Chief Operating Officer

Christina Albert

Chief Operating Officer

Van Ness Feldman, LLP, a mid-sized Washington, DC law, government advocacy, and public policy firm that specializes in energy, natural resources, environmental and transportation policy seeks a Chief Operating Officer.




The Chief Operating Officer (COO) has responsibility for establishing an effective organizational structure to support the firm’s administrative functions. Areas include human resources, administrative services, marketing, business and professional development, recruiting and diversity, accounting and financial systems, information resources, and information technology. The COO manages the general business operations of the firm, implements the firm’s strategic plan, and manages periodic updates to the strategic plan to respond to market demands.


The COO provides leadership and direction to all office functions that support client services.  The firm supports professionals located in offices in Washington DC, Seattle, northern California, and other locations.   



                     Keep members informed of firm business matters and management decisions of interest to them.
                     Meet with individual members to find solutions to specific administrative or support services challenges that cannot be handled by the firm’s administrative directors and managers.
                     Keep members informed of practice management and client service activities through frequent discussions with practice group leaders and other members and staff to ensure that appropriate levels of support are being provided.
                     Support practice group coordinators in developing and implementing systems for managing workflow, expense reimbursement processes, and general coordination among the various groups and offices.
                     Keep the members informed of major operating decisions and advised of any matters requiring involvement of the members.
                     Work closely with the firm’s Executive Committee in carrying out their responsibilities and in identifying management priorities and allocating resources. Provide analysis to support Executive Committee functions.  Participate in Executive Committee meetings as requested. 

Directors, Managers, and Administrative Staff
                     Supervise directors and managers of each department.
                     Meet regularly with directors and managers to communicate business goals and objectives and to discuss the role of each individual in reaching firm goals. 
                     Ensure that directors are fulfilling their job responsibilities; work with them to set goals; and provide ongoing evaluation, feedback, and constructive criticism. 
                     Ensure that firm employees at all levels are receiving proper training for fulfilling their responsibilities and that they have a clear understanding of their reporting lines.  As necessary, provide counseling and training on the need to work in a team environment.
                     Ensure that administrative staff in the firm’s various offices are properly supervised and receive ongoing communication from administrative directors and managers responsible for their supervision.
                     Ensure that staff in all administrative departments receive appropriate cross-training.
                     Ensure that each administrative department is properly staffed.

                     Communicate the firm’s determination to maintain the highest possible professional standards in performing legal and policy work and to provide high quality service and responsiveness to clients and each other at all times.  This goal requires that all firm employees promote a team environment.
                     Ensure that all employees are aware of the firm’s business goals and objectives and how each employee plays a role in reaching those goals.  Provide ongoing communication regarding the importance of quality service and responsiveness to clients and working together to accomplish these goals; develop ways to reward and recognize exceptional client service and teamwork.
                     Ensure that administrative directors and staff understand policies, procedures and work processes, interpret them correctly, and apply them consistently. 
                     Develop firmwide communications processes to help align all firm employees to common goals.
                     Provide technical, interpersonal and communications skills training to all firm employees.
                     Participate in the integration of new lawyers and laterals coming into the firm.  Develop programs to facilitate such integration.

Outside Relationships 
                     Serve as the firm’s liaison, or supervise such liaison, with the firm’s landlords, banks, government agencies, insurance agents, representatives of companies providing employee benefits, professional associations, vendors and similar groups.
Strategic Planning
                     Review existing Strategic Plan and develop implementation strategies, provide recommendations based on current market conditions.
                     Work with Executive Committee and Practice Group Coordinators to implement and update the Strategic Plan, including:
                      o   Seek creative means for adding value to the firm and increasing the firm’s efficiency and profitability.
                      o   Work with the executive committee to identify and analyze significant strategic issues and build consensus with the members in addressing issues.
                      o   Meet with members regularly to discuss strategic planning issues.
                      o   Analyze, on a continuous basis the firm’s administrative infrastructure and enhance efficiency through improved workflow processes and technology.
                      o   Supervise planning and evaluation of proposed new office locations.



The COO must be a well-rounded business executive with substantial management experience in a law firm or other professional services industry, and have knowledge normally acquired through completion of an MBA or other appropriate business degree, or equivalent experience.  The COO must possess the intellect, sophistication, leadership and interpersonal skills to interact effectively with all in the firm, ranging from senior members to administrative personnel.  The COO must have superior knowledge of and experience with workflow systems, financial management skills and excellent written and verbal communications skills.  A specific understanding of the use and proper management of information technology is required for success in this position.

The COO must be capable of providing leadership to identify critical issues affecting the organization, develop plans to accomplish objectives, and coordinate implementation.  The candidate must be a team player capable of leading by example (visibility will be key) and of motivating others to achieve excellence in their performance.

Benefits include health, dental, 401(k), long term disability, life insurance and profit-sharing plan.  EOE.   Please provide your resume by