President, Democrats for Education Reform
Shavar Jeffries is a civil-rights lawyer and executive leader with over 20 years of experience fighting for equal opportunity and racial justice. Shavar is a partner at Lowenstein Sandler, where he has litigated complex civil-litigation and class-action matters. Shavar also is president of Education Reform Now, a national advocacy organization that pursues educational equity for low-income students and students of color.
Previously, Shavar ran an institutional-reform clinic at Seton Hall Law School’s Center for Social Justice, where he represented clients on matters involving civil rights, racial justice, education equity, and housing affordability. From 2008 to 2010, Shavar was counsel to the New Jersey Attorney General, where he served in the executive cabinet that led the work of the office. Shavar oversaw all multi-state investigations, spanning matters involving securities enforcement, consumer fraud, and environmental justice. He also supervised the Division on Civil Rights, the Juvenile Justice Commission, and the Victims of Crime Compensation Organization. Earlier in his career, Shavar was counsel to the firm and Deputy Director of the civil rights and individual-liberties program at Gibbons P.C., where he worked on class-action cases involving racial profiling, voting rights, affordable housing, and education equity. He clerked for Nathaniel R. Jones, a judge on the United States Court of Appeals, and worked as an associate at Wilmer Cutler & Pickering, where he defended the University of Michigan in affirmative-action litigation challenging its admissions policies. Shavar graduated from Duke University and Columbia Law School. Shavar is deeply involved in community and board service also. He is on the boards of several organizations that focus on developing young people, including the KIPP Foundation, National Mentoring Partnership, and New Classrooms. Shavar is a co-chair of Black Voices for Black Justice, a fund that invests in Black leaders at the forefront of the fight for racial justice. He also served in elected office, serving a three-year term on the Newark Public Schools board and a one-year term as board president. Shavar also ran for mayor of Newark, receiving more votes than any first-time municipal candidate in modern history. Shavar has been recognized broadly for his contributions, including by the National Bar Association, Garden State Bar Association, Congressional Black Caucus, and the NAACP, among others. Shavar frequently speaks on public policy in national and local media, including CNN, MSNBC, Bloomberg News as well as in university, national conference, and community settings. Shavar grew up in Newark’s South Ward and still lives in Newark with his wife and two children.