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Charles Ogletree has enjoyed an incredible career as an attorney, professor, media personality and champion of civil rights. Along with his several accomplishments on the academic and legal front, Ogletree was instrumental in providing an educational foundation for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Charles James Ogletree Jr. was born December 31, 1952 in Merced, Calif. After earning both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Stanford University, he obtained his J.D. From Harvard Law School in 1978. In the earlier part of his career, Ogletree worked for Washington, D.C.’s Public Defender Service and swiftly rose in the ranks.

As an attorney, Ogletree represented clients such as the late Tupac Shakur, and worked on the legal team that represented Anita Hill during the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas. This month, HBO released a film, Confirmation, depicting the hearings with Jeffrey Wright starring as Ogletree and Scandal’s Kerry Washington in the role of Hill.

In 1989, Ogletree began working as a professor at his law school alma mater, and eventually became Harvard Law School’s vice dean for clinical programs and the Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, positions he still serves in to this day.

Among his other accomplishments, Ogletree he has been a frequent television and radio commentator on high-profile legal cases and author of several books that touch topics such as race, civil rights, and the law.

Among his awards and honors, Ogletree has won the National Conference on Black Lawyers People’s Lawyer of the Year Award, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and the Albert Sacks-Paul A. Freund Award for Teaching Excellence.

(Photo: University of Washington)

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