Executive Director, Ken Schorr, Recognized by NC Justice Center with Lifetime Achievement Award

Congratulations, Ken!

We are immensely proud to announce that our executive director, Ken Schorr, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the North Carolina Justice Center as a part of their 2020 Defenders of Justice ceremony this past weekend. The Justice Center recognized him “for his decades of leadership in legal services, as he tirelessly defended the interests of underrepresented North Carolinians.”  

Ken Schorr, Executive Director

Ken has had the privilege of advocating for low-income people in Little Rock, Phoenix, Dallas, and Charlotte for the duration of his career. Dedicated to those he serves, Ken has fought with the principle that legal aid lawyers must have the same undiluted loyalty to their clients and the same high level of competence as private lawyers.  

Access to legal services “is only a part” of justice for all. “We also need the political and economic systems to work to end poverty and racism, and to do that we need to work beyond the legal system,” Ken underscored in his acceptance speech.  

“Low income people need lawyers, they need advocates, and they need them to be able to use the full range of advocacy tools to promote and protect the rights of all low-income people. We must be able to do this for each individual client and to change systems adversely affecting all low-income people. It is a part of how we will end poverty, and racism, for everyone in our community.” 

Ken served as Litigation Director of Community Legal Services in Phoenix, Arizona, from 1979 to 1983 and as Executive Director of Legal Services of North Texas in Dallas, Texas, from 1983 to 1987. A native of Washington, D.C., he received a B.A. degree from Brandeis University in 1973, a J.D. degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1975 and an M.S. Degree in organization development from the American University School of Public Affairs and the NTL Institute in 2002. Ken has served as the director of The Advocacy Center since 1988. 

Ken is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership, a Special Advisor to and former member of the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission, and has served on the boards of local, state and national nonprofits, including the N.C. Justice Center, Crisis Assistance Ministry, Uptown Men’s Shelter, United Way of Central Carolinas, North Carolina Legal Services Resource Center, Texas Legal Services Resource Center, National Legal Aid and Defender Association and NLADA Service Corporation. 

At Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy, Ken is known for his engagement with all staff, new and old, work on community and programmatic collaborations, staunch advocacy and support in all areas of our work, and his tie-dye shirt at the annual staff BBQ.  

Thank you, Ken, for your leadership, service, and unyielding commitment to justice for all people.  

In Memory of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“Notorious RBG.”

. . .

We are deeply saddened by the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg was a champion for justice during her 27 years on the Court, and she has been the leading voice for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality throughout her tenure. She will be dearly missed as one of our nation and our legal field’s most consistent and principled voices for justice for all. She dedicated her career to the causes that drive both our organization and members of our staff.  

  • Ginsburg graduated from Columbia University Law School in 1959, tied for first in her class, but then had difficulty finding employment because of her gender.  
  • She held a US District Court clerkship and conducted research on Swedish civil procedure (for which she learned to speak Swedish),  became a Professor at Rutgers Law School, and then  was told that she would be paid less than her male colleagues.  

In 1972 she became the first woman tenured professor at Columbia Law School. She also co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the ACLU, becoming General Counsel in 1973 and arguing six gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court between 1973 and 1976. She won five of the six. Working as Thurgood Marshall had done in race discrimination cases, she devised an incremental legal strategy, challenging specific discriminatory statutes and building on each successive victory. She demonstrated that gender discrimination was harmful to us all. 

In 1980, Ginsburg was appointed to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.  

And in 1993 to the US Supreme Court, becoming the second female Justice in US history confirmed by the US Senate on a vote of 96 to 3.  

We admire Justice Ginsburg  for her keen intellect, her determination in the face of injustice, and for her eloquence in majority and in dissent. She was personally close to people who agreed with her and with many who did not, notably Antonin Scalia.  Her powerful marriage and commitment to family have become a motivating example of how to succeed and strike a balance as a devoted spouse and mother and a tireless professional simultaneously.  

She was an inspiration for her own family as well. Both her daughter, Jane Ginsberg, and granddaughter, Clara Spera, went on to law school. Clara currently works at the ACLU advocating to expand reproductive care for low-income women. Spera notes that “no one has guided and inspired me more than my grandmother.” 

 Late in her life, Ginsburg became a cultural icon.  Younger generations, many of our staff members included, followed “Notorious RBG’s” footsteps and legacy to law school and the fight for justice.  

Justice Ginsburg’s  activism as a lawyer and Justice paved the way for much of the Advocacy Center’s work today, including, for example, her fierce advocacy for equal protection with respect to the Social Security Act and her continued support for the Affordable Care Act.  

We will not lose sight of the enduring legacy Ruth Bader Ginsburg leaves behind, and we should embrace her determination to work toward opportunity and justice. 

As her death came during the celebration of Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, I  recall her words during services of that celebration years ago,  

“We are taught to do right, to love mercy, do justice, not because there’s going to be any reward in heaven or punishment in hell. We live righteously because that’s how people should live.”   

Justice Ginsburg passed on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, saved for the most righteous of people signifying she was given the full measure of the year. Justice Ginsburg gave to all of us the full measure of herself and for that we are all truly blessed. 

That is her legacy. She lived each day righteously, in pursuit of equality and justice for all, not for any accolades, but because it was the right and just thing to do. And in this she set perhaps the greatest example of all, that each of us, no matter our position or stature, can pursue these ideals in our own lives, “because that’s how people should live.”  

May we all live up to her challenge. May her memory be an inspiration

Sincerely,

Ken Schorr, Executive Director