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Judge Bernice B. Donald, J.D., LL.M.
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth CircuitSenior Lecturing Fellow

Judge Bernice B. Donald, J.D., LL.M.


Bernice B. Donald is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She received her law degree from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphrey’s School of Law, where she later served as a member of the Alumni and Law Alumni Boards of Directors and as an adjunct faculty member. She received a Master of Judicial Studies from Duke University School of Law and an honorary Doctors in Law from Suffolk University.

Donald frequently serves on the faculty of the National Judicial College and the Federal Judicial Center (FJC), and she was a member of the FJC’s Board of Directors from 2003 through 2007. In 1996, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist appointed Judge Donald to the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules, where she served for six years. In 2011, Chief Justice John G. Roberts appointed her to an indefinite term on the Judicial Branch Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States.

Donald is extremely active in the American, National, Tennessee, and Memphis Bar Associations, as well as in the Ben F. Jones chapter of the National Bar Association. In August of 2014, Donald began serving as Chair-Elect of the ABA Criminal Justice Section; she served as Chair 2015-2016. Donald currently serves as Litigation Section Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates; co-chair of the Task Force on Implicit Bias for the ABA Litigation Section; co-chair of the Committee on Diversity for the ABA Tort, Trial, and Insurance Section; and co-chair of the Program Committee for the National Bar Association Judicial Council. Additionally, Donald serves as chair of the ABA Center for Human Rights and as a member of the section leadership for the ABA Criminal Justice, Labor and Employment Law Sections, and Judicial Division. She previously served as the President of the American Bar Foundation, where she was the first African American to hold that position.