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P.O. 8179 Los Angeles, CA 90008

(213) 488-4411

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BWL Officers & Committees

2016-2017 BWL Officers

Amber S. Finch
President
Demetria L. Graves
President-Elect
Gina M. Durham
Vice President
Ronnivashti Whitehead
Treasurer
Rosezetta E. Upshaw
Financial Secretary
Sharde C. Thomas
Corresponding Secretary
Tiffanie Q. Spivey
Recording Secretary
Lisa M. McLean
Parliamentarian
Michelle L. Kazadi
Historian
Lakeshia M. Dorsey
Newsletter Editor
Barbra W. Diallo
Member-at-Large
Jasmine S. Horton
Member-at-Large
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2015-2016 BWL Officers

Amber S. Finch
President
Demetria L. Graves
President-Elect
Gina M.Durham
Vice President
Ronnivashti Whitehead
Treasurer
Rosezetta E. Upshaw
Financial Secretary
Sharde C. Thomas
Corresponding Secretary
Tiffanie Q. Spivey
Recording Secretary
Lisa M. McLean
Parliamentarian
Michelle L. Kazadi
Historian
Lakeshia M. Dorsey
Newsletter Editor
Barbra W. Diallo
Member-at-Large
Jasmine S. Horton
Member-at-Large
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Budget/Finance

Co-Chairs: Ronni Whitehead and Rosezetta Upshaw

The Committee develops the operating budget and strategically works with the board to develop and support fundraising efforts.

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California Women Lawyers Liaison

Liaison: Shakira Ferguson

Since 1974, CWL has represented the interests of more than 30,000 women in all facets of the legal profession, influencing lawyers, educators, students and judges. CWL has consistently provided a high level of support and commitment to their individual career goals, and to the collective goals of women in law and society. As the only statewide bar association for women in California, California Women Lawyers maintains a primary focus on advancing women in the legal profession. CWL provides unique resources and support to its members. Whether it is helping new practitioners expand their client base or assisting experienced attorneys in securing positions on the bench, CWL is an invaluable resource for the professional advancement of women lawyers.

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Cocktail Sip

Co-Chairs: Tara Doss and Jasmine Horton

The planning and coordination of BWL’s major fundraiser, the Cocktail Sip, is this committee’s primary task. The Thanksgiving Eve Cocktail Sip was held Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at The Autry from 7pm – 12 midnight. The Cocktail Sip theme was ‘The Time Is Now’.

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Community Action

Chair: Linda Rosborough

The Community Action Committee develops and implements activities to enhance the community and foster relations between the community and the legal profession. Annually the Committee gives holiday food baskets to needy families, donations to shelters for homeless women and children and expands its outreach programs to schools.

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Education

Chair: Carla Ford

The Education Committee organizes and facilitates activities which enhance the educational development of law students and scholars in the community. The Education committee will coordinate the BWL/law student mentor program, panel discussions and fireside chats with law students, lawyers and law professors and bar tutorial programs in preparation for the February and July state bar exams.

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Holiday Party

Co-Chairs: Pamela Dansby-Darden and Jill Carter

The Holiday Party Committee organizes a holiday season party in which BWL and the John M. Langston Bar Association recognize new admittees to the State Bar and those members recently promoted. This year the Holiday Party will collect donations of toys and toiletries to be delivered to Prototypes and the Jenesse Center.

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Hospitality

Co-Chairs: Hon. Marguerite Downing and Tatianna Metters

The Committee is a network for acknowledging significant life events that occur to members and colleagues.

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Installation

Co-Chairs: Randi Cooper and Barbra Diallo

The Installation Committee plans the annual Installation and Awards Dinner, traditionally held in September. Planning usually begins in earnest during the spring. During the Installation, the incoming officers take an oath and are installed, the outgoing president is recognized for her achievements, and there are various honorees who are recognized for their achievements. On September 19, 2015, BWL held its 40th Annual Installation and Awards Dinner at the Marriott Marina del Rey. We had record attendance of over 350 and honored Sandra Phillips, General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer, Toyota Motor North America, with the Corporate Leadership Award, The Posse Foundation of Los Angeles with the Commitment to Education Award, and Daniel Limerick, Executive Vice President, Business Affairs, Warner Bros. Television, with the Trailblazer Award.

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Internet & Publicity

Co-Chairs: Charlene Usher and Sherry Patterson

The Internet & Publicity Committee coordinates enhancement and maintenance of the BWL web site, spearheads social media outreach, and seeks out new digital media for BWL’s promotions and relationships.

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Judicial Endorsements/Evaluations

Chair: Hon. Yvette Roland

The Endorsements/Evaluations Committee conducts evaluations of candidates for judicial positions. The process starts with an application to the Committee and ends with a personal interview. Prior to the interview, the Committee sends out written questionnaires to references provided by the applicant. At least 20 written evaluations must be received by the Committee before an interview will be scheduled.

 

FORMS: Request for Endorsement | Policies & Procedures
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Lifetime Membership

Co-Chairs: Shirley A. Henderson and Gina Durham

The Lifetime Membership committee focuses on programming and attraction of Lifetime Members to the BWL Family.

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Legislation

Chair: Michele Anderson

The Legislation Committee analyzes pending legislation and makes recommendations to the board when appropriate. The Committee also collaborates with other organizations on legislative issues compatible with BWL’s mission in order maximize its political voice.

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Membership

Chair: Gina M. Durham

The Membership Committee plans and implements activities to increase and enhance membership.

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Newsletter

Chair: Lakeshia Dorsey

The Newsletter Committee prepares and distributes a periodical on significant issues affecting BWL members.

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Parents Group

Chair: Rashida Adams

The Parents Group is dedicated to providing programming and opportunities for fellowship for those members who are parents and legal professionals.

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Pro Bono Service

Chair: Jessica Youngblood

The Pro Bono Committee focuses on pro bono activities for BWL members to enhance the community and assist indigent members of our community with legal matters.

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Program Planning

Chair: Demetria Graves

The Planning Committee plans monthly meetings for the general membership and MCLE programs. The Committee also maintains the organization’s State Bar MCLE provider status.

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Scholarship Fundraising

Co-Chairs: Karen Eneas and Ronni Whitehead

 

The Scholarship Fundraising Committee collaborates with the BWL Foundation to plan and produce an annual spring fundraiser to provide scholarships to law students and awards to community leaders.

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Scholarship Selection

Chair: Ki’Jhana Friday

The Scholarship Selection Committee coordinates the selection of scholarship recipients to be honored at the annual spring fundraising event. The process includes drafting essay questions, soliciting applicants, evaluating the essays and interviewing applicants.

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Young Lawyers Committee

Chair: Joanna Allen

The purpose of the Young Lawyers Committee (YLC) is to (i) create a professional and social network for future and practicing young black women lawyers, and (ii) enhance the visibility of The Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles.

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Affiliate Organization Representatives

Black Women Lawyers Foundation

Representative: Gina Durham

In 1975, a small group of Los Angeles based African-American women judges and attorneys met to discuss the marked absence of an organization which addressed their needs in the legal field. The dialogue that ensued became the genesis of Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Inc. (“BWL”). BWL held its first scholarship event in 1975. Since then, BWL and its foundation, has awarded more than half a million in scholarships and grants to second and third year law students.

In 1992, BWL established the Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles Foundation (“BWL Foundation”) pursuant to California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Code, §5310(b). The BWL Foundation sponsors all of the charitable fundraising efforts of BWL, for which BWL intends to offer Internal Revenue Code §501(c)(3) treatment.

California Association of Black Lawyers

Representative: Jamilla Harris

The California Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) is a statewide organization serving more than 6000 attorneys and judges throughout the state of California. CABL held its first meeting in 1977 at the Airport Marriott with a goal to change the face of the judiciary and influence the course of life for African Americans.  CABL’s first April meeting was sponsored and planned primarily by the leadership of the Charles Houston Bar Association and the John M. Langston Bar Association. They were assisted by the Black Lawyers of San Diego County (now the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association) and the Black Women Lawyers of California (now the Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Inc.).

California Women Lawyers

Liaison: Shakira Ferguson

Since 1974, CWL has represented the interests of more than 30,000 women in all facets of the legal profession, influencing lawyers, educators, students and judges. CWL has consistently provided a high level of support and commitment to their individual career goals, and to the collective goals of women in law and society. As the only statewide bar association for women in California, California Women Lawyers maintains a primary focus on advancing women in the legal profession. CWL provides unique resources and support to its members. Whether it is helping new practitioners expand their client base or assisting experienced attorneys in securing positions on the bench, CWL is an invaluable resource for the professional advancement of women lawyers.

Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law

Representative: Tamara Benefield

Founded in 1982, by BWL and WLALA, the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law is one of the largest providers of family law and domestic violence assistance to low-income persons in Los Angeles. The focus of the Center’s efforts is on legal problems involving custody, visitation, support of children, domestic violence, and establishing parentage. As a Founding Organization BWL remains represented on its Board of Directors to ensure our members remain apprised of the overall management of the Center and active in supporting its mission.

California Association of Black Lawyers

Representative: Jamilla Harris

The California Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) is a statewide organization serving more than 6000 attorneys and judges throughout the state of California. CABL held its first meeting in 1977 at the Airport Marriott with a goal to change the face of the judiciary and influence the course of life for African Americans.  CABL’s first April meeting was sponsored and planned primarily by the leadership of the Charles Houston Bar Association and the John M. Langston Bar Association. They were assisted by the Black Lawyers of San Diego County (now the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association) and the Black Women Lawyers of California (now the Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Inc.).

California Women Lawyers

Liaisons: Kristen Byrdsong and Demetria Graves

Since 1974, CWL has represented the interests of more than 30,000 women in all facets of the legal profession, influencing lawyers, educators, students and judges. CWL has consistently provided a high level of support and commitment to their individual career goals, and to the collective goals of women in law and society. As the only statewide bar association for women in California, California Women Lawyers maintains a primary focus on advancing women in the legal profession. CWL provides unique resources and support to its members. Whether it is helping new practitioners expand their client base or assisting experienced attorneys in securing positions on the bench, CWL is an invaluable resource for the professional advancement of women lawyers.

Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law

Representative: Trina Saunders

Founded in 1982, by BWL and WLALA, the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law is one of the largest providers of family law and domestic violence assistance to low-income persons in Los Angeles. The focus of the Center’s efforts is on legal problems involving custody, visitation, support of children, domestic violence, and establishing parentage. As a Founding Organization BWL remains represented on its Board of Directors to ensure our members remain apprised of the overall management of the Center and active in supporting its mission.