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Jim Sandman

James Sandman

Distinguished Lecturer and Senior Consultant to the Future of the Profession Initiative

Jim has had a long and varied career in private practice with a big law firm, in government service, and as a public interest lawyer.

Jim is President Emeritus of the Legal Services Corporation, the largest funder of civil legal aid in the United States. LSC, established by an Act of Congress in 1974, supports 132 independent legal aid programs with more than 850 offices serving every state and territory. Jim was President of LSC from 2011 to 2020.

He practiced law for 30 years with the international, Washington-based law firm of Arnold & Porter and served as the firm’s Managing Partner for a decade. Immediately prior to joining the Legal Services Corporation, he served as General Counsel of the District of Columbia Public Schools. He is a past President of the 110,000-member District of Columbia Bar.

Jim is Chair of the Executive Committee and of the Board of Advisors of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, Vice Chair of the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission, Vice Chair of the American Bar Association’s Task Force on Law and Artificial Intelligence, and Vice Chair of the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the American Law Institute, and serves on the boards of Albany Law School, the Pro Bono Institute, and the International Senior Lawyers Project.  Jim previously served as chair of the American Bar Association’s Task Force on Legal Needs Arising Out of the Covid-19 Pandemic, chair of the District of Columbia Circuit Judicial Conference Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services, chair of the boards of the Meyer Foundation and Whitman-Walker Health, and as a member of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, the ABA’s Commission on the Future of Legal Services, and the boards of the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, the Neighborhood Legal Services Program of the District of Columbia, the NALP Foundation for Law Career Research and Education, and Wilkes University.

Jim is a recipient of American Lawyer’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He was named one of the “90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the Last 30 Years” by Legal Times. The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School has honored him with its Alumni Award of Merit and its Howard Lesnick Pro Bono Award. He has also received the District of Columbia Bar’s highest honor, the Justice William J. Brennan Jr. Award, as well as the Wiley A. Branton Award from the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Legal Rights and Urban Affairs, the Washington Council of Lawyers’ Presidents’ Award, and the American Bar Association’s Presidential Citation.

Jim is a summa cum laude graduate of Boston College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and a cum laude graduate of Penn Carey Law, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif and served as Executive Editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. He began his legal career as a law clerk to Judge Max Rosenn of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.