CLEVELAND- The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio is pleased to announce that James L. Hardiman has been named legal director for the organization. Hardiman has over 40 years experience litigating complex civil rights and civil liberties issues, including school desegregation, police practices, and voting rights. Outside of the courtroom, Hardiman has advocated for civil liberties as chair of Citizens for a Safe and Fair Cleveland, and as first vice president of the Cleveland Chapter NAACP.

“James Hardiman has a distinguished record of service securing basic liberties. His dual role as a volunteer leader with the NAACP and legal director of the ACLU will strengthen both organizations in their historic service to equality and justice,” said Christine Link, executive director of the ACLU of Ohio.

“We live in historic times, yet we cannot ignore the reality that many people continue to suffer inequality every day. James’ wealth of knowledge, leadership, and ability to affect tremendous change will help shepherd the ACLU through new challenges to Ohioans’ fundamental rights,” added Link.

Hardiman said, “I am honored to serve the ACLU in its quest to expand and protect the rights of all people. The challenges facing Ohio are great—an overburdened criminal justice system, enduring inequality, and increasing concerns over privacy all pose a threat to liberty if ignored.”

Throughout his career, Hardiman has participated in several landmark cases. He is perhaps best known for his cases that led to the desegregation of school and police departments in places like Cleveland, Lorain, Alliance, Columbus, and Cincinnati. Other notable cases include his work challenging at-large election of municipal court judges in Ohio and his extensive work in multiple criminal defense cases.

Hardiman received his undergraduate degree in business administration from Baldwin-Wallace College. While attending law school, he spent five years teaching at Glenville High School in Cleveland. He received his law degree from Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Over the course of his career, he has served as counsel for the national NAACP, Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, City of Cleveland Prosecutor’s Office, and private practice.