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Social Justice Community Welcomes New Lawyers' Committee President

Last night, lawyers from across DC's social justice community came out to Arnold & Porter to welcome the new president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Kristen Clarke.


We snapped Kristen, left, with Vanita Gupta, who heads the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

Kristen relocated to DC for the Lawyers' Committee leadership role after heading the NY AG Office's Civil Rights Bureau. We spoke with her soon after she started as president and executive director of the 53-year-old civil rights nonprofit in January.

She spoke yesterday about being honored to be in this position, and looking forward to waging battle with others in the room against injustices. Issues include employment and housing discrimination, voting rights, smart criminal justice reform, and addressing barriers to offender reintegration.


Above, Washington Lawyers' Committee development director Da'aga Hill Bowman and deputy director Rhonda Cunningham Holmes, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund president Sherrilyn IfillLegal Aid legal director Chinh Le, Arnold & Porter pro bono coordinator Marsha Tucker, Lawyers' Committee executive director Kristen Clarke, Legal Aid executive director Eric Angel, and DOD senior counsel and former Lawyers' Committee intern Diana Banks. Chinh and Sherrilyn are also both members of the reception's host committee.

In Kristen's first month at the helm of the Lawyers' Committee, the organization opened up investigations into two dozen colleges around the country around the criminal history questions on their application forms and filed a lawsuit against the transit authority in Philadelphia for unlawful screenings of prospective employees. Recently, the Committee completed a class-action settlement with the Census Bureau involving discriminatory employment barriers against applicants with criminal backgrounds.


Kristen "understands the value of coalition politics," said Wade Henderson, CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, so she also works to help strengthen other civil rights organizations. He was one of several lawyers to make heartfelt and moving remarks about Kristen joining the Lawyers' Committee and the organization's work to come. 

Wade's flanked by UDC Law Dean Shelley Broderick and Catherine Klein, director of the in-house clinical program at the Catholic University Columbus School of Law. Catherine's daughters have both followed in her footsteps: one of them works for UDC's clinical program, and the other is a 1L interning with the Lawyers' Committee this summer.


UDC Law professor and former Lawyers' Committee executive director Bill Robinson, center, stands between Lawyers Committee senior development officer Charlene Holloway and Voting Rights Project co-director Ezra Rosenberg.

Ezra spent 20 years at Dechert, including as deputy chair of the firm. He volunteered with the Lawyers' Committee before retiring from private practice and joining the Lawyers' Committee staff in 2015.


Arnold & Porter tax group chair Jim Joseph co-chairs the Lawyers' Committee board of directors. We snapped him with the Lawyers' Committee's Kiki Koerner. Jim joined the nonprofit's board back in 2004, and when named board co-chair said in a statement that he's thrilled and honored to work toward "fulfilling President John F. Kennedy’s visionary 1963 request to marshal the private bar’s leadership and pro bono resources in combating racial discrimination—work that continues to be vital today."