Time to Transition: Legal Aid leader George Hausen announces retirement

After 20 years of service as the founding President and Executive Director of Legal Aid of North Carolina, George R. Hausen, Jr., recently announced that he will retire in the summer of 2022.

“Leaving Legal Aid is truly bittersweet for me,” Hausen said. “My 20 years here have been the most meaningful of my career. The passion, dedication and tirelessness of my colleagues – not to mention the resiliency and courage of our clients – inspires me daily. I will miss being surrounded by the best of what humanity has to offer. I also know that now is the time for new leadership. Legal Aid is better positioned than ever before to make a real, meaningful difference in the lives of North Carolinians in need. The organization deserves a new leader with a vision for what it can become over the next 20 years. I am excited for that future and hope that all of our supporters are too.”

Under Hausen’s visionary leadership:

  • Legal Aid grew from a $13 million organization with 220 staff into the powerhouse it is today. With its current staff of 475 and its operating budget of $38 million, Legal Aid is one of the largest human-service nonprofits in North Carolina, the fourth largest law firm in the state, and one of the largest civil legal aid organizations in the country.
  • Legal Aid launched innovative projects aimed at providing holistic services to its clients, including the NC Navigator Consortium, which helps enroll North Carolinians in affordable health insurance on HealthCare.gov; the NC Medicaid Ombudsman, which serves as the advocate for beneficiaries in North Carolina Medicaid’s new Managed Care system; and the Disaster Relief Project, which helps vulnerable households prepare for, respond to and recover from ruinous natural disasters.
  • Legal Aid served 800,000 households since its launch in 2002. By employing innovative strategies, like establishing the Central Intake Unit to standardize client intake across the state, launching a statewide client helpline and online intake application, and maximizing the use of the latest technology to deliver free legal-education and self-help materials to the client community, Hausen ensured that Legal Aid advocates could deliver the most impactful service to those who need it most.

“It’s hard to imagine Legal Aid of North Carolina without George,” said Gonzalo E. Frias, Chair of Legal Aid’s Board of Directors. “Heading into our 20th anniversary year, the organization is the strongest it has ever been – and that is due in large part to George’s steady, tireless and innovative leadership. Under his direction, the organization has evolved from merely a law firm into the full-scope human-services juggernaut for the poor that it is today. He leaves his successor with giant shoulders to stand on.”

In preparation for Hausen’s retirement, Legal Aid’s Board of Directors has engaged Armstrong McGuire & Associates to lead an Executive Transition Management process. A transition and search committee has been formed and is led by longtime Legal Aid board member Reid C. “Cal” Adams, Jr., Partner at Womble Bond Dickinson in Winston-Salem; and Vice Chair of Legal Aid’s board of directors, Ashley Campbell, director of Campbell Law’s Community Law Clinic and Of Counsel at Ragsdale Liggett PLLC in Raleigh.

About Legal Aid of North Carolina

Legal Aid of North Carolina is a statewide, nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income people in order to ensure equal access to justice and to remove legal barriers to economic opportunity. Learn more at legalaidnc.org. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. Need legal help? Call 1-866-219-5262 (toll-free) or apply online.