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Attorney, Lobbyist, Writer, Organizer

Washington, District of Columbia, United States
May 15, 2019

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David Sobelsohn's career has combined organizing and political activism with teaching and scholarship, both legal and literary. He currently serves as Supreme Court Correspondent for Press Associates International (PAI), a labor-union news service. David also currently advises the Shakespeare Theatre Company, America's foremost classical theater, on plays that merit production.

From 2005-11, David served as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, negotiating community-benefits agreements for Washington, DC's most rapidly redeveloping neighborhood. Prior to his 2004 election as a commissioner, David founded and for eight years (1995-2003) led Footlights, Washington's only modern-drama discussion group, now in its 24th year. For Footlights, David planned seasons, secured speakers, organized theater trips, prepared newsletters, and designed and maintained the group's website. During that time he also wrote theater reviews for a Washington-area publication.

From 1994-95, David served as Chief Legislative Counsel for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), one of America's leading civil-rights organizations. In that position, David led HRC's work drafting, and then organizing the historic first-ever congressional hearing on, a gay-rights bill, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. He subsequently (1996-2000) served as media director for the Common Ground Network for Life and Choice, bringing together pro-choice and pro-life advocates for peaceful dialogue and cooperative action.

Earlier in his career (1990-93), David served as counsel to the Michigan House Judiciary Committee, focusing on such issues as tobacco control and choice in dying. Political organizing, for the Dukakis presidential campaign and a statewide abortion-funding campaign, occupied his energies between 1987 and 1990. From 1981-87, David taught constitutional law and torts at the law schools of Case Western Reserve University and the University of Detroit (now University of Detroit Mercy). He previously (1977-78) served as a Thomas Grey Teaching Fellow at Stanford Law School.

David's legal scholarship includes articles on comparative negligence in tort law and the compelling-state-interest test in constitutional law, and book chapters on abortion funding and job discrimination.

While in private practice with the Chicago office of Jenner & Block (1979-81), David wrote an amicus brief for the Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty in People v. Gacy, and jury instructions leading to a record verdict for the client, MCI Communications, against AT&T.

In addition to graduate work at Stanford Law School, David has a J.D. cum laude from Boston University Law School (1977) and an A.B. in political science from the University of Chicago (1974). A native of New York, he graduated from the Bronx High School of Science (1970). He is a member of the bar in California, Illinois, and Michigan.


319 5th St., SE 202-***-****

Washington, DC 20003-2049

Legal and literary scholar experienced in teaching and organizing

Law and Public-Policy Experience

Supreme Court Correspondent, Press Associates, Washington, DC (2013-present)

Report on Supreme Court for labor-union news service. Cases covered included Benisek v. Lamone,

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

Commissioner, Advisory Neighborhood Commission, Washington, DC (2005-11)

Negotiated community-benefit agreements in city’s most rapidly redeveloping neighborhood.

Secretary, Southwest Neighborhood Assembly, Washington, DC (2004-05)

Recorded meetings for nation’s first racially integrated civic association.

Media Director, Common Ground Network for Life and Choice, Washington, DC (1996-2000)

Organized media events and drafted press releases for group bringing together pro-choice

and pro-life advocates for peaceful dialogue and cooperative action.

Chief Legislative Counsel, Human Rights Campaign, Washington, DC (1994-95)

Legal director for leading civil-rights organization. Helped draft and then organized

initial congressional hearing on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Founded

Documenting Discrimination project. Assisted local activists on ballot propositions.

Attorney-Advisor, Federal Communications Commission, Washington, DC (1994)

Prepared FCC proceedings on FM allotment, Prime Time Access Rule.

Staff Counsel, U.S. Representative John Conyers, Jr., Detroit, MI (1993)

Advised on legal and legislative matters, made public presentations, met with media.

Areas covered: education, federal budget, foreign affairs, public housing, urban

development, unemployment, voter registration.

Committee Counsel, Michigan House Judiciary Committee, Lansing, MI (1990-93)

Drafted and analyzed proposed legislation, prepared hearings, drafted speeches and

press releases. Areas covered: assisted suicide, civil and criminal-law reform,

civil rights, education, labor law, telecommunications, tobacco control.

Political Consultant, Sobelsohn & Associates, Detroit, MI (1988-89)

Organized media events and constituency communities for political campaigns.

Associate, Jenner & Block, Chicago, IL (1979-81)

Large-firm litigation department. Cases included MCI v. AT&T--antitrust case with

record damages award; People v. Gacy--capital appeal; Chicago Lawyers Committee

for Civil Rights Under Law v. City of Chicago--“red squad” case.

Summer Associate, Cahill, Gordon & Reindel, New York, NY (1976)

Law Teaching Experience

Law School Tutor, Washington, DC (2014-15)

Tutored law students on civil procedure, constitutional law, evidence, and torts.

Visiting Associate Professor of Law, University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, MI (1985-87)

Courses taught: civil procedure, constitutional law, torts.

Assistant Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH (1981-85)

Courses taught: constitutional law, media law, torts.

Thomas C. Grey Teaching Fellow, Stanford Law School, Stanford, CA (1977-78)

Courses taught: legal research and writing, in conjunction with legislation and criminal-

law courses.



Art and Theater Experience

Literary Circle, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington, DC (2014-present)

Advise nation’s top classical theater on plays meriting production.

Founder and President, SW ArtsFest, Washington, DC (2011-13)

Organized and ran annual arts festival.

Founder and Director, Footlights Drama Discussion Group, Washington, DC (1995-2003)

Founded and led modern-drama discussion group. Planned seasons, secured speakers,

organized theater trips, prepared newsletters, designed and maintained website.

Theater & Music Critic, The Review, Alexandria, VA (1997-2002)

Covered local and Canadian theater for regional arts publication.


Graduate Study, Stanford Law School, Stanford, CA (1977-79)

Concentration: Free Speech and Other Questions of Liberty.

J.D. cum laude (21/329), Boston University Law School, Boston, MA (1974-77)

Editor, Boston University Law Review.

Co-founder, Boston University Legislative Services.

A.B., Political Science, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL (1970-74)

Graduate, The Bronx High School of Science, Bronx, NY (1967-70)

Selected Scholarship

Everyday Activism, Chapter 5--Ending Employment Discrimination (2003)

Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy: Science, Ethics, and the Law, chapter 21--Government Funding of

Abortions: The Constitutional Issues (1989)

Comparative Negligence, chapter 19--The Uniform Comparative Fault Act (1985)

Comparing Fault, 60 Indiana Law Journal 413 (1985)

“Pure” vs. “Modified” Comparative Fault: Notes on the Debate, 34 Emory Law Journal 65 (1985)

Of Interests, Fundamental and Compelling: the Emerging Constitutional Balance, 57 Boston

University Law Review 462 (1977)

Bar Memberships

Michigan (1987), Illinois (1979), California (1978)

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