Posts Tagged NAACP

RIP John Payton – Renowned Civil Rights Advocate

By: Steve Grumm

John Payton, most recently the president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, died yesterday at a young 65 years of age.  Here’s more from the National Law Journal:

Celebrated civil rights attorney John Payton, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, died late March 22 following a brief illness, the organization confirmed.
Payton’s career spanned more than three decades in private practice, where he was one of the first African-American partners at a major law firm in Washington, and public service. He was a renowned member of the U.S. Supreme Court bar as well as a fierce advocate of pro bono work.
Payton, 65, was a “true champion of equality,” President Barack Obama said in a statement. “The legal community has lost a legend, and while we mourn John’s passing, we will never forget his courage and fierce opposition to discrimination in all its forms.”

Mr. Payton’s Washington, DC roots ran deep.  After graduating from Harvard Law School, he became one of Washington’s first minority partners at a major law firm.  Payton’s work included a tenure as chief counsel for the DC government and a term as president of the DC Bar.

The NLJ article includes praise of Payton from those who occupy rarified air in DC’s legal community, and is worth reading.

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Job o’ the Day: Deputy General Counsel at the NAACP in B-More!

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

The NAACP is looking for a Deputy General Counsel to support the work and activities of the Legal Department and the General Counsel by providing legal advice and general assistance on all activities of the NAACP; to ensure maximum protection of the organization’s legal rights; and to maintain its operations within the limits prescribed by law.

Under the direct supervision of the General Counsel, the Deputy General Counsel’s principal functions are as follows (list is not exhaustive):

  • Provides legal counsel to the General Counsel, department heads, and regional offices on legal implications of proposed programs and activities.
  • Provides legal counsel to NAACP units on those matters which have legal implications on a national basis or on national-branch relationships.
  • Keeps abreast of government legislation, which has a potential legal impact on the NAACP particularly as it relates to tax exemption. Advises National and NAACP units, board, and staff of pertinent regulations and develops appropriate guidelines related thereto as directed by the General Counsel.
  • Serves as a channel of communication with outside counsel and coordinates such efforts.
  • Monitors the legal activities of civil and human rights groups to identify those in which the NAACP may wish to participate and to determine legal forms of participation.

For more information about the Deputy Counsel’s functions, qualifications, and how to apply, check out the listing at PSLawNet!

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Perspectives on Public Interest Law: A Century’s Worth of Influence

by Kristen Pavón

The Institute for Justice President and Forbes contributor Chip Mellor wrote a great piece about public interest law’s beginnings and the changes it has gone through over the last century.

In his article, Mellor notes that with the filing of the NAACP’s first amicus brief in 1914, the era of public interest law began. He mentions that early public interest advocacy “arose around a particular conflict and not as part of a sustained, multifaceted litigation campaign,” but then says that that changed when the NAACP launched a campaign with the goal of ending racial segregation in the 1930s.

After that, public interest law was not just litigation. It was litigation-plus. It involved media relations and public mobilization for larger social and legal goals.

Very, very interesting article — I had no idea about the history of public interest law! It’s a quick read, check it out here.

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