WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) officially welcomed Kristen Clarke as its new president and executive director. Clarke formerly served as the head of the Civil Rights Bureau at the New York State Attorney General’s Office, where she spearheaded a broad dockets of civil rights enforcement on a range of matters including criminal justice issues, education and housing discrimination, fair lending, barriers to reentry for people with criminal backgrounds, equal employment opportunity, voting rights, immigrants’ rights, reproductive rights, disability access and LGBT issues. Under her leadership, the Bureau secured landmark agreements with banks to address unlawful redlining, employers to address barriers to reentry, major retailers on racial profiling of consumers, police departments on reforms to policies and practices, and school districts concerning issues relating to the school-to-prison pipeline.
“I am pleased to lead the Lawyers’ Committee at a time when we continue to witness stark discrimination and ongoing racial inequality across our nation,” said Clarke. “I am deeply committed to working to address the causes and collateral consequences of mass incarceration, ensuring that all Americans are able to enjoy access to the ballot box, promoting equal educational opportunity for our children, and combating ongoing housing and employment discrimination as we continue to move America toward justice. I look forward to working alongside our dedicated board, staff and pro bono partners to ensure justice and equality for all.”
As the 2016 presidential election approaches, Clarke also looks forward to working with staff to lead Election Protection, the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition. Clarke stated, “Through Election Protection’s suite of hotlines and field programs, the pro bono assistance provided by lawyers and supporters across the country and our litigation and advocacy efforts, we will continue to educate voters, eliminate barriers and ensure equal access to the ballot box.”
“Kristen has already hit the ground running and the organization is confident in her ability to advance our mission of securing equal justice for all under the rule of law,” said Lawyers’ Committee Co-Chair James P. Joseph.
“As Kristen takes the helm, we look forward to her visionary leadership and pioneering ideas,” said Lawyers’ Committee Co-Chair John M. Nonna.”
Prior to the New York State Attorney General’s Office, Clarke worked at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. where she served as a Program Director helping to coordinate the organization’s work in the areas of voting rights and election law across the country, with a focus on the Deep South. Prior to joining LDF, she worked in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice where she served as a federal prosecutor in the Criminal Section of the Division, handling police misconduct, police brutality, hate crimes, and human trafficking cases. She also worked on voting rights and redistricting cases through the Office’s Voting Section.
Clarke speaks and writes regularly on issues concerning race, law and democracy. She has written numerous articles and books including Barack Obama and African American Empowerment: The Rise of Black America’s New Leadership (co-edited with Dr. Manning Marable). She has also served as a Lecturer in Law at Columbia University School of Law. She received her A. B. from Harvard University and her J.D. from Columbia Law School.
Her honors and awards include being recognized as of the New York Law Journal’s 2015 Rising Stars and receiving the Best Brief Award for the 2012 Supreme Court term from the National Association of Attorneys General and the 2011 National Bar Association’s Top 40 Under 40.