University of Denver

James J. Sandman

President Emeritus, Legal Services Corporation

James (Jim) Sandman is President Emeritus of the Legal Services Corporation, the largest funder of civil legal aid in the United States. LSC, established by an Act of Congress in 1974, supports 132 independent legal aid programs with more than 850 offices serving every state and territory. Sandman was President of LSC from 2011 to 2020. 

Sandman practiced law for 30 years with the international, Washington-based law firm of Arnold & Porter. He served as the firm’s Managing Partner for ten years. Immediately prior to joining the Legal Services Corporation, he served as General Counsel of the District of Columbia Public Schools. He is a past President of the 110,000-member District of Columbia Bar.

Sandman is Chairman of the Board of the D.C. Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and a member of the boards of the Pro Bono Institute, Washington Performing Arts, the College of Saint Rose, and Albany Law School. He is Vice Chair of the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission and a member of the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board, the District of Columbia Bar Pro Bono Committee, the American Law Institute, the Advisory Council of the American Bar Association’s Center for Innovation, and the Board of Advisors of the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s Center on the Future of the Profession. He currently serves as Chair of the American Bar Association’s Task Force on Legal Needs Arising Out of the 2020 Pandemic.

Sandman previously served as chair of the District of Columbia Circuit Judicial Conference Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services, as a member of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service and the ABA’s Commission on the Future of Legal Services, as Chairman of the Boards of the Meyer Foundation and of Whitman-Walker Health, and as a member of the boards of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, the Neighborhood Legal Services Program of the District of Columbia, the International Senior Lawyers Project, the NALP Foundation for Law Career Research and Education, and Wilkes University. 

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 District of Columbia Bar’s highest honor, the Justice William J. Brennan Jr. Award, as well as the Wiley A. Branton Award from the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Legal Rights and Urban Affairs, the Hugh A. Johnson, Jr. Memorial Award from the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia, the D.C. Commission on Human Rights’ Cornelius R. Alexander Humanitarian Award, D.C. Law Students in Court’s Celebration of Service Award, the Washington Council of Lawyers’ Presidents’ Award, the Council for Court’s Excellence’s Justice Potter Steward Award, Tahirih Justice Center’s Wings of Justice Award, the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland's Louis Stokes Paragon Award, and the American Bar Association’s Presidential Citation. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree by the College of Saint Rose and has received Villanova University’s Medallion Award. He has given commencement addresses at the College of Saint Rose, Villanova Law School, Rutgers Law School, and the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law.

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.