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Civil Rights Attorney Earns Loyola Alumni Association’s Highest Honor 

By Loyola University on Sun, 02/27/2022 - 15:31

(New Orleans, La. – February 24, 2022) Next month, the Loyola University New Orleans Alumni Association will bestow its highest award on a nationally recognized education civil rights attorney and policy advocate. Victor Jones, an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, will receive the 2022 Adjutor Hominum Award. This top award honors an outstanding graduate of Loyola whose life exemplifies the values and philosophy of Jesuit education — namely moral character, service to humanity, and unquestionable integrity.

“Victor Jones is the perfect recipient for this prestigious award,” said Dean Madeleine Landrieu, J.D. ‘87, H ‘05. “He exemplifies what it means to be a lawyer for others. We are so very proud of him and his work and grateful for the many ways he reaches back to inspire others.”

Mr. Jones, who received his law degree from Loyola in 2012, will accept this important honor on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Alumni Association’s Annual Jazz Brunch and Awards Ceremony. Tickets are available at loyno.edu/jazzbrunch.

Highly regarded by his peers, Jones was selected by his classmates during law school to serve as their Student Commencement Speaker. Thereafter, he received an award from the Louisiana State Bar Association for volunteering over 100 hours of free legal services in child welfare proceedings in the greater New Orleans area. 

In service to Loyola, Jones continues to mentor students through Loyola's Black Law Student Association, advising them throughout law school and assisting them with locating summer jobs and postgraduate opportunities. He has also served as a guest lecturer and guest judge for Loyola’s intramural moot court competitions.

Jones currently serves as an attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), the nation's oldest racial justice organization founded by Thurgood Marshall. In this role, he is one of the few remaining plaintiffs' school desegregation lawyers, litigating ongoing desegregation cases in Louisiana and Alabama. His service to Black and poor public schoolchildren, demonstrates the Jesuit tradition of using your knowledge to better enhance the quality of lives of others. 

Previously, as lead attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center, he filed suit against Sophie B. Wright Charter School in New Orleans, successfully using novel, private sector contract theories to prevail in a civil rights student discipline case. Since then, the case has become a national template for education attorneys to ensure that students are provided with due process in discipline proceedings and are not subjected to exclusionary discipline practices that often disproportionately impact Black and disabled students.

He filed suit on behalf of 47,500 Louisiana Medicaid-eligible children with mental illnesses who were not receiving home and community-based services. The lawsuit is regarded in the public health law community as the largest children’s mental health federal class action lawsuit filed in the Deep South. 

On the legislative front, in June 2019, he co-drafted and successfully lobbied an education civil rights data advocacy bill that passed through the Louisiana House and Senate with zero opposition, Act 148 in 2019.

In 2020, he successfully represented two disabled students of color attending public schools in Jefferson Parish, who were suspended for 6 days and recommended for expulsion for allegedly waiving weapons on camera during virtual school instruction. His work was featured in local and national outlets, and prompted national dialogue on the “virtual school to prison pipeline.”

As General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor for the Louisiana Board of Regents in 2020 and early 2021, he drafted and successfully advocated for state-level higher education legislation matters concerning: student sexual misconduct prevention and victim’s rights; “cradle to career” longitudinal data; college access for military veterans; and increasing dual enrollment opportunities for urban and rural high school students. 

Jones has served as a subject matter expert in the civil rights of children and young adults, having provided media commentary on these issues in over 30 news articles, in local, state, and national publications since 2019.

In February, 2021, New Orleans Magazine named Jones among “Six Changemakers of Color Leading the Way.”  Among his many achievements, he was also named among Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers® Louisiana Rising Stars, Civil Rights division, 2021. In 2020, he was named to The National Black Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 and received Gambit Weekly’s New Orleans 40 Under 40 Award in 2020. He earned the Louisiana State Bar Association Pro Bono Century Award in 2016. 

In service to the greater New Orleans community, Jones has served as a member of the Audubon Commission (appointed by Mayor LaToya Cantrell), an advisory member to Tulane’s AfterCLASS, Taylor Center of Education, a support and advocacy organization for public school teachers in the Greater New Orleans area, and a mentor to the Legal Education Advancing Diversity (LEAD) Program, at Dillard University, a mentoring program for pre-law students attending Xavier, Dillard, and Southern University of New Orleans. He has also served as a board member for the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights and Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center, as well as a volunteer attorney for the Louisiana Pro Bono Project.