Emily C. R. Early

Associate Director of the Southern Regional Office

Emily C. R. Early joins the Center for Constitutional Rights as the Associate Director of the Southern Regional Office of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Her primary responsibilities include leading the expansion of the Southern Regional Office’s engagement in movement litigation and advocacy and development of its local capacity to challenge systemic imbalances of power, in partnership with allies and partners throughout the South.  

Prior to joining the Center for Constitutional Rights, Emily served as a senior supervising attorney with the Economic Justice Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, where she practiced for nearly six years with the Economic Justice Project, providing legal advocacy and education to dismantle exploitative systems that deprive people of wealth on account of their race and economic status, as well as to support equitable systems of self-determination and economic reinvestment, particularly with historically marginalized Black and Brown communities. Her work areas included the eradication of systems that criminalize poverty such as debtors’ prisons, cash bail, driver’s license suspension schemes, and private probation; equitable housing access; and fair and just access to public benefits systems such as Medicaid and unemployment insurance. She has appeared on NPR’s WABE as well as in written media outlets in Louisiana, Georgia, and Alabama such as the Daily Report, the Advocate, AL.com, and the AJC.  

Before the SPLC, Emily practiced general business litigation in the Atlanta office of Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell and Berkowitz, P.C. While at Baker Donelson, she was active with the firm’s pro bono programs, serving on Baker Donelson’s firm-wide pro bono committee.  Emily represented individuals pro bono in landlord-tenant, domestic violence, and criminal legal cases through the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, the Atlanta Volunteers Lawyers Foundation, the Georgia Justice Project, and the 2014 Clemency Project, earning the Firm Pro Bono Atlanta Employee of the Year Award.   

Emily is a proud graduate of Howard University School of Law, where she served as a student attorney in the Civil Rights Clinic and as the Notes and Comments Editor of the Howard Law Journal.  She graduated (summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa) from Spelman College with a B.A. degree in Sociology and a minor in Spanish.  After graduating from Howard Law, Emily clerked for the Honorable W. Louis Sands of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia in Albany, Georgia.  

Emily serves on the inaugural Community Engagement Board of the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence, in Decatur, Georgia, where she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member after graduating college, and is on her local HOA Board. She is also a member of the Atlanta Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc.  She resides in the Atlanta metro area with her husband Del and three VERY energetic sons.