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Delphia T. Simpson was raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She received her B.A. in English from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia and then received her J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law. After her admission to the State Bar of Maryland, she practiced family law at the Legal Aid Bureau of Maryland. While there, she was promoted to Chief Attorney for the Family Law Unit and served in that position until she returned to Michigan.
Ms. Simpson then joined the Michigan Poverty Law Program as its state-wide family law attorney. While working with MPLP, Ms. Simpson was elected to the State Bar of Michigan Family Law Committee. In 2001, when presented with the opportunity to practice in the area of civil rights, she began working with the ACLU of Michigan as its Racial Justice Staff Attorney. In that role, she focused on solving racial profiling issues and she was co-counsel on the Eastpointe, MI “Bicycling While Black” case.
In 2003, Ms. Simpson joined the Office of the Washtenaw County Public Defender in Ann Arbor as its Managing Attorney led by Lloyd E. Powell, and she continued her work to address racial profiling issues in Washtenaw County. In February 2016, she was asked to become the Interim Public Defender, and in 2017 she was promoted to Chief Public Defender for Washtenaw County.
Ms. Simpson is very active in the community and serves on several non-profit boards including as Chair of the Michigan Advocacy Program, Chair of the Ann Arbor NAACP Legal Redress Committee, board member of Catholic Social Services, and board member of the Fair Housing Center of Southeastern Michigan. She is also a past president of the Washtenaw County Bar Association.
The Vanzetti Hamilton Bar Association awarded Ms. Simpson the 2015 Frederick Douglass Racial Justice and Harmony Award, and in 2017 she received the Washtenaw County Leadership Award.