James J. Sandman has been president of the Legal Services Corporation since 2011. He practiced law with Arnold & Porter LLP from 1977 to 2007 and served as the firm’s managing partner from 1995 to 2005. From 2007 to 2011, he was general counsel for the District of Columbia Public Schools.
Sandman was president of the District of Columbia Bar from 2006-2007 and served on the Bar’s Board of Governors from 2003-2008. He is currently the chair of the DC Bar’s Pro Bono Committee and chair of the District of Columbia Circuit Judicial Conference Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services. He is a member of the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission (by appointment of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals) and of the Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Project Advisory Committee. From 2007-2008, he served on the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. He is chairman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission’s District of Columbia State Advisory Committee, chairman of the board of the DC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, vice chairman of the board of the Washington Performing Arts Society, and a member of the boards of the Meyer Foundation, andTahirih Justice Center.
Sandman previously served as chairman of the board of Whitman-Walker Health and as a member of the boards of the Neighborhood Legal Services Program of the District of Columbia, the International Senior Lawyers Project, the NALP Foundation for Law Career Research and Education, Wilkes University, and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He also has served on the scholarship selection committee of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association.
Sandman was named one of the “90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the Last 30 Years” by the Legal Times in 2008. The University of Pennsylvania Law School has honored him with its Alumni Award of Merit and its Howard Lesnick Pro Bono Award. He has also received the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia’s “Star of the Bar” Award, D.C. Law Students in Court’s Celebration of Service Award, the Washington Council of Lawyers Presidents' Award, the Council for Court Excellence's Justice Potter Stewart Award, and Tahirih Justice Center’s Wings of Justice Award. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree by the College of Saint Rose, where he was the 2013 commencement speaker. In 2014, he received Villanova University's Medallion Award and was the commencement speaker at Villanova Law School.
Sandman is a summa cum laude graduate of Boston College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and received his law degree cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, where he served as executive editor of the law review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. He began his legal career as a law clerk to Judge Max Rosenn of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.