MALDEF Selects Prominent Civil Rights Attorney to Lead Its Washington, D.C. Regional Office

James A. Ferg-Cadima returns to MALDEF as its newest Regional Counsel

March 26, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA – Today, MALDEF announced James A. Ferg-Cadima as its newest Regional Counsel. He will lead its Washington, D.C. Regional office, effective April 1, 2010.

"MALDEF is extremely fortunate to welcome back Jim Ferg-Cadima, an accomplished civil rights attorney-advocate with significant experience in the nation's capital and in the states. Jim's ready familiarity with the issues confronting the Latino community and MALDEF's role in championing civil rights law ensure that he will get a quick start on taking our very strong national policy office to even greater heights,” stated MALDEF President and General Counsel Thomas A. Saenz.

Since 2006, Ferg-Cadima has served as Legislative Counsel for the ACLU of Illinois in Chicago, where he advocated at the state level on matters concerning civil liberties and civil rights. Among the many highlights of his tenure, he authored and advanced successful state legislation, including overhauls to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act and the Illinois Genetic Information Privacy Act; a consumer protection against private marketplace misuse of biometric information; an extension of then-State Senator Barack Obama’s racial and ethnic data collection law concerning police traffic stops, and two expansions of public accommodation law to ban bullying in schools and discrimination by medical offices.

Ferg-Cadima will oversee the Washington, D.C. Regional office and will join MALDEF’s national attorneys-advocates Claudine Karasik and Veronica Rivera in championing the rights of Latinos in federal policymaking. Functioning as the national public policy arm of MALDEF, the Washington, D.C. Regional office monitors federal legislation and administrative actions related to voting rights, education, employment, and immigration, among other issue areas.

Ferg-Cadima previously served at MALDEF from 2002 to 2005, both as a legislative staff attorney and interim regional counsel for the Washington, D.C. Regional office. As a legislative staff attorney, he worked to amend federal law concerning civil rights for Latinos with disabilities, migrant students, and students with limited English proficiency.

Ferg-Cadima said that he is eager to take on the new challenges and opportunity. He stated, “MALDEF’s unique role on the Hill and before agencies is to give voice to the most vulnerable populations within the larger Latino community. As a native Washingtonian, I am keenly aware that there are times the political alignment inside the Beltway is open to those needs and on other occasions it is not. Nevertheless, MALDEF’s civil rights work must be a constant. I am eager to return to MALDEF and help the Washington, D.C. Regional office of MALDEF champion equal opportunity and equitable remedies for Latinos under the law.”

Ferg-Cadima was awarded a Wasserstein Fellowship by Harvard Law School in 2008 in recognition of his outstanding contributions and dedication to public interest law. He earned his law degree from the American University Washington College of Law and is admitted to practice law in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Illinois. He also served as a law clerk for the U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois.

For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.

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