On June 10, 2013, civil rights attorney David C. Long, who has dedicated most
of his illustrious career to winning educational opportunity for schoolchildren,
received the Demetrio Rodriguez Champion of Educational Justice Award from
the Litigators' Educational Opportunity Workshop. During his 47 years of legal
advocacy, Mr. Long formulated and tested many of the theories and practices
that have led to school finance litigation successes in over half of the states.
On graduating from the University of Chicago Law School in 1966, Mr. Long
joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU),
where he conducted trials and appeals in cases raising constitutional issues
in state and federal courts. He won a significant First Amendment case in the
U.S. Supreme Court and a case on the rights of political candidates in the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.
After two years in corporate practice at a Chicago law firm and a year as Assistant
Director of the American Bar Association, Mr. Long moved to Washington, D.C.
to direct the School Finance Project of the Lawyers'
Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. There he created and managed a multi-disciplinary
litigation team of lawyers, social scientists and paraprofessionals to prepare,
try, and appeal school funding cases, seeking reform of inequitable state systems
for financing public schools. He also prepared policy analyses, articles and
legal handbooks on educational law, and advised attorneys and public officials
on educational finance matters throughout the country.
Establishing the Long & Silverstein law firm, Mr. Long continued to practice
school finance litigation, along with statutory and regulatory drafting, legal
policy analysis, and estate planning in connection with people with disabilities.
He served as co-counsel for plaintiffs or consultant to plaintiffs' counsel
in school finance litigations in many states, including Connecticut, Georgia,
Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, North
Dakota, Ohio and Texas. He conducted school finance trials in New Jersey and
North Dakota, and argued in the supreme courts of Illinois, Nebraska and North
For sixteen years, Mr. Long also served as Director of Research and Special
Assistant at the California State Bar Association, where he was responsible
for administration of justice functions and special projects, including court
reform, alternative dispute resolution, trial court reorganization, trial court
delay reduction and professional liability insurance.
In the last dozen years, Mr. Long has also led the annual Litigators' Educational
Opportunity Workshop sessions on complaints, motion practice, trial prep, trial
practice, appeals, remedies and compliance. His advice and insights and his
probing questions are valued by all attorneys practicing in this area of the
law. The Workshop attracts experienced litigators from across the country to
explore, in depth, the cases seeking adequate and equitable educational resources
and effective English learner programs, and advancing anti- discrimination
and equal protection claims.
Also published widely during his career, Mr. Long researched and wrote numerous
articles and analyzed policy options and developed recommendations on legal
issues, such as Title I of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act
(ESEA), school finance, school finance litigation, education governance, California
court system reforms, dispute resolution, and the data needs of OCR (Office
of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education), among others.
David Hinojosa, Southwest Regional Counsel for the Mexican
American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), presented the award
to Mr. Long at a special reception during the 2013 Workshop recently held in
Washington, D.C. He knew Mr. Rodriguez, who was the first-named plaintiff in
the famous San Antonio v. Rodriguez case (U.S. Supreme Court 1973) and continued
fighting for educational opportunity all of his life.
In accepting the award, Mr. Long thanked his wife, Carolyn, and recounted
a few of his many "war stories" from cases with surprises or in which plaintiffs
had limited resources. Even lead trial counsel, like himself, had to sacrifice
by living in a back bedroom or a basement while conducting major public interest