Jim Sandman is Distinguished Lecturer and Senior Consultant to the Future of the Profession Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. He is also President Emeritus of the Legal Services Corporation, the United States’ largest funder of civil legal aid programs. Jim served as President of LSC from 2011 to February of 2020.
Jim practiced for 30 years with the international, Washington-based law firm of Arnold & Porter. He served as the firm’s Managing Partner for a decade. Immediately prior to joining the Legal Services Corporation, he served for three years as General Counsel of the District of Columbia Public Schools. He is a past President of the 100,000-member District of Columbia Bar.
Jim is currently Chair of the American Bar Association’s Task Force on Legal Issues Arising from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. He is Vice Chair of the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission and a member of the American Law Institute, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board, the District of Columbia Bar Pro Bono Committee, and the advisory board of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System. He is a member of boards of the Pro Bono Institute, Albany Law School, the College of Saint Rose, and Washington Performing Arts.
Jim was named one of the “90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the Last 30 Years” by the Legal Times in 2008. The University of Pennsylvania Law School has honored him with its Alumni Award of Merit and its Howard Lesnick Pro Bono Award. He has also received the American Bar Association’s Presidential Citation; the District of Columbia Bar’s highest honor, the Justice William J. Brennan Jr. Award; the Distinguished Life Fellow Award from the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation; Legal Services NYC’s Visionary Leadership Award; the Wiley A. Branton Award from the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Legal Rights and Urban Affairs; the Pioneer of Justice Award from the Neighborhood Legal Services Program of Washington, D.C.; the Hugh A. Johnson, Jr. Memorial Award from the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia; the D.C. Commission on Human Rights’ Cornelius R. Alexander Humanitarian Award; the Washington Council of Lawyers’ Presidents’ Award; the Council for Court’s Excellence’s Justice Potter Steward Award; and the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland's Louis Stokes Paragon Award. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree by the College of Saint Rose and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Albany Law School and has received Villanova University’s Medallion Award. He has given commencement addresses at Villanova Law School, Rutgers Law School, Albany Law School, and the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law.
Jim is a summa cum laude graduate of Boston College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and a cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif and served as Executive Editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. He began his legal career as a law clerk to Judge Max Rosenn of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.