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Howard University Law Professor Receives D.C. Rising Star Award from the National Law Journal

Justin Hansford at the National Law Journal Awards 2022

WASHINGTON – Justin Hansford, Howard University law professor and executive director of the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center, has been recognized as a D.C. Rising Star by the National Law Journal. The award highlights lawyers who have wielded influence in their practice areas in D.C. and beyond. 

Professor Hansford is a leading scholar and activist in the areas of critical race theory, human rights, and law and social movements. He is a co-author of the forthcoming seventh edition of “Race, Racism and American Law,” the celebrated legal textbook that was the first casebook published specifically for teaching race-related law courses.

The last year of Hansford’s career has been one full of great accomplishments within the legal profession and within the Black community. Recently, he filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court, which resulted in the release of 85-year-old former Black Panther, Sundiata Acoli after 49 years of incarceration. He was also elected as a founding member of the U.N.’s newly established Permanent Forum of People of African Descent. He is the only member from the U.S., Canada and continental Europe. As a member, he will work to advance the interests of Black people around the globe.

“The credit for this award should not go to me individually,” Hansford said. “Howard University should get credit for providing a platform for this important civil rights work with the founding of the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center, for nurturing my talent during my undergraduate experience from Drew Hall to COAS, and finally for providing a connection to the greatest mentor in my career, Judge Damon J. Keith, who was also a Bison and whose example I sought to emulate while engaging in the work that merited this award.”

Hansford is the only university professor receiving the award this year. His commitment to improving the condition of Black Americans and pioneering of movement lawyering as practice area have led to innovation within the modern Civil Rights Movement. Hansford received his B.A. in English and African American studies from Howard University and J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was a founder of the “Georgetown Journal of Law and Modern Critical Race Perspectives.” Professor Hansford also has earned a Fulbright Scholar award to study the legal career of Nelson Mandela and served as a clerk for Judge Damon J. Keith on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Hansford is a leading scholar and activist in the areas of critical race theory, human rights, and law and social movements.