Baltimore native J. Francis Pohlhaus (1918–1981) studied at Western Maryland College and Georgetown University Law School. He began a private law practice in 1949 and served as an advisor for the Baltimore Urban League. In 1951 he moved to Washington and joined the Department of Justice as an attorney in the Civil Rights Section. He joined the NAACP Washington Bureau in 1954. Pohlhaus served as the Bureau’s only counsel and Clarence Mitchell’s key legislative assistant. He shared lobbying duties and worked with congressional staff in drafting civil rights bills. Mitchell considered his legislative contributions invaluable. Pohlhaus died shortly after his retirement in 1981.