James Derek Mize
James Derek was a Point Scholar from 2006 to 2009, during which time he earned his law degree and MA in Women's Studies from the University of Cincinnati. James Derek explains that his academic interests in gender and sexuality were based in part on the roles played by the women in his family during his childhood in central Mississippi. In high school, James Derek was an 11-time state champion swimmer and was also ranked in the top 1% of his graduating class. Following high school, James Derek enrolled at the University of Cincinnati to swim at the NCAA Division I level. After being named Freshman of the Year, James Derek began to be honest about his sexual orientation. He quit swimming at that time and changed his major from Biology to English Literature and became a cheerleader instead. After he graduated in 2003, James Derek lived for 2 years in New Orleans, LA and then returned to Cincinnati, Ohio for graduate school. James Derek has studied abroad at the International Gender and Sexuality institute at the Universiteit van Amsterdam in The Netherlands. He has also served on the board of directors for Equality Ohio and GLSEN Cincinnati.
Since 2008, James Derek has been associated with the law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in New York City and has represented some of the world's most influential Fortune 100 companies. He has also represented gay political asylees before the United States Immigration Court, as well as the National LGBT Bar Association as amicus curiae in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, the landmark United States Supreme Court decision declaring that a discriminatory religious student organization did not have a constitutional right to exclude gay and lesbian law students from its membership. In addition to his not-for-profit work on behalf of LGBT youth and the Point Foundation, James Derek is one of the founders of Mela-KNOW-More, an organization dedicated to the memory of his close friend Andy Caress. In all of his diverse activities, James Derek stresses the power of team work and the power held by a group of people when they work together to promote goodwill and understanding.