John M. Rosenberg is Director-Emeritus of Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of Ky., Inc. (Appalred), a legal services program serving low-income clients in 37 counties in eastern and south central Kentucky. He held the position of Director for 31 years from its founding in 1970. Prior to joining Appalred, he was a Trial Attorney, Deputy Section Chief, and Trial Section Chief in the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, where he litigated racial discrimination cases primarily in the South. He was involved in a number of major civil rights cases, including the successful prosecution of the Klansmen responsible for the murder of the three civil rights workers in Neshoba County, Mississippi in 1964.
Mr. Rosenberg is Vice-Chair of the Kentucky Public Advocacy Commission. He is a past member of the Board of Governors of the Kentucky Bar Association and has chaired the Donated Legal Services Committee, the Education Law Section, and the Public Interest Law Section of the Bar Association. He has been a member of the Board of Regents of Morehead State University, and the Visiting Committee of the UK College of Law.
He has served on the boards of various nonprofit organizations, and currently chairs the boards of the Appalachian Citizens Law Center and the Low Income Housing Coalition of Eastern Kentucky. He was a founder and past chair of the East Kentucky Science Center. He has received a number of awards for his public service work, including the American Bar Association’s John Minor Wisdom Public Service and Professionalism Award and the KBA’s Pro Bono Award. He and Appalred jointly received the Eastern Kentucky Leadership Foundation’s Organizational Award in 1991.
Mr. Rosenberg graduated from Duke University with an A.B. in Chemistry. He earned his L.L.B. from the University of North Carolina School of Law and holds Honorary Doctorates from Morehead State University and the William Mitchell School of Law.
Mr. Rosenberg is Of Counsel to the Prestonsburg law firm of Pillersdorf, DeRossett, and Lane.