Deputy Executive Director, ACLU
James Gilliam was appointed the deputy executive director of the ACLU of Southern California (“ACLU SoCal”) in April 2010. He manages the day-to-day operations of the organization and founded its LGBTQ Student Rights Project, an anti-bullying project the ACLU SoCal launched to help support students who are the victims of bullying at school.
Gilliam is also an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School, where he teaches seminars on Law and Sexuality, Sexual Orientation and the Law, and the Fundamentals of Public Interest Law Practice. He frequently speaks and conducts trainings on LGBT issues.
In 2007, Gilliam became the most junior attorney ever to receive Loyola Law School’s Pro Bono Alumni of the Year Award for his pro bono work. In 2010, the National LGBT Bar Association—on whose Board of Directors Gilliam previously served—named him one of the Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40. Gilliam was among the inaugural class of individuals who were recognized by KCET in 2011 as Local Heroes for LGBT Pride Month. In 2012, the Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association of Los Angeles honored Gilliam with the organization’s Co-President’s Award, and in 2013 Loyola School bestowed him with its OutLaw Alumnus of the Year Award.
Gilliam has published several articles. One of his law review articles, “Toward Providing a Welcoming Home for All: A New Approach to Address the Longstanding Problems LGBT Youth Face in the Foster Care System,” has been widely cited by both scholars and practitioners. He has also published a book review of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Debating the Gay Ban in the Military” in the Journal of Homosexuality.
Gilliam obtained a B.S. in sociology/social welfare policy from Middle Tennessee State University in 2000, where he graduated as valedictorian of his class. He obtained his J.D. from Loyola Law School in 2003, Order of the Coif. During law school Gilliam worked for the Hon. Harry Pregerson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and completed internships at Lambda Legal and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.