Senior Management

Harrison D. McIver III
Executive Director and CEO

Executive Director/CEO since 1998,  McIver received his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law, Newark, NJ and began his legal career as a Reginald Heber Smith Fellow with North Mississippi Rural Legal Services. He later became a managing attorney of the former Southwest Mississippi Legal Services and North Mississippi Rural Legal Services before becoming Executive Director of the Central Mississippi Legal Services in Jackson, MS. He left Mississippi to become Executive Director of the Project Advisory Group, the national organization of legal services programs, in Washington, DC, where he represented and advocated for legal aid law firms from across the country. There, he provided technical assistance to them while coordinating and authoring communications, which included the informative PAG Update that kept the equal justice community abreast of cutting issues and happenings. Since his arrival as Executive Director/CEO of MALS, McIver facilitated the creation of the program’s first vision and mission statements, and strategic and business plans that rallied and focused board and staff around a common purpose; restructured the delivery system to promote more efficient access to services; and served as a catalyst for building partnerships and collaborations including the private bar in order to expand services to increase and maximize resources. He has been successful at assembling and maintaining a highly dedicated and competent staff to serve the firm’s client population. During his tenure, McIver has served on various community organization boards, as Chair of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, member of Tennessee House of Delegates and on the boards of the Memphis Bar Association, local National Bar Association (Ben F. Jones Chapter) and Latino Memphis. He received Ben F. Jones’ A. A. Latting Award and its Presidential Award, the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services’ B. Riney Green Award and is a recipient of the American Bar Association’s Charles H. Dorsey Award, given in recognition of exceptional legal work.  He has been inducted as a Fellow by the Tennessee Bar Foundation, the Memphis and Shelby County Bar Foundation and the American Bar Foundation. Under McIver’s leadership, MALS became the first legal aid organization participant in the Program for Nonprofit Excellence in the country, a nationally recognized capacity building program designed to enhance organizational capacity in providing seamless high quality legal service. 

Matthew F. Jones
General Counsel/Director of Advocacy 

Matthew F. Jones earned his law degree from the University of Mississippi (J.D., 2001) after exploring careers in journalism, music and real estate. A 1993 graduate of Rhodes College (B.A., Russian/Soviet Cultural Studies), Mr. Jones entered law school with aspirations of becoming a real estate lawyer but developed an interest in the litigation process which propelled him into a 14-year career in private practice – first on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi before settling back in the Memphis area in 2006. After working several years as a partner in a regional law firm with a multi-state commercial litigation practice, Mr. Jones decided to refocus his career on issues closer to the fray of social and economic justice. He joined MALS in 2015 to assist with consumer issues and a federal lawsuit involving a disabled student’s Constitutional rights. Invigorated by the work that MALS does, he applied for his current position to embolden the organization’s advocacy efforts both in and out of the courtroom.

Janese K. Perry
Chief Financial and Human Resource Officer 

Perry received a B. S. in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee at Martin and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Memphis.  She initially worked for MALS as its Business Manager from 1979 to 1982.  Since rejoining MALS’ staff in 2001, she has been instrumental in updating the program’s Financial Manual, Employee Handbook, Salary Administration and Employee Performance Appraisal System.   As head of fiscal operations, she has taken measures to improve the program’s fringe benefit package and leads her department in receiving unqualified fiscal audits each year.

Rita Gibson Rayford
Director of Development and Managing Attorney 

Rita Gibson Rayford is the Director of Development and Managing Attorney for the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program.  During her career, she has had the opportunity to explore a variety of academic and professional opportunities.  She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in public administration, nonprofit administration, administrative law, nonprofit budgeting and taxation, family law and research methods.  She also has experience in fund development, management information systems, human resources management, and program development.  She holds a B. A. in Sociology, a Masters of Public Administration and a law degree from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.

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