New endowed scholarship fulfills emeriti faculty's goal of advancing racial justice

A couple poses for a photo at a podium.

Brian and Dorothy Landsberg at the McGeorge School of Law Racial Justice Celebration, where Brian discussed his new book "Revolution by Law: The Federal Government and the Desegregation of Alabama Schools," in October 2022.

Brian Landsberg and Dorothy Landsberg, '87, both emeriti professors of McGeorge School of Law, have recently established a scholarship rooted in their longtime commitment to racial justice. Drawing upon their extensive experiences working in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and their teaching careers, the Landsbergs recognize the profound role of lawyers in advancing the cause of racial justice. 

The Landsberg Racial Justice Endowed Scholarship was established to inspire and equip law students at McGeorge School of Law to actively contribute to this ongoing struggle. The endowed scholarship is Powell Matched and has received more than $145,000 in donations and matching funds since its creation in 2022.

Brian and Dorothy express their gratitude to the donors who contributed to the scholarship fund. They view it as an “investment in the future of our country and in the future of McGeorge and its students.”  

With their personal involvement in historic civil rights events and their deep ties to McGeorge School of Law, Brian and Dorothy seek to create lasting change and empower future generations of lawyers to champion racial justice.

Beginning in 1964, Brian Landsberg had an extensive career as a civil rights attorney for the Civil Rights Division. Brian described the changes in his 22-year government career, saying “At the Department of Justice, I began as a trial attorney, trying voting rights cases and school desegregation cases. I then became an appellate lawyer, and I eventually was the head of the appellate section, handling all kinds of civil rights cases in the courts of appeal and working on Supreme Court briefs.” 

In 1986, Brian joined McGeorge as a full-time professor. He taught various subjects including Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Anti-Discrimination Law, and Civil Rights Law. Brian and Dorothy co-taught Voting Rights Then and Now. He also served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for a year.

Dorothy Landsberg also began her career in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. She started as a summer employee during the pivotal summer of 1964, when three civil rights workers were murdered. Initially hired as a clerk typist, she played a significant role in analyzing the activities of the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. Her analysis contributed to improved enforcement of the civil rights laws in Mississippi. After college graduation Dorothy worked directly for Assistant Attorney General John Doar, who led the federal civil rights law enforcement effort.

“I had substantial administrative responsibilities for enforcement of the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965,” she said.

When the Landsbergs moved to California, Dorothy enrolled at McGeorge and graduated in 1987. Both Brian and Dorothy graduated Order of the Coif; Brian from Berkeley Law and Dorothy from McGeorge.

Dorothy then embarked on her 20-year career at a prominent Sacramento law firm, Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann, & Girard. She then returned to McGeorge, where she held various positions, including Director of the Legal Clinics, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Associate Dean for Experiential Learning.

The Landsbergs decided to start a scholarship because of their belief in the transformative power of lawyers in advancing racial justice. Recognizing that the fight for racial justice is far from over, Brian and Dorothy believe that there is a continued need for lawyers to champion this cause. The Landsbergs announced the creation of the scholarship during a celebration of Brian’s latest book, Revolution by Law: The Federal Government and the Desegregation of Alabama Schools. The book highlights the important role of lawyers in eradicating the race-based, dual-school system and establishing a unitary school system. Dorothy and Brian believe that the need to protect racial justice continues.

The Landsbergs' personal experiences further fueled their passion for racial justice. Dorothy actively participated in protests and attended the historic March on Washington in 1963, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech. Brian witnessed the police brutality that marred the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965, a pivotal catalyst for the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Their firsthand involvement in these significant moments of civil rights history instilled in them a deep understanding of how lawyers and paralegals can affect change through litigation and advocacy.

They view McGeorge as the perfect location for the scholarship. Dorothy spoke highly of the education she received at McGeorge and the fulfilling decade she spent teaching here. Brian, with a 37-year tenure at the institution, shares a strong bond with the school. They believe that McGeorge provides students with the necessary skills, including experiential learning opportunities, to pursue careers centered around racial and social justice. Their hope is that the scholarship would not only inspire students to embark on such paths but also provide them with the confidence and competence to make a meaningful impact.  

“We are a couple who bring our hopes that future McGeorge students will think that racial justice and other social justice issues are worthy both as vocations and as avocations,” she said.

In establishing their scholarship, Brian and Dorothy Landsberg have left an indelible mark on the pursuit of racial justice. Through their experiences in the Civil Rights Division and their dedicated teaching careers, they recognized the crucial role that lawyers play in effecting change. By investing in the education and inspiration of law students at McGeorge School of Law, the Landsbergs have laid the groundwork for a future where racial justice continues to be championed. 

If you would like to contribute to this scholarship or another scholarship of your choice, please visit the Pacific McGeorge Online Giving Form.

For more information about McGeorge School of Law, visit our website.

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