In January 2013, Maryland law professor Sherrilyn Ifill will become the seventh president and director counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. She recently inherited the position, which was left vacant in March by the untimely death of her predecessor, John Payton, a brilliant courtroom strategist who led the LDF in resounding legal victories.

Ifill’s appointment is a signature achievement in an already storied career—she is a respected civil rights litigator who has specialized in voting rights and political participation; acclaimed author of “On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century;” an innovative and dedicated academician; and a respected public intellectual who often offers commentary on current affairs.

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