NatLaw Executive Director

Full Executive Brief (PDF)


The Opportunity to Lead:

The National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade (NLC) seeks a dynamic leader to serve as its next Executive Director.

This is an excellent opportunity to lead one of the world’s foremost commercial law centers.  The NLC uniquely combines the research and policy attributes of a think tank, with the practical skills required to turn its policy recommendations into law and regulations, including drafting international instruments, uniform laws and domestic laws, compiling and advocating for best commercial practices, and training the scholars, judges, and practitioners involved in the application of these laws and practices in the Americas, Asia, and Africa - all with the goal of using commercial law reform to promote global economic development.  To learn more about the NLC and Tucson, please see the Full Executive Brief above. 

As free trade agreement negotiations move forward with European and Pacific Rim nations, the work of the NLC to modernize commercial systems has never been more relevant or more necessary.  The new Executive Director will have the opportunity to leverage the NLC’s existing reputation, relationships, and accomplishments to accelerate global economic development in the 21st century and improve the quality of life for people around the world. 

The future Executive Director should demonstrate:

  • The passion and ability to lead the NLC;
  • The ability to identify and develop new business opportunities;
  • The ability to lead and participate in organizational fundraising;
  • The ability to develop and nurture important client relationships that generate project work for the NLC;
  • The ability to oversee NLC’s project work;
  • The ability to enhance relationships with academic leadership and faculty at the University of Arizona, including the College of Law with whom the NLC has an important affiliation arrangement;
  • Understanding of international commercial transactions; and
  • Executive leadership level experience

Key Opportunities & Challenges:

After consulting with key stakeholders at the NLC, the following opportunities and challenges were identified by the Search Committee for the new Executive Director:

  • NLC Leadership: As the leader of the organization, the Executive Director crafts the overall vision and direction of the NLC, and advances the goals and objectives of the organization.  The NLC has already built an enviable reputation for superior work product within the international community and an impressive record of legal reform accomplishments.  The challenge for the next generation of leadership will be to broaden the organization’s depth and breadth of expertise, expand into new areas of commercial law, and attract and retain world-class staff and contributing experts that enable the organization to deliver excellent quality work product in new areas of legal reform and professional training.  The NLC’s new leader will need strong entrepreneurial skills and will be expected to take a hands-on approach to envisioning and executing a plan for robust organizational growth.
  • Business Development: A primary responsibility of the Executive Director is securing and growing the amount of project work for the NLC, from both existing and new sources, and expanding the scope of NLC project work into new areas of commercial law where the NLC does not already have a reputation and work history.  The challenge for the next ED is to develop a robust, diversified and consistent source of mission-advancing project revenue.
  • Organizational Fundraising: With the exception of the capital campaign organized to fund the construction of the NLC’s facilities, the NLC does not have a history of fundraising, nor a stable of established donors committed to advancing the mission of the NLC.  A challenge for the next leader will be to work with the Board to establish a fundraising plan for the organization, to initiate a comprehensive fundraising campaign, in conjunction with professional fundraising consultants, and to work with staff and the NLC’s board of directors to establish a strong and continuous source of donations to support the mission and vision of the organization.
  • Growth: The NLC has a small and very well respected staff with deep expertise in several specific areas of commercial law.  The challenge going forward will be to grow the organization, both in size and in subject matter expertise, such that the NLC has the ability to more significantly impact the scope of legal reform worldwide.  To support growth in new areas of commercial law, it will also be necessary to grow the roster of international subject matter experts with the ability and willingness to work with the NLC as consultants on new project work.  The ability to work together in a collaborative manner with existing NLC staff is essential to organizational success. 
  • University of Arizona Opportunity: The NLC has had a long and productive relationship with the UA, and particularly with the College of Law. That relationship has the potential to become more rewarding for both institutions. The new Executive Director will have the opportunity to develop this strategic partnership to its full potential, as well as develop relationships with other academic institutions worldwide to support the work of the NLC.

Candidate Profile:

After consulting with key stakeholders, the following priority criteria were identified by the Search Committee as attributes of an ideal candidate for Executive Director.


  • Experience:  The ideal candidate will bring a track record of success in leadership roles in any of the following areas: legal, government service, nongovernmental organizations or banking.  The ideal candidate will have existing relationships of trust within government and/or global institutions and organizations or private sector consulting firms involved in international commercial transactions, and an understanding of the field of commercial transactions. The ability of the candidate to speak another language is desired (Spanish preferred).
  • Leadership Skills: The ideal candidate will be a hard worker who leads by example, will have very strong entrepreneurial skills, and will be a strategic thinker who understands how to facilitate rapid growth in a small organization. The candidate is expected to maintain the focus of the organization on achieving key strategic goals and to possess the ability to recognize new opportunities and trends to ensure the NLC is at the forefront of research and global commercial legal reform. The candidate will have a leadership style that motivates and engages clients, partners, staff, colleagues, faculty, and students to make their best contribution, and engenders collaborative efforts to achieve shared goals.
  • Business Development Skills: The ideal candidate will have very strong business development skills and will understand that the organization’s success is dependent upon the ED’s ability to consistently secure new project work.  The candidate must be able to nurture existing external relationships with strategic governmental and institutional clients (such as the U.S. State Department, The World Bank, the Organization of American States, Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF) and the Inter-American Development Bank), and various foreign governments to whom the NLC provides services, and to build new relationships with additional international organizations, governments, and private sector providers, all with a goal of securing and aggressively building a steady flow of project work.
  • Organizational Fundraising:  The ideal candidate will have expertise, or the ability to develop expertise, in the area of organizational fundraising, and will be expected to work, together with the NLC’s Board of Directors and assigned staff and consultants, to raise funds to support the expanded mission of the organization.
  • General Administrative Skills: The ideal candidate will have strong administrative skills and will be capable of overseeing the various operational elements of the organization.  Skills associated with budgeting and bidding for new project work are desirable.

Procedure to Apply

A complete application will include a letter of interest, current curriculum vitae, and contact information for four professional references.  All submissions must be made via email only. Credential review begins immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Nominations, applications, expressions of interest, and requests for additional information should be sent electronically to All inquiries, applications, and nominations will be kept strictly confidential absent permission to proceed otherwise.  Written materials may be submitted to:

Carol Colombo, Succession Committee Chairperson

National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade

440 N. Bonita Ave., Tucson, AZ  85745

Attention:  Donna Vulpis -

The NLC prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

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