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Chief Technology Officer

Brooklyn Defender Services


Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS), a not-for-profit public defender with approximately 400 employees, is actively seeking a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to join their growing team. The role will require someone who can build and implement a strategic plan that can scale as the needs of the organization changes and develops with its growth. This individual will partner with the executive team to optimize technology, IT security and data management to strengthen impact while continuing to deliver reliable, cost-effective services across a dispersed team of professionals.


Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS) provides high quality legal representation and support services to people who cannot afford to retain an attorney. Since opening their doors in 1996 with 38 employees working around donated conference room tables, the organization has represented close to half a million people in legal matters across Kings County.

Today, BDS is one of the largest defender offices in the country, representing more than 30,000 clients in criminal, family, immigration and civil cases annually. Their staff of 400 includes attorneys, social workers, investigators, paralegals, re-entry specialists, jail liaisons, community organizers and policy specialists as well as dedicated advocates for youth, veterans and parents. Their specialized defense approach allows them to provide targeted services for clients with mental illness or developmental disabilities, adolescent clients, trafficking victims and veterans.

BDS recognizes that its clients face many additional challenges related to their cases. BDS’ staff provides supplemental legal and social services including immigration attorneys, housing attorneys, an education attorney and social workers who specialize in areas such as mental health and youth advocacy. In addition to direct service, Brooklyn Defenders also works to advance legal action around issues vital to their clients. Recent highlights include:

  • Filing a class action lawsuit against ICE to prevent video teleconference hearings that BDS believes infringe upon immigrants’ constitutional rights in a deliberate attempt to speed up and increase deportations.
  • Challenging New York State’s antiquated criminal discovery laws to enable public defenders to more adequately prepare for trial.

BDS has grown exponentially in recent years and is looking to develop its senior management team to enhance its technical and operational efficiency while preparing for future expansion. The organization is based in downtown Brooklyn with seven stand-alone and court-based offices and has a budget of $45m.

Strategy & Innovation

  • Develop strategic relationships and assess the IT needs of all stakeholders across BDS and develop an understanding of current and future requirements;
  • Implement improvements to and advancement of current IT services, structure and organization, personnel, governance, infrastructure and service capabilities;
  • Evaluate, estimate costs and impact, and prioritize strategic initiatives, departmental needs and user requirements to generate a cogent operational plan;
  • Mobile engagement – Ideation around messaging channels on mobile devices that drive team collaboration for a dispersed BDS workforce;
  • Define and deliver an IT strategy that incorporates a scalable infrastructure and services model that is informed by industry best practices and the needs of BDS.

Infrastructure & Technology

  • Lead the purchase, integration and adoption of all relevant hardware, software (on premises and cloud) and networking infrastructure across BDS;
  • Oversee all maintenance and support relationships with third party vendors;
  • Oversee all IT-related security, risk management and disaster recovery solutions;
  • Manage all mobile technology;
  • Overall responsibility for managing an IT architecture that is appropriate for a dispersed organization.

Security & Data Management

  • Act as the on-site point executive for all IT security management;
  • Work with the internal team to develop processes, procedures and set security standards;
  • Provide guidance and oversight for continual assessments of IT and data security to prioritize results and mitigate all risks;
  • Lead development of architecture strategy and standards for data management, both on-prem and cloud environments;

Governance & Operations

  • Lead the continuous process improvement and progression by the technology team by fostering innovation, prioritizing IT initiatives, and coordinating the evaluation, deployment and management of current and future IT systems across BDS;
  • Develop and implement best-in-class policies, processes, metrics and practices;
  • Champion process improvements for the technology team and foster Lean initiatives that benefit BDS;
  • Ensure the effective operation of all BDS Case Management Systems (CMS). Make needed strategic and technology-related recommendations to improve case management operations;
  • Oversee all contract negotiations and relationships with vendors – negotiate all SLAs;
  • Leverage technology to integrate work processes across departments to simplify operations, improve quality, reduce costs and create a sustainable infrastructure for ongoing success;
  • Develop and maintain performance metrics that enable the executive management team to monitor progress and make decisions.

People Management

  • Create a world class “staff experience” by attracting, retaining and developing talent.
  • Establish policies and practices to ensure consistent and sustainable IT and data practices.
  • Hire and retain a strong and diverse team of IT, Data and Operations professionals who are models for others across the organization.
  • Coach and develop members of the team to support professional growth and personal satisfaction.

Executive Leadership

  • Serve as the strategic advisor and coach to the executive management team to address technology requirements and potential advancements.
  • Collaborate with executive management team members to establish and continuously improve workflows that help people work smarter and deliver consistent quality to stakeholders.
  • Set the IT strategic direction and annual priorities for BDS as part of the overall executive leadership team’s strategic mission.

CTO Background

  • 10-15 years of senior level experience using technology to transform business;
  • Commitment to innovation and a strong understanding of the use of technology to enhance organizational effectiveness, efficiency and user experience;
  • Experience developing integrated systems and processes in a complex environment;
  • Multi-cultural competence and comfort – ability to lead a diverse, dispersed team and to work across difference at all levels at BDS;
  • Proven ability to inspire change and lead others through transition;
  • Build a strong and productive relationship with peers and executive management at all levels of BDS to influence change without direct authority;
  • Technical experience – Solid experience working with SAAS platforms, preferably those focused in the legal vertical. Must also have a solid understanding of data management, digital transformation and collaboration platforms;
  • A thorough understanding of case management systems (CMS) is a plus.

This position description is based upon material provided by Brooklyn Defender Services, an equal opportunity employer.


New York
No information provided.
Posted on:
March 27, 2019

How to Apply

To apply to this position please visit http://drgsearch.com/current-searches/?rpid=201462&postid=iV9DReK-kQI&webapp=1