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NAACP Legal Defense Fund prez joins Columbia Law

Banner Staff | 2/26/2009, 4:50 a.m.

Theodore M. Shaw, director-counsel and president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, has returned to his alma mater and joined the faculty of Columbia Law School, the school announced Tuesday. He will be a professor of professional practice, teaching classes in civil procedure and constitutional law.

“Since his graduation in 1979, Ted Shaw has carried on a great Columbia Law School tradition of leadership in civil rights advocacy,” said David M. Schizer, the law school’s dean and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law, in a statement announcing Shaw’s hiring. “We welcome him to the faculty where his broad experience and his creativity and insight as an advocate and scholar will add depth to our public law programs.”

After the Legal Defense Fund of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1982, Shaw participated in a number of watershed cases. He served as lead counsel of a coalition representing African American and Latino students in the University of Michigan undergraduate affirmative action admissions case. In 2003, the United States Supreme Court heard Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger, which challenged the use of affirmative action at the University of Michigan Law School. The following May, Shaw became the fifth person to lead the Legal Defense Fund in the organization’s 64-year history.

Prior to joining the Legal Defense Fund, Shaw worked from 1979-1982 as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., litigating civil rights cases throughout the country at the trial and appellate levels and at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Prior to attending Columbia Law School, Shaw had graduated with honors from Wesleyan University. His numerous professional honors and awards include Columbia Law School’s Lawrence A. Wein Prize for Social Justice and the National Bar Association Young Lawyers Division’s A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. Memorial Award. He has served on both Columbia Law School’s Board of Visitors and the Wesleyan University Board of Trustees, and has previously taught at the University of Michigan Law School, Temple Law School and the City University of New York School of Law, and served as a lecturer in law at Columbia Law School.