The Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones is currently the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Blank Rome LLP and was a Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (Ret.).
From 1956 to 1959, he was Executive Director of the Fair Employment Practices Commission of the City of Youngstown. He then began private practice, and a year later was appointed as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland. In 1967 he served as Assistant General Counsel to President Johnson’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, also known as the Kerner Commission. In 1969, Judge Jones was invited to assume the responsibility as general counsel of the NAACP. He held that position from 1969 to 1979.
On May 17, 1979, at a White House ceremony, President Carter announced his intention to appoint Nathaniel Jones to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Judge Jones took his oath of office on October 15, 1979.
Following his retirement from the Sixth Circuit in March 2002, Judge Jones assumed a position as Of Counsel with Blank Rome LLP. He was named the firm’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer in 2006. In addition, he serves as honorary co-chair and director of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, after serving as co-chair until its opening in August 2004. He participates in a variety of other activities and serves as a member of the Toyota Diversity Advisory Board, member of Knowledge Works Foundation Board of Trustees, and director of the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative. He has taught at several law schools throughout the United States and is the holder of 18 honorary degrees.
An internationally renowned civil rights activist, Judge Jones played an important role in furthering the abolition of apartheid in South Africa. The drafters of South Africa’s new constitution and laws consulted him, and he conferred with Nelson Mandela upon Mandela’s release from 27 years of imprisonment. On February 20, 2003, the United States Congress passed H.J.Res.2, officially naming the Nathaniel R. Jones Federal Building & United States Courthouse in Youngstown, Ohio.
After service in the United States Army Air Corps in World War II, he was educated at Youngstown State University, receiving his A.B. in 1951 and his L.L.B. in 1956. He was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1957.
Judge Jones is married to the former Lillian Hawthorne. They have four children.