The Committee Announces Jonathan Smith as New Executive Director

WASHINGTON, DC – The Board of Directors of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs (“the Committee”) is pleased to announce the selection of Jonathan Smith as Executive Director.

smith jonathan“Among a competitive field of highly qualified candidates, Jonathan emerged as the top choice because of his unique combination of vision, knowledge, skills, and experience most relevant to the Committee’s needs at this important inflection point in its history,” said Steve Hollman, Co-Chair of the Committee’s Board of Directors.

Current Committee Executive Director Rod Boggs will step down after the Committee’s annual Wiley A. Branton Awards Luncheon in June 2016, following 45 years of service.  At the Branton Luncheon, Jonathan will be formally introduced to the Committee’s supporters and Rod will be honored with the organization’s 2016 Wiley Branton Award.

In addition to Jonathan’s extensive experience in civil rights and poverty law, he brings a proven record of nonprofit executive leadership, having previously served as Executive Director of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, the Public Justice Center in Baltimore, Maryland, and the D.C. Prisoners’ Legal Services Project. In each of these positions, Jonathan provided program leadership and handled individual, class action, and impact litigation.  He also engaged in legislative and public policy advocacy as well as institutional reform efforts. Jonathan also served as Chief of the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice. During his four and one-half year tenure, the Section completed 18 investigations of civil rights violations by law enforcement, including the civil investigation of the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department in the wake of the Michael Brown shooting.

“I am honored to join the Committee’s talented and committed staff to continue its critical work in addressing civil rights violations, poverty, and public education in our community,” said Smith.  “I am humbled to follow in the footsteps of Rod Boggs, who has provided exceptional leadership across nearly five decades.  The Committee and community owe a debt of gratitude to Rod for his tremendous service in the cause of equal access to justice, and I look forward to continuing his legacy.”

“Speaking personally and on behalf of the staff, the Committee could not be more pleased with the selection of Jonathan Smith as our new Executive Director,” said Rod Boggs. “His experience and record of commitment to civil rights speak for themselves. We could not imagine a more qualified individual to take our organization forward.”

The executive search firm LeaderFit worked with the Board of the Directors on this search.

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