Brenda Ford Harding is an attorney and consultant in Durham, N.C. She works extensively in the voting rights area, specifically using different strategies to ensure the citizens of North Carolina have the ability to vote and working on “Get Out to Vote” campaigns. As an extension of her work with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under the Law (LCCRUL), she continues to educate and develop strategies on diversity of the judiciary and independence of judges.
Brenda received a B.A. in Biology from Boston University and received her Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Upon graduation from law school, she was the recipient of the Reginald Heber Smith Community Law Fellowship (Reggie) where she was assigned to North Central Legal Assistance Program in Durham, N.C. From 1980 to 1984, Brenda was a staff attorney and managing attorney at Eastern Carolina Legal Services (ECLS). It was at ECLS that Brenda first litigated voting rights class action lawsuits. Between 2984 and 1984, she served as Executive Direction of the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers Land Loss Prevention Project. At the same time, she was Adjunct Professor and Acting Director of the Civil Litigation Clinic at North Carolina Central University School of Law. Following this, Brenda served as the Chief Deputy Commissioner of the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina, where she represented the Commission as the Chief Administrative Law Judge and directed the work of a large staff in executing the unemployment insurance appeal and adjudication programs. From 1987 until 2000, she worked as the Executive Director of North State Legal Services, where she worked with the Board of Directors in providing overall direction, management and operation of the program while also supervising complex cases. Upon moving to the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, she became the Deputy Director for Legal Programs at LCCRUL, working as part of the executive management team and assisting in the development of programmatic goals, objectives, procedures, policies and work standards. She also managed and assisted in the development of the Civil Rights Resource Center and served on the Welfare Reform Task Force. Brenda later served as Executive Director of Neighborhood Legal Services Program (NLSP) until 2011, when she decided to relocate to her hometown of Durham, N.C. In addition to ensuring that the organization continued to build upon the legacy of providing high quality legal representation to D.C. residents, she was responsible for the overall management and development of NLSP’s commitment to remain at the forefront of public interest advocacy. Brenda was also a member and co-chair of the D.C. Consortium of Legal Services Providers.
Over the years, Brenda has received recognition for her work and has devoted much time and energy to community service activities. She was named Outstanding Chair, Project Director Group, Legal Services of North Carolina and Outstanding Woman Attorney by the NC Association of Women Attorneys, Outstanding Attorney by the North Carolina Central University Women in Law, and Outstanding Citizen by both the Durham Human Relations Commission and the Citizens of Moore County, N.C.
Brenda’s passion is the pursuit of justice for all. Her career has focused on obtaining rights to vulnerable populations. She has a soft spot for the elderly and children. Brenda views education as one of the vehicles to conquer poverty and has helped numerous persons obtain admission to college and law school. She currently serves as a math tutor for middle school children.