Professor of LawPhone: (410) 706-8394
BA, 1984, Vassar College
JD, 1987, New York University
In 2012, Professor Sherrilyn Ifill became the seventh President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. She is currently on a leave of absence from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.
Professor Ifill is nationally recognized as an advocate in the areas of civil rights, voting rights, judicial diversity and judicial decision-making. She teaches Civil Procedure, Legal Writing, and a seminar on Reparations, Reconciliation and Restorative Justice. Professor Ifill has also taught Constitutional Law, Environmental Justice, Complex Litigation, as well as seminars on Voting Rights, Equal Protection, and Judicial Decisionmaking. Professor Ifill co-founded with Professor Michael Pinard the Reentry of Ex-Offenders Clinic.
Professor Ifill writes about the importance of judicial diversity and impartiality in judicial decision-making. Her articles about race, judging and judicial selection have led to Professor Ifill’s recognition as an expert on these subjects. She has appeared on NBC Nightly News as well as local network news broadcasts as a consultant and expert during recent Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Professor Ifill also writes about the history of racial violence and contemporary reconciliation efforts. Her book about truth and reconciliation commissions for lynching entitled, On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century was released by Beacon Books in February 2007.
Prior to joining the Faculty in 1993, Professor Ifill served as an Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. in New York, where she litigated voting rights cases, including Houston Lawyers’ Association v. Texas, in which the Supreme Court held that judicial elections are subject to the provisions of the Voting Rights Act. During her tenure at Maryland law school, Professor Ifill has continued to litigate and consult on cases on behalf of low-income and minority communities.
Professor Ifill is a frequent guest on The Marc Steiner Show, a public affairs program on WYPR, the Baltimore NPR affiliate, where she talks about race and the law, and her op-ed articles often appear in the Baltimore Sun, Jurist, and the AFRO American newspapers. As a voting rights expert, Professor Ifill appeared regularly as the election expert on BET News with Ed Gordon during the contested November 2000 presidential election, and continues to serve as a political and election analyst on local television and radio programs.
Professor Ifill serves on the board of the Open Society Institute in Baltimore and the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore City. She is a member and Co-Director of the Children’s Choir at Mt. Calvary African Methodist Episcopal Church in Towson, Maryland.
On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the Twenty-first Century (2007).
From Idol to Obama: What TV Elections Teach Us About Race, Youth, and Voting, in Barack Obama and African American Empowerment (Manning Marable & Kristen Clarke eds., 2009).
Judicial Diversity, 13 Green Bag 2d 45 (2009). [Full Text]
Creating a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Lynching, 21 Law & Inequality 263 (2003). [Full Text]
Do Appearances Matter?: Judicial Impartiality and the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore, 61 Maryland Law Review 606 (2002). [Full Text]
Racial Diversity on the Bench: Beyond Role Models and Public Confidence, 57 Washington & Lee Law Review 405 (2000). [Full Text]
Judging the Judges: Racial Diversity, Impartiality and Representation on State Trial Courts, 39 Boston College Law Review 95 (1997). [Full Text]
Professor Sherrilyn Ifill wrote the article "After Freddie Gray: looking to the future" which appeared in The Baltimore Sun Online.