NAACP Legal Defense Fund : Defend, Educate, Empower

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"The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is simply the best civil rights law firm in American history." -- President Obama

Ria Tabacco Mar

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Assistant Counsel of the Economic Justice Practice

Ria Tabacco Mar joined LDF as Assistant Counsel in the Economic Justice Group in December 2011.  She represents plaintiffs in class action and impact litigation under civil rights statutes including the Fair Housing Act, Title VII, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

Ria has represented African-American workers and other employees of color before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and in federal district court in a number of class cases, including Cogdell v. Wet Seal, which resulted in a $7.5 million settlement and numerous changes to improve fairness and opportunity for current and future African-American retail workers.  She is counsel to African-American and Latino school custodians who intervened in United States v. New York City Board of Education  to defend the lawfulness of job benefits they received as a remedy for the Board of Education’s past discrimination in hiring school custodians.

Ria also works to secure fair housing in cases including Thompson v. HUD, which sought to eradicate the legacy of racially segregated public housing in Baltimore, and Davis v. City of New York, a challenge to the NYPD’s discriminatory trespass enforcement activity in New York City public housing.

Ria regularly participates as amicus curiae in the U.S. Courts of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court on cases involving economic opportunity, fair housing, Title VII, and marriage equality.  She is a member of the Board of Directors of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Prior to joining LDF, Ria served as a law clerk to the Honorable Victor Marrero, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and to the Honorable Julia Smith Gibbons, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  She also worked as a litigation associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.

Ria received her J.D. cum laude from New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern public interest scholar and an editor of the Law Review.  She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College with a degree in Social Studies.