Lawyer James L. Hudson was born on November 6, 1939 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Augustine Lagarde and James Hudson. He received his B.A. degree in 1961 from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia and his J.D. degree in 1965 from Boston University School of Law.
In 1966, Hudson joined the firm Rhyne & Rhyne in Washington, D.C. He then worked as a research fellow at The Urban Institute from 1968 until 1970. In 1970, Hudson co-founded the law firm Hudson Leftwich where he served as a senior partner. The firm later became Hudson, Leftwich & Davenport in 1972, and he represented various municipalities including Detroit, New Orleans, Oakland and Kansas City. Hudson also served as finance counsel to the District of Columbia from 1974 to 1982. In 1985, he was named chairman at JAH Development Company and JLH Partners LLC.
Hudson has served on numerous boards throughout his career. He was a member of the Carter-Mondale Steering Committee of Washington, D.C. in 1976, was appointed to the board of the District of Columbia National Capital Revitalization Corporation by Mayor Anthony Williams in May of 2003; and, in 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Hudson as the United States executive director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. In 2013, Hudson was selected to lead the Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair Lecture Series at Howard University; and, in 2013, he served as the Holden Lecturer at Jackson State University. Hudson also was a member of the District of Columbia Tax Revision Commission, was chairman of the Morehouse College Board of Trustees, and served on the boards of the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art, the Georgetown Day School, the District of Columbia General Hospital, the Municipal Finance Forum of Washington, the District of Columbia National Bank, and Carson Products, Inc.
In 2017, Hudson was recognized at the Morehouse University 133rd Commencement where he was conferred the title “Chairman Emeritus” with a special black academic chair, and received the College’s 150th anniversary sesquicentennial medallion.
James L. Hudson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 22, 2020.