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Public Justice Center Executive Director John Nethercut to Retire


January 5, 2022


John Nethercut, (410) 400-6952,
Camille Blake Fall, (202) 276-9459,

BALTIMORE, MD – Public Justice Center Executive Director John Nethercut will retire from the organization on January 23, 2022, after serving in the role since 2002. With his leadership, the Public Justice Center has built a strong local and national reputation as a leader in public interest law reform, using systemic legal advocacy to address laws, policies, and practices that perpetuate economic injustice and racial inequity.

During his tenure, John led the board and staff to grow the scope and size of the organization. The PJC diversified its approach to legal advocacy, responding to injustice with a full complement of legal strategies, including client representation, class action lawsuits, legislative and administrative advocacy, public education, and collaboration with community and advocacy groups. Nearly a decade ago, the PJC began developing knowledge of systemic racism and centering racial equity and anti-racism in its projects, cases, advocacy, and organizational culture. Also, under his leadership, the PJC’s revenue tripled, and sustained growth over two decades means there are more attorneys and paralegals advocating for systemic change and more staff to provide management, infrastructure, capacity, and administrative support for the organization.

“Over many years of social justice work, I have seen the power of good people working together in good organizations to impact the world. As the PJC’s Executive Director, the best part of my job has been just that: bringing together the people, the ideas, and the resources to build effective legal advocacy campaigns informed by the communities we serve. I am honored to have served in that role for the last twenty years,” said John.

John’s career in social justice advocacy began in 1975 in Los Angeles, where he was a boycott organizer for Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. John received a B.A. with honors in Anthropology/Sociology in 1978 from Earlham College. After college he worked in a farmworker legal services program in Indiana. While at Harvard Law School, from which he received a J.D. in 1982, John worked as a tenant union organizer and student lawyer with City Life/Vida Urbana. After law school, John worked in civil legal aid offices in Cincinnati and upstate New York. He was then appointed as an Assistant Attorney General and eventually Deputy Chief of the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney General of Maryland, where he served for 14 years until coming to the Public Justice Center.

Camille Blake Fall, chair of the PJC Board of Directors, commented on John’s legacy: “Twenty years of exceptional, visionary leadership! The PJC has benefited tremendously from John’s clarity about the mission and how to get there, from his collaborative and consensus-driven approach to leadership, and from his consummate skills in legal advocacy and in running a nonprofit organization. John will very much be missed by me, the PJC staff and board, our partners and allies, and the people and communities who have been positively impacted by the PJC’s pursuit of systemic change under his leadership.”

To facilitate a strong transition in leadership, the Board of Directors, led by Camille Blake Fall and Miriam Nemeth, formed a search committee comprised of board and staff members and engaged executive search firm On-Ramps to conduct a search for his successor. Jeniece Jones, MPA, JD, will join the PJC as Executive Director on January 24, 2022; a full introduction of Jeniece will follow in her first week.

John stated, “The PJC is in a great position to keep fighting for justice through this leadership change: with an incredibly strong, respected, and experienced staff and board; a range of funding sources and credibility with funders; and a history of achieving its social justice impact goals.”



The Public Justice Center pursues systemic change to build a just society. The PJC uses legal advocacy tools to pursue social justice, economic and race equity, and fundamental human rights for people who are struggling to provide for their basic needs. The PJC is a civil legal aid office that provides advice and representation to low-income clients, advocates before legislatures and government agencies, and collaborates with community and advocacy organizations. The PJC chooses projects and cases that will make a significant impact on systems, laws, and policies.

Current projects include advocating on behalf of families needing healthcare and benefits, low-wage workers, low-income tenants, and students facing barriers to school enrollment and academic achievement; advocating to reform pretrial detention; using appellate cases to establish good law in poverty and civil rights cases; and coordinating a national coalition that works to establish a right to counsel in basic human needs civil cases.