Deputy Executive Director, ACLU of Southern California; director, LGBTQ Student Rights Project
James Gilliam has been the deputy executive director of the ACLU of Southern California since April 2010. He is the director of the Student Rights Project. In February 2012, he received the 2012 Co-Presidents Award from the Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association of Los Angeles.
Before joining the ACLU, James was a litigation associate and pro bono coordinator at Paul Hastings. He led the team that worked with the ACLU on the B-18 case challenging the detention conditions for undocumented individuals.
James serves as co-chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Sexual Orientation Bias committee. He teaches sexual orientation and public interest law practice seminars at Loyola Law School.
In 2007, James was selected as the recipient of Loyola Law School’s Alumni Pro Bono Award in recognition of the pro bono work he completed during his time at Paul Hastings. He was the most junior attorney in the school’s history to receive the honor.
During law school, he served as Chair of the Public Interest Law Foundation as the first Chief Symposia Editor of the Law Review, and worked for Hon. Harry Pregerson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Lambda Legal, and the NAACP Legal defense fund.
A longtime activist for the LGBT community prior to attending law school, James served as the executive director of the organization in Nashville, TN that produced the annual gay pride parade and celebration.
James graduated first in his class from Middle Tennessee State University and cum laude from Loyola Law School, Order of the Coif.