Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
|Focus||Civil rights and voting rights|
|Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director|
The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights under Law, or simply The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights or Lawyers' Committee, is a civil rights organization founded in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy.
During a June 21, 1963, meeting at the White House, in the midst of the American civil rights movement, President John F. Kennedy suggested the formation of a group of lawyers to counter and reduce racial tensions by way of volunteer citizen actions. On July 10, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights under Law was publicly announced. The first co-chairs of the Committee were two well-known figures in the civil rights and legal fields, Bernard Segal and Harrison Tweed. Over a hundred lawyers volunteered to serve in the organization, with both white and black attorneys being represented. Membership also included five past presidents of the American Bar Association and four members of its board, as well as twelve current presidents of state bar associations, and officials from the NAACP and its legal defense fund. On August 9, 1963, the group officially registered as a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. Its first executive director, David Stahl, was named in December 1963.
The group's first goal was to counter legal efforts to preserve segregation in Mississippi. The Mississippi office of the organization opened on June 14, 1965, with a mission of getting the bar to take on the professional responsibility for leading the American civil rights movement and providing legal services where they would otherwise be unavailable.
The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is structured around a number of projects that it operates on an ongoing basis:
- The Community Development Project provides pro bono legal assistance to community organizations engaged in connecting minority and low-income communities with economic opportunities, affordable housing, and healthier living.
- The Fair Housing Project challenges discrimination in rental and private markets and public and assisted housing in lawsuits under the Fair Housing Act. It trains local private attorneys to manage fair housing cases and cases referred from fair housing councils.
- The Legal Mobilization Project provides legal expertise and support to the Committee's other projects.
- The Public Policy Department provides policy leadership, advocacy, visibility and materials for interacting with the United States Congress and on substantive priorities arising on the legislative calendar.
- "Lawyers Asked to Aid Integration", Associated Press, Lakeland Ledger, August 14, 1963, p. 3.
- Weart, William G. "100 Lawyers Join New Rights Group", The New York Times, July 11, 1963, p. 17.
- "Ex-State Official Joins Lawyers' Rights Panel", Associated Press, The New York Times, December 24, 1963.
- Berl Bernhard, Executive Director, LCCR, "Report on the Committee Office in the South", Aug. 7 through Oct. 6, 1965, Jackson Mississippi File, Records of the LCCR, Washington, D.C.
- "About the Community Development Project" Archived 2012-03-08 at the Wayback Machine.. Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
- "About the Fair Housing Project" Archived 2012-03-07 at the Wayback Machine.. Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- "About the Legal Mobilization Project". Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- "About the Public Policy Project" Archived 2012-04-09 at the Wayback Machine.. Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Retrieved October 3, 2011