David Stern has served at Equal Justice Works for 30 years, and was the executive director of the organization from 1992 to 2022. He vastly expanded the size and impact of Equal Justice Works during his time as the executive director. David is now serving as the special advisor to the CEO while Verna Williams steps up to become the CEO of Equal Justice Works.
With more than 35 years of experience, David has helped to develop Equal Justice Works into the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law. Equal Justice Works brings together an extensive network of law students, lawyers, legal services organizations, and supporters to promote a lifelong commitment to public service and equal justice.
David joined Equal Justice Works, then known as the National Association for Public Interest Law, in 1992 to establish a postgraduate fellowship program; in 1995, he was promoted to executive director. During his tenure as executive director, the organization’s budget has grown tenfold, staff has quadrupled, and more than 98 percent of ABA-accredited schools are now members of Equal Justice Works.
Under David’s leadership, the organization facilitated over 2,500 public interest fellowships, with 85 percent of Fellows remaining in public service following their fellowship. In addition, Equal Justice Works is a national expert on student debt relief and provides tools to promote public interest law opportunities on campuses across the country.
David has been recognized as a “Champion of Change” by the White House, as one of “The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” by The National Law Journal, and as one of the “Greatest Washington Lawyers in the Past 30 Years” by The Legal Times. In 2006, David was honored by the Mississippi Center for Justice for bringing national attention to the legal needs of survivors of Hurricane Katrina and for creating Equal Justice Works’ Katrina Initiative, which deployed lawyers to the Gulf Coast region to help thousands of people left without homes, jobs, or social services.
David serves on the Advisory Committee for Voices for Civil Justice, a nonpartisan communications hub advancing fairness in America’s legal system. He is also a member of the Legal Services Corporation’s Leaders Council, which is dedicated to raising public awareness of the crisis in civil legal aid nationwide.
David received his B.A. from Union College and his J.D. from Georgetown University.
Equal Justice Works, American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, American Red Cross, and the National Disaster Legal Aid Resource Center Team Up to Launch First-ever Disaster Resilience Awareness Month