WASHINGTON, DC– Roderic V.O. Boggs, longtime Executive Director of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs (Committee), steps down from the position after 45 years of service, effective today. Mr. Boggs, who will remain in a senior advisory role at the Committee, was honored for his many years of distinguished service and commitment to civil rights with the 2016 Wiley A. Branton Award at the Committee’s annual Branton Luncheon last Wednesday, June 22 at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington.
The Committee’s Board of Directors has announced the selection of Jonathan Smith as the Committee’s incoming Executive Director, and Mr. Smith was formally introduced to the Committee’s supporters at the Branton Luncheon.
Mr. Boggs has served as the Committee’s Executive Director since 1971, and guided the Committee since then, developing and expanding its work to cover a wide range of civil rights matters, including thousands of cases representing individuals and groups on matters involving employment, housing, public accommodations, and representing people with claims of discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, disability, age, religion, sexual orientation, and military service. Under his leadership, the Committee grew from a two-lawyer staff with a relatively small docket of cases to its current staff of 28, including 16 attorneys, and a docket of over 100 active cases. The Committee accomplishes its mission of addressing discrimination and poverty issues by recruiting hundreds of lawyers and law firms in Washington, DC and around the country to provide pro bono legal assistance on its cases.
In addition to his work developing the Committee’s overall program agenda, Mr. Boggs has served as counsel in dozens of cases involving various areas of civil rights practice in federal courts, including arguments before several U.S. Circuit Courts and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Prior to joining the Committee, Mr. Boggs worked as a staff attorney for the national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and with the Ford Foundation in the Government of Tanzania’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Development Planning. He also served as the District Representative for Congressman Allard K. Lowenstein of New York. He received his B.A. at Colgate University in 1963, his J.D. degree from Columbia University Law School in 1966, and his M.Sc. in International Relations from the London School of Economics in 1967.
In addition to the 2016 Wiley Branton Award, Mr. Boggs is the recipient of the Washington Council of Lawyers’ 2015 Presidents’ Award for Public Service; the Columbia Law School DC Chapter’s 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award; the Council for Court Excellence’s 2007 Justice Potter Stewart Award; the District of Columbia Bar’s 2002 Thurgood Marshall Award; the 1991 Stuart Stiller Memorial Award; and the national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law’s 1988 Edwin D. Wolf Award. He also received a German Marshall Fund Fellowship 1979-1980, and he is a founder of the Washington Council of Lawyers.
“Pursuing Justice,” a video presentation honoring Rod at the 2016 Branton Luncheon is found below: