Diversity Day at Elon Law set for February 7, 2009, with featured speaker Elaine R. Jones

Elaine R. Jones, who served as the first woman president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) from 1993 to 2004 and championed a number of groundbreaking civil rights cases over a career spanning three decades, will deliver the keynote address at Elon University School of Law’s second annual Diversity Day, presented in partnership with DiscoverLaw.org, Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009.

The free event, which is designed primarily for minority students but is open to all who are considering law school, will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Elon Law School, located at 201 North Greene Street in downtown Greensboro.

The program will include panel presentations from practicing attorneys, judges and current law school students, as well as a mock class. The event, co-sponsored by the Greensboro Bar Association, the Guilford County Association of Black Lawyers, and the Law School Admission Council, will offer prospective students the opportunity to visit with representatives from every North Carolina law school.

Jones served for 32 years with LDF, the nation’s oldest law firm fighting for equal rights and justice for people of color, women, and the poor.  She began her career representing death row defendants in the South and was counselor of record in Furman v. Georgia. That 1972 Supreme Court ruling overturned the sentences of 629 death row defendants because of racial bias in the sentencing process.

Since that time, her achievements in championing civil rights cases and shaping civil rights jurisprudence more broadly are numerous, as detailed by LDF Board of Directors members Julius L. Chambers and Martin D. Payson, “As President and Director-Counsel, Elaine Jones expanded LDF’s litigation into new areas such as health care and environmental justice, while keeping the organization focused on its core work in education, voting rights, economic access and criminal justice. Under her leadership LDF took on the big cases…and she brought home victories.”

After graduating with honors in political science from Howard University and becoming one of the first African Americans to serve in Turkey through the Peace Corps, Jones became the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Virginia School of Law. She is also the first African American to serve on the board of governors of the American Bar Association.

Those interested in attending Diversity Day at Elon Law should RSVP to lawreservations@elon.edu with the names of all persons planning on attending from your party. For questions or additional information, please contact Sharon Gaskin, assistant dean for admissions, at sgaskin@elon.edu or 336.279.9200.