On July 1, the the Julius L. Chambers Center for Civil Rights merged with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to establish a regional office of the Lawyers’ Committee based in North Carolina.
This new entity will combine the extraordinary community-led social justice lawyering of the Chambers Center with the progressive racial justice advocacy that has defined the Lawyers’ Committee for more than 50 years.
The Chambers Center was founded as a nonprofit public interest law firm when the UNC Board of Governors prohibited the UNC Center for Civil Rights from engaging in any legal representation of clients and the attorneys were terminated by the law school.
The Chambers Center's goal was to continue the community-lawyering model developed under the leadership of the UNC Center’s founding director, legendary civil rights lawyer Julius LeVonne Chambers.
Using that model, it has worked to redress the continuing impacts of racial segregation and exclusion by challenging discriminatory policies and practices that block equitable access to quality public K-12 schools; safe and affordable housing and infrastructure; civic engagement; and environmental justice.
The UNC Center for Civil Rights had worked successfully with the Lawyers’ Committee on school segregation and voting rights cases and on the Election Protection program, which made that organization an ideal partner in developing a new local/national model. At the same time, the Lawyers’ Committee has been working to establish a more permanent presence in the Southeast, which is ground zero on numerous civil rights fronts.