Russell Lovell (Notre Dame BBA '66) will share his journey from growing up in conservative western Nebraska to becoming YR President at ND and later an Indianapolis legal attorney and NAACP civil rights lawyer, including the catalyst role his Notre Dame experience played in forging his civil rights/public service commitment. Prof. Lovell will also relate his efforts to further the Private Attorney General concept, which has proven so critical to the country’s civil rights and public interest progress of the past half century, and the role court-awarded attorneys fees can play in making a living in civil rights and public interest law.
Prior to joining the Drake Faculty, Lovell clerked for Federal Appeals Judge Floyd Gibson and served as Director of Litigation for the Legal Services Organization of Indianapolis and the Indiana Center on Law & Poverty, specializing in federal court civil rights litigation, ranging from prisoners’ rights to school desegregation. Professor Lovell’s public service commitment includes 40 years of pro bono civil rights work for the NAACP including service as lead counsel in cases that desegregated the Indiana State Police Department and the Des Moines Fire Department. Professor Lovell has received numerous Outstanding Public Service Awards from the NAACP—at the National, Midwest Regional, and Des Moines Branch levels—and also from Drake University, Iowa Legal Aid, and the Black Ministerial Alliance. He was honored by the Iowa Juneteenth Observance as its 2013 Iowa Citizen of the Year and by Drake University as its 2014 Outstanding Professor for Experiential Education.