Prof. Theodore M. Shaw

Professor of Professional Practice in Law, Columbia Law School

Theodore M. Shaw, director-counsel and president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) from 2004-08, is one of the nation’s leading voices in civil rights. Shaw joined LDF in 1982 and in 2004 became the fifth person to lead the organization. While at LDF, he was lead counsel in a coalition that represented African-American and Latino students in the University of Michigan undergraduate affirmative action admissions case. That case, Gratz v. Bollinger, went before the United States Supreme Court in 2003, along with Grutter v. Bollinger, which challenged the use of affirmative action at The University of Michigan Law School. Shaw worked as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice from 1979-82, where he litigated civil rights cases at the trial and appellate levels and at the U.S. Supreme Court. He currently serves on the Legal Advisory Network of the European Roma Rights Council based in BudapestHungary. Shaw previously has taught at ColumbiaUniversity of MichiganTemple and CUNY law schools. He is the recipient of the Wien Prize for Social Responsibility from Columbia Law School; the A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., Memorial Award from the National Bar Association Young Lawyers Division; and the Baldwin Medal from the Wesleyan University alumni body.

  • Wesleyan University, B.A., 1976, with honors
  • Columbia Law School, J.D., 1979, Charles Evans Hughes Scholar

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Publications and Multimedia
Disparate Impact Analysis - Event Audio/Video
Second Annual Executive Branch Review Conference
May 14, 2014
The Growing Use of Disparate Impact Analysis - Podcast
Civil Rights Practice Group Podcast
July 02, 2013
Affirmative Action in the Obama Era - Event Audio/Video
2009 National Lawyers Convention
November 12, 2009
Civil Rights in the Age of Obama - Event Audio/Video
Civil Rights Practice Group and The Heritage Foundation
May 13, 2009