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John Simpkins is a Senior Associate for the Riley Institute after serving as its first Associate Director. He is the president and CEO of MDC, an organization working on behalf of racial equity and economic mobility in the South.
He is a constitutional law scholar and former Obama Administration counsel who has played a leadership role in advancing an equity agenda for women and people of color in the South.
Simpkins holds a bachelor’s degree in Government from Harvard College and a J.D. and LL.M. in international and comparative law from Duke University School of Law. John Simpkins, prior to joining the United States Agency for International Development in 2015 as General Counsel, he served for two years as the Deputy General Counsel in the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Simpkins has held a variety of positions in private practice and academia, including serving as counsel at Wyche, P.A., in Greenville, as a visiting assistant professor of law at the University of Victoria, and as an assistant professor and Director of Diversity Initiatives at the Charleston School of Law. As a member of the African Network of the International Association of Constitutional Law, he has consulted and conducted research in comparative constitutional law and constitutional design in Nigeria, Liberia, Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa, among other countries.
Simpkins received his A.B. in government from Harvard College and a J.D. and LL.M. in international and comparative law from Duke University School of Law. He served as the Riley Institute’s first Associate Director, and is now a senior associate at the Institute.