Vice President for Institutional Advancement


About Southwestern Law School and Institutional Advancement

Southwestern Law School was founded in Los Angeles in 1911 on the principles of innovation, access to legal education, and diversity. Southwestern was designed to provide the highest quality legal training for anyone who has the talent and desire, regardless of their background or financial circumstance. Over the years, Southwestern has produced over 14,000 graduates serving the legal community. Today, Southwestern has over 800 students spread over four J.D. programs. Our graduates fill many critical roles that help civil society function in Southern California and beyond.

Southwestern enrolled women, minorities, and immigrants at a time when most law schools would not do so. Southwestern’s trailblazers include L.A.’s first and only African American mayor, the first Chinese American Federal District Court judge in the continental United States, and the first female African-American appellate court justice. In California, our firsts include the first female African American judge, the first Latina judge, and the first Native American judge. Southwestern remains one of the most diverse law schools in the nation. Nearly 40 percent of our incoming classes are the first generation in their families to attend college.

Southwestern has continually produced practice-ready lawyers who show grit and determination. In recent years, one of our graduates won the largest jury verdict in history. Another won the largest antitrust trial in a generation. Just this year, a team made up of an evening student and a traditional day student won the ABA’s national negotiation competition, beating out 178 other law schools, including a top-10 ranked school in the final round.

For more than 100 years, Southwestern has continuously served as an innovator in legal education. At its outset, Southwestern was the first law school in the Western United States to adopt the “case method.” Southwestern later became the first law school in the country to create a two-year J.D. program. Southwestern was the first law school in the nation to create a part-time program specifically for students with childcare and eldercare responsibilities.

Job Summary

Working closely with and reporting to the Dean/CEO of Southwestern Law School, the Vice President for Institutional Advancement is responsible for designing and implementing a comprehensive institutional advancement program and recruiting and developing talented team members focused on significantly increasing constituent engagement and fundraising outcomes. The advancement function includes responsibility for the annual fund, corporate and foundation relations, major gifts, gift planning, endowment, capital campaigns, alumni and other constituent relations efforts, stewardship, and advancement services. This new leader must ensure long-term sustainable philanthropic growth and deepen the organization’s relationships with existing and new donors.

Key Responsibilities

Organizational Mission and Values

  • Advance the mission, vision, and short and long-term goals of Southwestern in concert with the Board of Trustees and the Dean/CEO
  • Nurture a strong culture of collaboration that encourages teamwork, innovation, and respect for diversity
  • Encourage the staff’s professional growth and development
  • Balance the need for excellence in achieving Southwestern’s mission with good stewardship of all organizational resources

Organizational Management and Leadership

  • Serve as a member of Southwestern’s leadership team and maintain close working relationships with members of the Board of Trustees, key faculty, alumni, and supporters
  • Encourage and support a structure that enables the Dean/President to devote significant time to fundraising and stewardship
  • Participate in discussions about strategic decisions
  • Deepen engagement of Southwestern faculty, staff, alumni, and students by creating a culture of philanthropy
  • Devise and implement effective internal and external messaging and methods of advancement communication in collaboration with the Communications and Marketing department
  • Ensure that Southwestern’s donor directives are clearly articulated and are embedded in the law school’s administrative structure

Fund and Prospect Development

  • Create annual development goals, benchmarks, and objectives by serving as the chief fundraising strategist for Southwestern
  • Direct a comprehensive development plan which includes annual fund campaigns, special-need and comprehensive campaigns, and planned and deferred gifts
  • Ensure that Southwestern is continuously developing and maintaining positive relationships with alumni and donors
  • Maintain a dynamic portfolio of high net worth individuals and community partners and secure major, capital, and planned gifts, as well as advanced annual gifts and endowment support
  • Oversee advancement services including data management for timely and accurate recording and acknowledgement of gifts and appropriate prospect qualification activities, including ethical research practices that align with industry standards
  • Promote a positive image and positive external relationships for Southwestern among donors and prospective donors

Board Development

  • Staff the Board Institutional Advancement Committee, provide guidance, direction, and accountability
  • Prepare accurate and timely reports for the Institutional Advancement Committee and the Board
  • Assist the Dean and the Board’s Membership and Governance Committee with the identification, recruitment, and staffing of Board members with proven commitments to giving and fundraising
  • Ensure that expectations of giving related to service as a Trustee or member of another Southwestern volunteer boards are clearly and consistently articulated
  • Work with the Dean, Board members, and other leaders within the organization to identify connections and open doors to prospective donors from their network


  • Bachelor’s Degree required
  • 7 years or more of progressively responsible relevant leadership experience
  • Demonstrated working knowledge of the fundamental skill set of institutional advancement, with a particular emphasis on major gift acquisition, or equivalent experience
  • A proven record of successful cultivation and solicitation of six- and seven-figure gifts, or equivalent experience
  • Ability to think strategically and creatively about engaging donors and to develop plans of action and follow-through
  • Ability to inspire and motivate staff and volunteers
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Integrity and fiscal accountability
  • Must be willing and available to work evenings and weekends according to project requirements and donor-related activity
  • Some travel may be required

EEO Statement - Southwestern is an EEO/Affirmative Action Employer. Applications from women and minorities are encouraged.

Contact Information - Candidates are advised to send a cover letter and resume to