Clyde Murphy Memorial Fund

The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc. is pleased to announce the creation of the Clyde Murphy Memorial Fund, to honor the contributions of the civil rights leader to greater Chicago and the Lawyers’ Committee, and to support legal internships and fellowships for law students and lawyers from disadvantaged backgrounds who might not otherwise be able to serve as public interest lawyers.
Clyde Murphy (1948-2010) served as the Executive Director of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law for 15 years from 1995 to 2010, during which time the Committee initiated and won the landmark employment case Lewis v. City of Chicago, validating the discrimination claims of a class of 6000 African-American firefighter applicants who ultimately won at the United States Supreme Court.  Prior to his time in Chicago, Clyde was an attorney and executive with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and he has been widely recognized as a leading civil rights litigator and voting rights advocate of his time.

"Racism in America is a long-term problem," Mr. Murphy said in a March 2004 story published in the Chicago Defender. "You're not going to get anybody to completely integrate the CFD overnight, but we have set in motion the steps that would ultimately do that."

A graduate of Yale College and Columbia Law School, Clyde’s professional life was spent seeking to identify and advocate for remedies to address important barriers to opportunity in America.  He was also a devoted husband and father, and in recognition of his commitments to young people and his ability to lead and develop a staff of diverse strengths, expertise and personalities to contribute to meaningful social change, we are proud to honor his memory by creating the Clyde Murphy Memorial Fund.
The Fund will extend the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee’s practice of employing interns and fellows from the communities we seek to serve by supporting opportunities with the Committee for law students and recent law school graduates to work to promote civil rights and community development.  The Fund has been seeded with generous gifts by longtime supporters Fay Clayton and Lowell Sachnoff, recent Board President Paul Greenwalt, and former Executive Director Jay Readey.  The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law invites supporters of the causes of civil rights and equal opportunity to honor Clyde’s distinguished memory by making gifts to the fund.
Donors can contribute online at or by making checks out to the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law with the memo “Clyde Murphy Memorial Fund.”