Statement on Lauren Sampson’s Passing


February 1, 2022

We are devastated to have lost Lauren Sampson, Senior Attorney at Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR), who died on Sunday, January 30, 2022, in Cambridge, MA. At just 30 years old, Lauren was already a distinguished civil rights attorney and prominent community leader. Her loss will be profoundly felt by family and friends, by her professional colleagues, and by the client communities she served so ably over the years.

Lauren joined LCR in 2018. Even as a junior attorney, she consistently impressed colleagues at LCR and throughout the legal community with her powerful legal talent. She played a leading role in numerous lawsuits over the last three years. Many of her cases set national precedent and received widespread attention, including in the New York Times and other national publications. Among Lauren’s many victories fighting for racial justice:

  • Massachusetts Fair Housing Center v. HUD, 20-CV-11765 (D. Mass. 2020), where she secured a nation-wide injunction against the Trump Administration, halting the roll-back of housing anti-discrimination protections under the Fair Housing Act.   
  • Boston Parent Coalition v. Boston School Committee, 21-CV-10330 (D. Mass. 2021), where she defended pandemic-related reforms to ensure diversity in exam school admissions policies.
  • Henry v. Town of Needham, 21-CV-11116 (D. Mass. 2021), a major lawsuit on behalf of Mr. Henry, a Black father of four who was racially profiled by police officers in Needham.
  • GreenRoots & City Life/Vida Urbana v. BPDA, No. 01-20-0001-6 (HUD), securing a groundbreaking agreement governing language access and community outreach for development projects across the City of Boston, including Suffolk Downs.  

A prolific writer, Lauren’s insights were regularly featured in a variety of publications, including WBUR and Commonwealth Magazine, where she most recently advocated for the City of Boston to adopt groundbreaking “greenspace plans.” 

Lauren served on the Board of Directors of CASA and the Welcome Project

Lauren was also selected for the prestigious 2020-2021 Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) of the Boston Bar Association. Most recently, she taught “Race Relations and the Law” at Boston College Law School, and was developing a course on “Literature and the Law.” She was eager to bring her intersectional lens to help develop critical thinking in the next generation of legal advocates. 

Lauren’s work on racial justice and equity was informed by her personal background, including her father’s experience growing up in apartheid South Africa. Prior to her professional successes, she had a distinguished academic career. In 2012, She received her BA in English and History from Queen’s University (Ontario, Canada), where she received the Gold Medal in English and was on the Dean’s List with Distinction. In 2015, she received both a MA in English from Duke University and a JD from Duke University School of Law, where she graduated Order of the Coif and magna cum laude. In law school, she served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy. After law school, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable John Dooley (Ret.) of the Vermont Supreme Court.

Lauren was amazingly funny, thoughtful, kind, and brilliant. She was completely dedicated to fighting for racial justice and for her clients, each and every day. She was more than a colleague. She was a friend and an inspiration to her LCR family. Many LCR staff members considered Lauren a big sister, someone who always made herself available for her peers professionally and personally. Lauren was an educator in the classroom and, to the benefit of many, felt duty-bound to share her knowledge and passion of the law. Her light, presence, wit, and humor captivated all around her, whether for the purpose of fierce advocacy or fabulous storytelling. As a lover of literature and a profound wordsmith, she would have heavily edited this statement; only she could have written it to perfection.

“Lauren was a courageous, creative and compassionate advocate who contributed so much to LCR’s mission in combating racial injustice and inequity.  We are deeply saddened by this tremendous loss,” said Lisa Pirozzolo, Co-Chair of LCR’s Board of Directors.  

“The directors and staff of LCR mourn the loss of Lauren Sampson, a bright light in the civil rights community, and a valued friend and colleague,” added Inez Friedman-Boyce, Co-Chair of LCR’s Board of Directors.  “She was an exceptional person, accomplished beyond her years, and her loss is felt profoundly by all who worked with her.” 

“Today, LCR wholeheartedly recommits to fighting aggressively for Lauren’s values. In Lauren’s honor, we will deliberately and intentionally deepen and expand our work on behalf of people of color like Mr. Henry. From housing to climate justice and beyond, we will work tirelessly to fully realize her vision of justice and equity. This work starts now,” said Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, Executive Director of Lawyers for Civil Rights.  

There aren’t enough words to encapsulate Lauren’s legacy. Her absence is deeply felt. She will be deeply missed. 

Especially during the pandemic, it is important to ask for help. Please find support:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

(800) 273-TALK (8255) (24/7 hotline, English) 

(888) 628-9454 (en español)

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

National Mental Health Association

(800) 969-6642

Mental Health America (MHA), founded in 1909, is a community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of Americans. 

Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers

(617) 482-9600

Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCL) promotes well-being and resilience in the legal community, improving lives, nurturing competence, and elevating the standing of the legal profession. To fulfill this mission, LCL provides free and confidential mental health resources, addiction recovery support, and practice management services.