Vernon Jordan is a civil rights activist, attorney, and political insider. Jordan rose to visibility as an influential leader in the civil rights movement during the 1960s. In addition to his long career as a Washington power broker, Jordan has formerly served as president of the National Urban League and executive director of the United Negro College Fund. Additionally, Jordan served on President William J. Clinton's transition team and as a trusted adviser.
Jordan earned a BA from DePauw University and a JD from Howard University. He is a partner in the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld and a Senior Managing Director of Lazard, Freres & Co. Jordan has also served on the boards of major corporations including America Online, Sara Lee, Xerox, and J.C. Penney and as co-chair of the Ad Council's Advisory Committee on Public Affairs. He has authored weekly newspaper columns. Books published include Vernon Can Read! A Memoir (with Annette Gordon-Reed) and Make It Plain: Standing Up and Speaking Out (with Lee Daniels). Jordan received the NAACP's Spingarn award in 2001. In June 2004, he played a prominent role in Senator John Kerry's presidential campaign as a debate negotiator.
Currently, Jordan is Senior Counsel at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. He practices general, corporate, legislative, and international law.