Sherrilyn Ifill

President and Director-Counsel Emeritus, NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF)

Sherrilyn Ifill is a civil rights lawyer and scholar focusing on the 14th Amendment, civil rights and voting rights. From 2013-2022, she served as the President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), the nation’s premier civil rights law organization fighting for racial justice and equality. She most recently served as a Senior Fellow at the Ford Foundation. In 2024 Ifill will become the inaugural Vernon L. Jordan Chair in Civil Rights at Howard Law School, where will become founding Director of the 14th Amendment Center for Law & Democracy.


Ifill began her career as a Fellow at the American Civil Liberties Union, before joining the staff of the LDF as an Assistant Counsel in 1988, where she litigated voting rights cases for five years. Her 2008 book “On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century,” was highly acclaimed, and is credited with laying the foundation for contemporary conversations about lynching and reconciliation.


Ifill graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in English and earned her J.D. from New York University School of Law. She is the recipient of numerous honorary doctorates and was named by TIME Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the world in 2021. Ifill serves on the board of the Mellon Foundation, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Board of Trustees of New York University School of Law.