The Legal Defense Fund is the leading American legal organization fighting for racial justice. In 1993, Ifill left LDF to attend the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore. For more than 20 years, Ifill taught civil procedure and constitutional law to thousands of law students and pioneered a number of legal clinics, including one of the first legal clinics in the country focused on removing legal barriers to the reintegration of ex-offenders. Ifill is also a prolific scholar who has published academic articles in leading legal journals as well as editorials and commentaries in leading journals. His 2007 book “On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century” was highly regarded and is said to have laid the groundwork for contemporary conversations about lynching and reconciliation. A 10th anniversary edition of the book was recently published with a foreword by Bryan Stevenson, the famous lawyer and founder of the National Lynch Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. Janai S. Nelson is President and Chief Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF). The nation`s leading civil rights organization fighting for racial justice and equality. LDF was founded in 1940 by legendary civil rights lawyer and the nation`s first black Supreme Court justice, Thurgood Marshall, and became a separate organization from the NAACP in 1957. Legal Defense Fund lawyers developed and executed the legal strategy that led to the landmark Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, widely regarded as the most transformative and monumental legal decision of the 20th century. A number of prominent lawyers have been associated with LDF over the years, including Barack Obama, who was a cooperative LDF lawyer.
 The following non-exhaustive list of DFL alumni shows the breadth of positions these lawyers have held or currently hold in the public service, government, academia, the private sector and other fields. The NAACP Board of Directors established the Legal Defense Fund in 1940 specifically for tax purposes. In 1957, the DFL was completely separated from the NAACP and given its own independent board of directors and staff.  Although DFL was originally intended to operate in accordance with NAACP policy, serious disputes arose between the two organizations after 1961. These conflicts eventually led the NAACP to create its own in-house legal department, while LDF continued to operate as an independent organization and achieve significant legal victories.   Prior to joining academia, Nelson was a Fulbright Scholar at the Legal Resources Center in Accra, Ghana, where she studied political disenfranchisement of criminal offenders and democracy promotion in Ghana. Her research as a Fulbright scholar is the basis for a publication entitled Fair Measure of the Right to Vote: A Comparative Perspective of Voting Rights Enforcement in a Milluring Democracy,18 Cardozo J. Comp. & Int`l 425 (2010).
Prior to receiving the Fulbright Award, Nelson was director of the LDF political participation group, where she oversaw all litigation and voting issues, litigated voting and redistricting cases, and worked on criminal justice issues on behalf of African Americans and other underserved communities. During her time at LDF, she argued bench before the Second Circuit and was lead counsel in Hayden v. Pataki, a case of disenfranchisement for offenders who challenged New York State laws that deny the right to vote to people imprisoned and on probation for a felony conviction. She was also part of the team of civil rights lawyers representing African and Haitian-American voters in NAACP v. Hood (a class action lawsuit resulting from the 2000 general election) and one of the attorneys representing a death row inmate whose sentence was commuted to Banks v. Dretke by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003. All legal claims have deadlines. Some civil rights violations may require you to file a complaint or seek options with a government agency before you can take legal action. If you fail to comply with the deadlines or notice obligations, you may be legally prevented from bringing your claim to court. Contacting LDF for legal assistance does not stop these deadlines or eliminate the need to submit notifications.
If you have an urgent need or need to meet a deadline, contact a private attorney, your local public defender, or your state`s bar association. DO NOT wait for a response from LDF. As a renowned scholar of suffrage and electoral law, Nelson continues to produce cutting-edge research on national and comparative suffrage, race, and democratic theory. Nelson`s publication, Parsing Partisanship: An Approach to Partisan Gerrymandering and Race, was published in NYU Law Review (October 2021) and suggests an option for the Supreme Court to deal with hybrid racist and partisan claims of gerrymandering, though it notes that partisan gerrymandering is not justiciable. She has also published Counting Change: Ensuring an Inclusive Census for Communities of Color, 119 Colum. (2019), which proposes a theory of equal representation in which all U.S. residents “must be counted and served as voters,” which centers the accurate census and enumeration of the nation`s most vulnerable populations for the functioning of our democracy. His two other seminal scholarly publications are The Causal Context of Disparate Vote Denial, 54 B.C. L.
Rev. 579 (2013), which examines Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act as a disparate standard of impact and racial dimensions of modern voting refusal, and The First Amendment, Equal Protection and Felon Disfranchisement: A New Viewpoint, 64 fl. L. Rev. 111 (2013), which examines the intersection of the First Amendment and the Equality Safeguard Clause to re-examine the constitutionality of offender removal in the United States. Nelson has taught courses on suffrage and political participation, comparative suffrage, suffrage, professional responsibility, and constitutional law, as well as a seminar on racial justice strategies, and lectured at law schools across the country. Nelson also received the Derrick A Award. Bell 2013 from the Minority Groups Section of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) and was named one of 50 Minority Professors Under 50 by Lawyers of Color who have an impact on legal education. LDF`s national office is located in Manhattan, with regional offices in Washington, D.C. LDF has nearly two dozen lawyers and hundreds of cooperating lawyers across the country.  “I am thrilled and thrilled to have been selected by The American Lawyer as the 2020 Lawyer of the Year,” Ifill said in her acceptance speech.
“I have the privilege of leading the most wonderful, dedicated and brilliant cohort of lawyers in this country. And over the past year, we have worked as never before to defend the rights of the most marginalized and to maintain and strengthen American democracy. Last year, we put our entire profession to the test. Sometimes we have distinguished ourselves and have been true profiles of courage. In other cases, lawyers and institutions in our profession have failed to uphold and advance the rule of law and have revealed the work we need to do to strengthen our profession. LDF is completely independent and separate from the NAACP.  Although LDF can trace its origins back to the NAACP Legal Department, founded in the 1930s by Charles Hamilton Houston, Thurgood Marshall founded LDF as a separate legal entity in 1940 and LDF became completely independent of the NAACP in 1957.  LDF`s litigation, political advocacy, organizing, and public education programs in the core areas of criminal justice, economic justice, education, and political participation aim to ensure the fundamental and fundamental human rights of all people to quality education, economic opportunities, the right to vote, and full participation in democracy. and the right to a fair and equitable justice system. insure.