WilmerHale Partner John Payton will become the next Director-Counsel and President of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He will be the sixth Director-Counsel in its 67-year history—his predecessors include Thurgood Marshall, Jack Greenberg, Julius Chambers, Elaine Jones and Theodore Shaw.
John joined the firm in 1978 and, except for his tenure as DC Corporation Counsel, has been with the firm ever since. His career includes Supreme Court arguments in Richmond v. Croson and in the Michigan Admissions case; a term as President of the DC Bar; an elected member of the ABA House of Delegates; co-chair of both the Washington, DC and National Lawyers’ Committees for Civil Rights under Law; teaching assignments at Harvard, Georgetown and Howard Law Schools; and major roles in representing significant clients such as Amtrak, American Legacy Foundation, Duke University, and Fannie Mae.
John will begin his tenure as Director-Counsel and President of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in March 2008.