Last updated on: 9/23/2014 | Author:

Marcellus Antonio McRae, JD Biography

Litigation Partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and Co-Counsel for the Plaintiffs in Vergara v. California
Con to the question "Should Teachers Get Tenure?"

“Teachers are a crucial component of the quality of education that students receive. Research shows that teacher quality has a greater impact on student achievement than many other factors such as class size, teacher certification requirements, and per-pupil spending.

Some students… get stuck in classrooms with teachers who, year after year, fail to educate or inspire their students. These persistently low-performing teachers contribute to a devastating and unjustifiable inequality in our public educational system.

In Los Angeles Unified, the country’s second largest school district, African-American and Latino students are two to three times more likely to have a teacher in the bottom quartile of effectiveness than their white and Asian peers. Research has revealed that Los Angeles schools in which ineffective teachers make up over 50 percent of the teaching staff are clustered in certain parts of the city…

But the worst part of these inequalities is that we know exactly which laws are contributing to and exacerbating the problem. Teacher employment protections [tenure] in California so far exceed those in other States that dismissing a persistently ineffective teacher is next to impossible so costly, time-consuming, and unlikely to actually result in dismissal that administrators are prevented from even trying. Worse, when budget shortfalls force districts to implement layoffs, the statutes require districts to lay teachers off in reverse order of seniority, with no regard for skills, leadership or past performance in the classroom.”

Vergara v. California: Marching Toward a Dream Still Denied,” Huffington Post, Sep. 11, 2013

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Litigation Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
  • Member, Pacific Council on International Policy
  • Member, Board of Advocates, Human Rights First
  • Member, Boards of Directors of Public Counsel
  • Co-Counsel for the Plaintiffs in Vergara v. California, 2014
  • Deputy General Counsel, Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence for the County of Los Angeles, 2012
  • Co-Chair, Lawyer Delegates to the Ninth Circuit, Central District of California, 2003-2004
  • Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney’s Office, Jan. 1995-Feb. 1998
  • Associate, Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP, Mar. 1990-Dec. 1994
  • Associate, Chodorow & Burns, LLP, Sep. 1988-Feb. 1990
  • Former Executive Committee Member, Criminal Justice Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Former Adjunct Professor, Advanced Trial Advocacy, Loyola Law School
  • Instructor, Trial Advocacy, Harvard Law School
  • Member, Board of Trustees, Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Chair, Environmental Crimes Committee, West Coast Chapter of the American Bar Association
  • Member, Board of Directors, Federal Bar Association
  • JD, Harvard Law School, 1988
  • BA, summa cum laude, University of California at Los Angeles, 1985
  • Board Member, Friends of the Expo Center
  • Board Member, Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Member, Phi Beta Kappa
  • Featured in Best Lawyers in America
  • Included in “Top 100 Lawyers in California” by the Daily Journal in 2014
  • Included in “20 under 40” California Lawyers by the Daily Journal in 2003
  • Listed as one of California’s “Superlawyers” by Law & Politics in Jan. 2004
  • Named among the “New Stars, New Worlds” by Lawdragon magazine in 2006
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should Teachers Get Tenure?