Kristi Graunke joined the ACLU of North Carolina as Legal Director in February 2020. She leads the ACLU of North Carolina’s legal work to support and defend North Carolinians’ civil rights.
Before joining the ACLU of North Carolina as Legal Director, Kristi worked for nearly fifteen years as an attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, focusing primarily on enforcing the civil rights of low-income immigrant workers in the southeastern United States. She also worked on litigation to defend the civil rights of LGBTQI individuals and incarcerated children and adults. In 2015, she received Public Justice’s Trial Lawyer of the Year Award as part of a team that tried a human trafficking case to a $14 million verdict for the plaintiffs.
Prior to working at the Southern Poverty Law Center, Kristi was an Equal Justice Works law fellow with the Farmworker Division of Georgia Legal Services.
Kristi holds a B.A. from Cornell University and a J.D. from Yale Law School. Following graduation from law school, she clerked for Judge Marsha S. Berzon of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.