James J. Sandman has been president of the Legal Services Corporation since 2011. He practiced law with Arnold & Porter LLP for 30 years and served as the firm’s managing partner for a decade. He is a past president of the 100,000-member District of Columbia Bar and a former general counsel for the District of Columbia Public Schools.
Sandman is the 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), the Advisory Council of the American Bar Association’s Center for Innovation, and of the Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Project Advisory Committee. He is chairman of the boards of the Meyer Foundation and the DC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, vice chairman of the board of Washington Performing Arts, and a member of the boards of the College of Saint Rose, Albany Law School, and Tahirih Justice Center.
Sandman previously served as a member of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, as chairman of the board 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. 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 District of Columbia Bar’s Justice William J. Brennan Jr. Award, 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, and Legal Aid Society of Cleveland's Louis Stokes Paragon 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. He was the 2017 commencement speaker at Rutgers Law School and at 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.