in the local market for an Executive Officer as described in the Job Description below
IV. Executive Officer Job Description
The Executive Officer position entails a range of administrative and substantive duties related to effective management, conceptual leadership and implementation of goals and policies, work with officers and members, and representation of the Association to external groups. The Executive Officer carries out professional activities designed to promote the interests of the Association and its programmatic activities, member relations, administrative and financial management of the Association, coordination of activities involved in site selection and conduct of the Annual Meeting, and related programmatic and management responsibilities consonant with the scholarly objectives of the Association.
The Law and Society Association is open to various models for staffing this position. The EO may be a member of the host institution’s current faculty or administrative personnel or may become a new or temporary hire at the host institution. The EO may have experience as a scholar with interests in the area of Law and Society, an academic administrator, or an administrative professional with experience managing academic associations or similar organizations.
Administration and Management
- Carry out the duties and responsibilities of the Executive Office as specified in the By-laws of the organization
- Provide administrative and fiscal planning and leadership for the Association, including developing the budget and reporting on the budget and finances
- Manage staff and resources, including supervision, coordination, follow through and evaluation of staff
- Make decisions about staff and budget commitments to achieve policy goals
- Implement the decisions, strategic planning goals, and policies of the Trustees
Creative Leadership and Implementation of Goals
- Advise, recommend, and participate with the Trustees in charting the course of the Association in response to continuous developments and emerging issues in the field meriting the Association’s attention
- Within delegated authority, develop long range strategic operational plans to meet the mission and goals of the Association
- Identify and develop new initiatives or opportunities to meet the Association’s goals
- Lead in raising funds from individuals and outside agencies, where appropriate
Work with Officers and Members
- Assist the Trustees and various committees in the development of sound organizational policies, providing such information as they may require and bringing attention to matters requiring policy clarification or revision
- Ensure that the Trustees and the Officers of the Association are kept informed of major issues/events and operations of the Association as appropriate
- Ensure proper communications to the membership and the field regarding the programs and activities of the Association
- Maintain and enhance member services
Represent the Association and the Field to Outside Groups
- Establish and maintain effective relationships with other organizations including professional associations and government, as deemed appropriate by the Board, including participating in groups with which the Association has formal relationships or memberships
- Ensure high visibility for the Association within other professional associations and establish leadership roles for the Association (e.g., COSSA, ACLS)
- Monitor and identify issues and opportunities related to the field where the Association’s weighing in as a scholarly field would be important
- Promote scholarship in the media and to policy audiences
- Ability to represent and provide continuity of leadership for the field of law and society with varied audiences.
- Knowledge and experience in budget and financial management
- Experience in obtaining grant funds from government or nonprofit organizations to support identifiable programs or projects
- Sensitivity to and understanding of people; excellent ability to interact on a professional level with all levels of staff, membership, and outside organizations
- Skill and experience required to maximize use of the Association's resources by working to develop the consensus required for effective administration
- Professionalism and integrity
- Excellent oral and written skills; ability to conduct presentations, guide meetings
- Experience leading units or groups or working with boards and/or committees
- Commitment to exploring innovative uses of technology and new modes of communication
- Doctorate, JD, or equivalent advanced degree desirable but not required
- Experience in leadership roles or activities that indicates the capacity to manage, organize, communicate, and innovate
Position Term and Time Commitment
- The term of appointment is expected to be five years, renewable.
- The level of commitment is expected to be .75 to 1.0 FTE (negotiable).
Questions may be addressed to any member of the Search Committee: