University of Pittsburgh
May 18, 2004

President of NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund To Speak at Pitt Law School Graduation May 22

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—Theodore M. Shaw, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), the nation's premier civil rights law firm, will deliver the keynote address at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law graduation at 11 a.m. May 22 in Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, Fifth Avenue and Bigelow Boulevard, in Oakland.

Shaw, who joined LDF in 1982, is the sixth person to lead the organization in its 64-year history. He directed LDF's education docket and litigated school desegregation, capital punishment, and other civil rights cases throughout the country. In 1987, he established LDF's Western Regional Office in Los Angeles and served as its Western Regional counsel. He left LDF in 1990 to join the faculty of the University of Michigan Law School, where he taught constitutional law, civil procedure, and civil rights. In 1993, on a leave of absence from Michigan, he rejoined LDF as associate director-counsel.

Shaw is a graduate of Wesleyan University, with honors, and Columbia University School of Law, where he was a Charles Evans Hughes Fellow. From 1979 to 1982, he worked as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U. S. Department of Justice. He resigned in protest of the Reagan Administration's civil rights policies.

Shaw was lead counsel in a coalition that represented African American and Latino student-intervenors in the University of Michigan undergraduate affirmative action admissions case. In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court heard that case, along with one challenging the use of affirmative action at the University of Michigan Law School. The court ruled in favor of diversity as a compelling state interest.

Among Shaw's honors are the A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. Memorial Award from the National Bar Association Young Lawyers Division; the Lawrence A. Wein Prize for Social Justice from Columbia University; and the Baldwin Medal, the highest honor given by the Wesleyan University alumni organization, for extraordinary service to the university. Shaw served on the Wesleyan Board of Trustees for 15 years and was the board's senior vice chair when he retired from it in June 2003.

Shaw is an adjunct professor of law at Columbia Law School and the second appointee to Temple Law School's Phyllis Beck Chair, which he held during the 2003 spring semester. He also was the second recipient of City University of New York School of Law's Haywood Burns Chair in Civil Rights, which he held for the 1997-98 academic year.

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