David HinojosaDirector, Education Opportunities Project
David Hinojosa is the Director of the Educational Opportunities Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law where he spearheads the organization’s systemic racial justice work in guaranteeing that historically marginalized students of color receive equal and equitable educational opportunities in public schools and institutions of higher education. David is recognized as a national leading litigator and advocate in the area of civil rights, specializing in educational impact litigation and policy.
At the Lawyers’ Committee, among other work, David leads a team representing college students of color and alumni defending affirmative action admissions plans in three separate cases filed against Harvard College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Texas at Austin. In the Harvard case, he argued before the First Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of student amici, helping to uphold Harvard’s race-conscious admissions. He also serves as lead counsel for the Charlotte Mecklenburg NAACP Branch in the historic North Carolina school finance case, Leandro v. State, seeking a remedy that will ensure equal educational resources for students of color and students in at-risk circumstances. David also co-led national efforts to protect tens of thousands of English learner students from being forced into schools solely for English proficiency testing during the pandemic. He is also leading the organization’s national work in responding to the increasing number of anti-diversity and inclusion laws that seek to censor critical discussions on systemic racism and sexism.
Previously, David served over eleven years as an attorney and Southwest Regional Counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). Mr. Hinojosa’s cutting-edge litigation, appellate practice and policy work in several states resulted in: racially desegregating schools; improving state school finance systems for underserved children and property-poor districts; cultivating quality programs for English learners; preserving the Texas DREAM Act and affirmative action; stopping workplace discrimination; and securing driver’s license access for immigrants. He has argued impact cases before the Supreme Courts of Colorado and Texas and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, among other appellate courts.
For over three years, David served as the Intercultural Development and Research Association’s (IDRA) National Director of Policy and Director of the Region II regional equity assistance center, where he, his team, and nationwide consultants provided equity-based technical assistance to schools across the American South in issues involving race, national origin, sex/gender, and religion discrimination. Among other impacts, his team’s collective work helped schools: diversify the teaching profession; deconstruct barriers to gifted programs for students of color; decrease disproportionate student discipline referrals; address bullying and harassment; improve school climate; and train and educate teachers, school and district leaders and board members on the role of bias and stereotype in education. David also led the development of critical tools for the field, including the popular “Essential Building Blocks of School Finance” and “Equity-Based Framework for Integrated Schooling.”
David has presented written and oral testimony before local, state and national governmental bodies, and he has spoken at over 100 local, state and national conferences. He is a frequent CLE presenter and guest lecturer, and is also well-published on civil rights matters, including “Rodriguez v. San Antonio Independent School District, Forty Years and Counting” in The Enduring Legal of Rodriguez (Harvard Education Press 2015); “How Adequacy Litigation Fails to Fulfill the Promise of Brown [But How it Can Get us Closer],” in The Pursuit of Racial and Ethnic Equality in American Public Schools: Mendez, Brown, and Beyond (Michigan State University Press 2015); and
Hinojosa, D., “Bilingual Education Policy in Texas: Promise and Lost Opportunities” in DeMatthews, D. & Izquierdo, E., eds., Dual Language Education: Politics, Paradigms, and Promises (Springer 2019)).
Prior to joining the Lawyers’ Committee in November 2019, David worked in the Albuquerque office of the well-regarded education law firm of Walsh Gallegos, P.C., where he represented school districts in various legal matters, including civil rights, employment, and student matters.
David serves as a board member for the Poverty and Race Research Action Council. He has also received many awards, including the Ohtli Award from the Mexican Consulate’s Office, a Resolution Honor from the Texas House of Representatives, and the Texas Law Fellowship’s Excellence in Public Interest Award.
A proud graduate of Edgewood High School in San Antonio, David served as an air traffic controller in the U.S. Air Force. He earned his B.A. from New Mexico State University in 1997 and his J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law in 2000. David lives with his spouse and their children in Maryland where they enjoy visiting the many sites of the DMV.
Bar Admissions: Admitted in the District of Columbia, Texas, and New Mexico (inactive)
Court Admissions: Admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States, the US Courts of Appeal for the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits, and the US District Courts for the District of New Mexico, and the Western District of Texas.