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BWL Past Presidents

41st BWL President

Nicole Hancock Husband

Nicole Hancock Husband is Vice President of Human Resources for Warner Bros. Television, having previously served as Vice President and Senior Employment Counsel for Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Before joining Warner Bros. in April 2004, Ms. Husband was a labor & employment associate at Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro and at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher (in both Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.). Ms. Husband also clerked for The Honorable Gerald Bruce Lee, U.S. District Court Judge, Eastern District of Virginia, from 1998-99 and for The Honorable Gregory Kellam Scott, Supreme Court of Colorado, from 1996-97. Ms. Husband graduated cum laude from Howard University School of Law in 1996 after having served as the Managing Editor of the Howard Law Journal and a member of the National Moot Court Team. Ms. Husband obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and International Business, with a minor in Spanish, from The Ohio State University in 1993. She also served as an Advisory Board member for the Western Center on Law & Poverty for four years and taught a legal ethics/professional responsibility course entitled “Legal Profession” at Southwestern Law School for two summers. Ms. Husband is also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, having received her coaching certification in January 2012 through The Coaches Training Institute (CTI). Ms. Husband is a frequent speaker and moderator on various areas of employment law as well as career progression.

Ms. Husband is a Lifetime Member of BWL and served as President for the 2015-2016 bar year with the theme: Planting the Seeds: Education & Inclusion for the Next 40. The programming during the 15/16 bar year focused on the educational system in Los Angeles and the state of California, as well as inclusion of our members in the local legal arena. BWL had a banner year with its programs and charitable donations focused on this particular theme, and BWL forged closer relationships with local minority bar associations during this year, partnering on several initiatives.

shannon
40th BWL President

Shannon Y. Humphrey

Shannon Humphrey served as BWL’s 40th President. She is a trial lawyer, and innovative science fiction author.

 

Shannon served as BWL President at the height of police brutality marches and demonstrations nationwide. She created a Committee on Police and Community Relations in Los Angeles, wrote press releases on police brutality for the NBA President, and organized town hall meetings to address police brutality in Los Angeles.

 

Shannon is a defense attorney representing impoverished parents across Los Angeles, in child abuse and neglect cases for over seven years.

 

In 2013, Shannon released her first young adult fiction series, “Hope Defined” and “The Invisible” novels, and introduced two powerful girls – Hope and Dinah- who become superheroes and lead the world. Shannon’s story concepts and images address the absence of heroic minorities in books and movies. Shannon will release her second book series “Skin Trials” in October 2017, a fiction thriller about a privileged, young white woman who learns she is really black.

 

Shannon was named one of the National Bar Association’s Top Forty Under Forty Nation’s Best Advocates in 2015. She has worked on Capitol Hill for former Congressman Vic Snyder. Prior to college, she was named the Young Achiever of the Year by the Arkansas Martin Luther King Commission, interned for Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker, and interned for the Arkansas Martin Luther King Commissions. She was President of U of A’s Black Students Association in college. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and is a member of Los Angeles African-American Women’s Public Policy Institute (LAAAWPPI).

39th BWL President

Tami L. Warren

Tami L. Warren is a Deputy Public Defender for the County of Los Angeles and is currently assigned to the Airport Courthouse in Adult Felonies. Prior to joining the Public Defender’s Office in 2005, Ms. Warren was a Flight Attendant for Northwest Airlines and has visited all fifty states and travelled extensively around the world.

 

Ms. Warren holds a J.D. from the University Of West Los Angeles School Of Law, and a B.S. in Radio and Television from Texas A&M. She is the 2013-2014 President of Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Inc. She has to two dogs, Not Guilty and TJ Hooker, can be followed on both Facebook and Twitter and thinks 30 Rock is the greatest show ever written.

38th BWL President

Camille Townsend

Camille Townsend has been a practicing employment law attorney for nine years in both the private and public sector. She is Acting Executive Director within the L.A. County Board of Supervisors’ Executive Office. Previously, Camille worked as Deputy Executive Officer within the Executive Office, Deputy County Counsel for LA County, and she worked at a national labor & employment law firm. Camille completed her undergraduate work at Boston College and received her law degree at the University of Wisconsin.

 

Camille serves as President-Elect for the California Association of Black Lawyers and she is also a past president of BWL. In 2014, she was appointed to the State Bar’s Council on Access and Fairness. Camille has been recognized in many capacities, however, she is most proud of her accomplishments in receiving awards as Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Under 40, the Bruce F. Beilfuss Memorial Award for outstanding service to the University of Wisconsin Law School community, Vanguard Awards Los Angeles’ Most Influential African Americans, and “To the Nines” award from the Los Angeles Urban League Young Professionals for her outstanding community service.

37th BWL President

Samantha Grant

Samantha Grant is a partner at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP and Chair of the Firm’s Diversity Committee. She represents employers in labor and employment matters before state and federal administrative agencies as well as in arbitration and state and federal court.Ms. Grant was named as one of the “Most Powerful and Influential Women of California” by the California Diversity Council and one of “10 Up and Coming African American Lawyers to Watch” by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. The Daily Journal named her to its list of “Top Labor & Employment Lawyers in California,” “Top Women Litigators in California,” and “One to Watch” in the Labor and Employment field.

 

Ms. Grant is member of the Governing Council of the ABA’s Section of Labor and Employment Law, where she serves as Council Liaison to the Diversity in the Legal Profession and the Leadership Development Committees. Ms. Grant earned her Honors B.A. from the University of Toronto and her J.D. from UCLA School of Law.

36th BWL President

Sherri L. Cunningham

35th BWL President

Tangela Terry

It is my honor to have served as the 35th President of this illustrious organization. Prior to my appointment as President, I served on the Board of Directors in various capacities including Financial Secretary and Treasurer. I was named Outstanding Officer of the Year during the 2004-2005 bar year. I chaired the Cocktail Sip in 2006 and during my tenure as BWL President, I along with a few of my BWL sisters were sworn in before the United States Supreme Court.

 

I am a criminal defense attorney in private practice and I am committed to providing comprehensive legal representation to my clients regardless of their economic status. I am the immediate past chair of the Law Practice Management & Technology Section of the State Bar of California and was recently appointed to the Executive Committee of the Criminal Law Section of the State Bar of California.

34th BWL President

Hon. Yvette

D. Roland

On August 25, 2014, California Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins appointed Yvette D. Roland to the California State Bar Court’s Hearing Department in Los Angeles.Judge Roland was sworn in by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and began her six-year term with the California State Bar Court on November 6, 2014.

 

Before joining the bench, she was a partner at Duane Morris LLP, practicing in the areas of complex civil and commercial litigation, insurance coverage and employment law. She has been practicing law since 1987, serving as lead trial counsel on an array of cases including copyright infringement, trademark infringement, defamation, employment, environmental coverage and products liability. Judge Roland is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law.

33rd BWL President

Audrea J. Golding

Audrea J. Golding served as President of BWL Inc. from 2007 to 2008 and as President of the BWL Foundation from 2011 to 2013. Audrea is a Partner with Fragomen Worldwide, the world’s leading provider of immigration services. Audrea has served as a Member of the Board of Governors of the National Bar Association; as General Counsel (South) for the California Association of Black Lawyers; as former Chair of the State Bar of California’s Council on Access and Fairness; as Co-Chair of the Multicultural Bar Alliance of Southern California; and as a Member of the Staff Parish Relations Council of the First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica. Currently, she serves on the Toronto Region Board of Trade’s Economic Development Committee.

 

In 2011, Audrea was honored by the John M. Langston Bar Association as its “Lawyer of the Year” and by Super Lawyers magazine as a “Super Lawyer” in Immigration Law. In 2014, she was recognized by the American Bar Association’s Women Business & Commercial Advocates Committee. Audrea obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada and her Juris Doctor degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Canada.

32nd BWL President

Syna N. Dennis

Syna N. Dennis is a Principal Deputy County Counsel at the Los Angeles Office of the County Counsel, where she litigates a variety of cases for and provides legal advice to the Board of Supervisors of the County of Los Angeles and County departments. A native of Chicago, Illinois, Dennis received her B.A. in Political Science from UCLA. She attended UC Berkeley School of Law where, as part of Boalt Hall’s clinical law program, she taught landlord tenant and consumer law to high school seniors.

 

Dennis enthusiastically led BWL in its 32nd year of providing outstanding service to its members and the community. That year’s theme “Service Without Borders: Connecting Law & Community” honored Black Women Lawyers’ unique commitment to improving the status of women and children in our society. Dennis remains active in her alumnae association, and enjoys many outdoor activities, including cycling, skiing and jogging.

31st BWL President

Linda Rosborough

Linda R. Rosborough is a Deputy District Attorney in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, where she conducts difficult felony preliminary hearings and prosecutes felony cases.Linda is a past president of California Association of Black Lawyers (CABL). CABL, a statewide bar organization, represents 6,000 African American attorneys, judges, law professors and students. She is also a past president of Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Incorporated, a bar association with over 400 members including judges and elected officials. Linda has served on the board of the National Bar Association and the YLD Minorities in the Profession Committee of the American Bar Association.

 

Linda received a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from University of Southern California and a Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. She is licensed to practice law in California, the District of Columbia and the United States Supreme Court. Linda enjoys international travel and is an avid skier and marathon runner. Linda has completed ten Los Angeles Marathons and numerous half marathons.

30th BWL President

Sharon K. Brown

Sharon K. Brown, a native of Seattle, Washington, attended the University of Washington where she earned a B.A. in Business Administration. She then earned her J.D. from Stanford Law School. Since moving to Los Angeles, she has worked in a variety of settings including a federal agency, litigation boutiques, a corporation and a large law firm. She currently works at Bryan Cave LLP where she practices commercial litigation with a focus on representation of financial institutions.

 

Sharon has been active in Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Inc. (“BWL”) for approximately 20 years and it has been instrumental in her personal and professional development. In addition to having served as President of BWL, she has held leadership positions in various organizations including the National Bar Association (Board of Governors) and Los Angeles County Bar Association (Board of Trustees). She is currently a member of the Paralegal Advisory Board at West Los Angeles College and a volunteer with Reading to Kids.

nedra_29
29th BWL President

Needra Jenkins

Needra is energized by complexity and is not tied down to existing ways of doing things. Through the power of collaboration, she is able to harness the energy of teams to develop innovative solutions and link networks that leverage expertise. She has the unique ability to identify talent and ramp up varied teams quickly to solve complicated problems. Thorough research and stakeholder dialogue enable her to envision solutions that are implementable, and have measurable and positive outcomes. She is able to navigate bureaucratic environments because she understands organizational dynamics and systems.

 

She graduated from the University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in social science in four years. She obtained her law degree from the UCLA School of Law.

 

She has represented Los Angeles County’s Sheriff’s Department and its Departments of Mental Health, Children and Family Services, and Public Works. She served as in-house counsel to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority for eleven years where she tried complex employment and breach of contract construction cases. She has also served as the Executive Director, Los Angeles County Mental Health Diversion in the Office of the District Attorney.

 

From 2011-2015, she served as Chief of Staff and General Counsel to Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. There, she managed Second District staff of 40, with additional direct responsibility for shifting policy team assignments including human services, public safety, constituent services and legislation.

 

She is mom to three children, a daughter and boy-girl twins; a science fiction wonk, Scrabble aficionado, brave hiker, proud cook and avid reader.

28th BWL President

Adrienne

Konigar-Macklin

Adrienne Konigar-Macklin serves as the 28th President of BWL. Prior to serving as President, she served as a Member-At Large, Financial Secretary and Treasurer. During her presidency, BWL focused on the theme “Treasuring Our Past While Chartering Our Future”. Adrienne emphasized mentoring, protecting the educational rights of students, and capturing the history of BWL.She has been an education attorney for more than 25 years, and her passion is creating legally challenging instructional programs for urban school districts.

 

She has served as General Counsel for several urban school districts and was most recently appointed as the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources/General Counsel for Lynwood School District. She is an elected official and is serving her third term as a member of the Pomona Unified School District Board of Education. She was appointed by the State of California as an Administrative Law Judge in 2010. She is a graduate of the University of California Irvine and attended Dartmouth College. She is a graduate of U.C. Hastings College of Law and is licensed before the United States Supreme Court. She is a florist and mixed media artist known for her artistic awards for BWL and other organizations.

27th BWL President

Brenda J. Logan

Brenda J. Logan has been practicing law for over 20 years. She is the principal and owner of the Law Offices of Brenda J. Logan, P.C, and specializes in the areas of estate planning, probate, trust administration and elder law. Brenda graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a B.S. degree in Public Administration and obtained a Master in Business Administration from Georgetown University and Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center.

 

Brenda is a Lifetime Member and Past President (2001-2002) of the Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Inc. She is also a member of the State Bar of California and the Los Angeles County Bar Association. Brenda has become highly recognized and respected in her representation of individuals and families throughout the state of California. Brenda is a much sought after public speaker and conducts regular seminars and workshops on elder law and estate planning topics in the Southern California area. Brenda is also an active volunteer in her community and church.

26th BWL President

Nedra E. Austin

Nedra is a native of Los Angeles, CA, and is a graduate of the University of Southern California (USC) and Georgetown University Law Center. Nedra is currently Executive Director & Senior Counsel, Real Estate and Contracts for DineEquity, Inc., parent company to IHOP and Applebee’s Restaurants, in Glendale, CA.Nedra has practiced in the legal department of the Marriott Corporation and with the Law Offices of Mallory & Brown-Curtis in Los Angeles, CA. She was also a Deputy Attorney General in the Land Law section of California Department of Justice.

 

Nedra is a former president of Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Inc. (“BWL”), (2000-2001) and of the California Association of Black Lawyers (“CABL”), (2004-2005). She served on the CA State Bar’s Executive Committee, is currently on the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Real Property Section, and is an active member of the NBA, the ABA, Association of Corporate Counsel (“ACC”), Corporate Counsel Women of Color and the International Council of Shopping Centers. She holds lifetime memberships in CABL, BWL and John M. Langston Bar Association.

25th BWL President

Adrienne M. Byers

Adrienne M. Byers is a litigation attorney with the Los Angeles Office of the County Counsel who represents the LA County Department of Public Works and the LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. BWL entered the New Millenium under her 1999-2000 presidency, the theme of which was “And Still I Rise.” Adrienne emphasized grassroots outreach and community education during her year, working with civil rights attorney Connie Rice, who was on Adrienne’s Executive Board as a Member at Large, and a diversity of legislators, political leaders and bar associations.

 

A graduate of Loyola Law School, Adrienne holds the record for being the only law student to win three successive BWL scholarships. A former journalist, Adrienne is working on a novel and a collection of short stories, and ultimately aspires to write full-time.

24th BWL President

Katessa

Charles Davis

Ms. Davis resolves commercial and employment disputes, including unfair competition, trade secret, contract, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims. She defends corporate clients against claims brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, California Fair Employment and Housing Act, California Wage Orders, as well as other related federal and state statutes and regulations in state and federal courts.

 

Ms. Davis is a past President of the Los Angeles County Bar Foundation, a past Trustee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and a past President of the Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Inc. Ms. Davis has been recognized by the Jenesse Center, Inc. Champion of Justice Award (2013); Public Counsel Pro Bono Award (2012); Southern California Super Lawyers, Employment and Labor (2004-2015); and LA Focus Newspaper’s “Top Black Attorneys” List (2011).

23rd BWL President

Eulanda

Lynn Matthews

Eulanda Lynn Matthews is a Partner with Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt. She served as BWl’s 23rd President from 97-98. She was the first president to break with tradition by holding the first Installation Dinner co-chaired by past presidents Judge Marguerite Downing and Belinda Stith,Esq. The goal was to break even since the past Installation receptions were free, hosted by BWL. The event actually made money. Currently, the BWL Installation and Awards Dinners have grown and along with the Cocktail Sip provide funding for the many outreach programs sponsored by BWL.

 

Past President Matthews also has the distinction of being the only past president to have a “Triple Crown” having served as president of BWL, CABL and Langston Bar Associations. She was named Outstanding Women of the Year for the 47th State Assembly District in 2002 by then California State Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson, Jr. More recently in 2014 she was honored by L.A. High School Alumni Association for Excellence in the Law. She is an avid runner and has completed 9 consecutive L.A. Marathons.

22nd BWL President

Patsy J. Cobb

Pasty J. Cobb served as the 22nd president of Black Women Lawyers. Her legal career started as a solo civil practice, followed by practice with several legal services agencies, including Legal Assistance to the Elderly in San Francisco, and Legal Services of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas. In 1986, she joined the Office of the Chief Trial Counsel of the State Bar of California as a prosecutor of attorney discipline and regulatory cases.

 

The area of Legal Ethics and Regulation became her specialty, and in 1990, she transferred to the State Bar Court as Court Counsel. She was later promoted to Chief Assistant Court Counsel, and also served as a Judge Pro Tem in the State Bar Court. In 2005, Ms. Cobb returned to the Office of the Chief Trial Counsel as Deputy Chief Trial Counsel, and served until her retirement in 2012. She is currently a Broker Associate at Coldwell Banker Gene Armstrong, Inc. and was Agent-of-Year in 2014.

21st BWL President

Hon. Marguerite

D. Downing

Judge Downing served as President of Black Women Lawyers from 1994-1995. Prior to becoming President, Judge Downing served as Vice President, Treasurer and Financial Secretary of the organization in addition to chairing and serving on numerous committees. At the time of her presidency, she was a deputy public defender with the Los Angeles Public Defender’s Office. Appointed in 2007 to the Los Angeles Superior Court, Judge Downing presides over dependency cases at the Edelman Children’s Court.

 

Judge Downing chairs the Incarcerated Parents Working Group for Los Angeles County. She is also vice chair of the State Bar of California Council on Access and Fairness (COAF) and serves as an advisor to the Criminal Law Section Executive Committee. At the time of her appointment as judge in 2007, she was Vice President of the State Bar Board of Governors and chair of the statewide Taskforce on Attorney Civility. She is also a past president the California Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) and California Women Lawyers (CWL).

20th BWL President

Hon. Carol

D. Codrington

Justice Carol D. Codrington is an associate justice with the California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division Two, the first African American justice appointed to this position. Justice Codrington is a member of CJA, NAJW, IWJ and a past-president and life member of BWL, CABL and John M. Langston Bar Associations, a member of RCBA, a Judicial Master and current President of the Leo E. Deegan Inn of Court.

 

Justice Codrington attended the prestigious Sir Richard May Seminar on International Law and International Courts, in The Hague, Netherlands. Awards include Employment Roundtable’s Leadership Award, William L. Strickland Excellence Award, Judicial Officer of the Year Award, Bernard S. Jefferson Jurist of the Year Award, Judge Elwood Rich Outstanding Jurist Award, Leadership in Jurisprudence Award, Richard T. Fields Bar Association Jurist of the Year Award, and was recently named one of 50 Inspirational Alumni of Loyola Law School.

19th BWL President

Patricia A. Shade

barbara-18
18th BWL President

Hon. Barbara

R. Johnson

The Honorable Barbara R. Johnson was appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal Court by Governor Pete Wilson in 1993 and elevated to the Superior Court by unification in 2000. She currently sits in the Appellate Division of the Los Angeles Superior Court deciding writ petitions and appeals of limited jurisdiction civil causes of action and misdemeanor convictions. Prior to her assignment to the Appellate Division she presided over misdemeanor and felony trials.

 

She attended Yale University as an undergrad and earned her J.D. from California Western School of Law.

 

Prior to becoming a Judge, she was a sole practitioner with offices in the City of Inglewood. There she represented clients in probate, landlord-tenant, and family law matters. She also represented criminal defendants in misdemeanor and felony matters. In 1985 she became a Deputy City Attorney for the City of Inglewood, eventually promoting to Assistant City Attorney for the same city before she was appointed to the Municipal Court.

 

Judge Johnson is an active member of the California Judges Association, California Association of Black Lawyers Judicial Section, Langston Bar Association and a life member and past president of the Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Inc. She has served on several committees of BWL and especially enjoys participating in community action activities of the bench and bar. She mentors young attorneys and is often seen contributing her time and energy on the campuses of middle schools and high schools encouraging students. She has been recognized for her community contributions by El Camino College, the National Bar Association’s Women’s Division, and in 2016, she was inducted into Langston Bar Association’s Hall of Fame.

 

She is an active member of her church, has been married for over 35 years and is the proud mother of a son, a lawyer and a daughter, a manager at a local tax firm.

17th BWL President

Hon. Patricia

J. Titus

On March 7, 2000, the voters determined that Judge Patricia J. Titus was, “The Right Choice for Justice,” and elected her to the bench. Since that time, Judge Titus has held a number of assignments, including Felony Trial at the Criminal Justice Center. She has been assigned to Department 6 of the Inglewood Superior Court for the past 6 years where she conducts hearings on requests for Domestic Violence Restraining Orders as well as presides over the Drug Court.

 

Prior to her election, Judge Titus enjoyed a 15-year career as a top level trial attorney with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office where she prosecuted domestic violence cases and baby homicides. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and her J.D. from the UCLA School of Law.Judge Titus served as the 17th President of BWL from 1992-1993. During her Presidency, membership swelled to over 300, BWL became an affiliate of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the Cocktail Sip moved from the Ambassador Hotel to the Century Plaza.

16th BWL President

Hon. Brenda

Johns Penny

I joined BWL in mid-1983 and served as President of BWL from 1991-1992. Later, I served as President of BWL Foundation. The Foundation was established in 1992 during my presidency. During my term, the killing of La Tasha Harlins and the controversial sentencing of her killer in 1991 required action by BWL. Our voice was heard throughout the community about the important issues raised in this case.The verdict in the Rodney King beating resulted in the civil unrest of April 1992. During this period, we provided a multitude of services to our City and our Community.

 

The events of 1991-92 also provided BWL with the opportunity to forge new relationships with other organizations as we continued to build on existing relationships. Initially, I was in private practice. In 1997 I joined the Court as a Probate Attorney and later became the Assistant Supervising Probate Attorney. In July 2014, was elected to be a Court Commissioner. I continue to be a member of BWL through which I established numerous lifelong friendships.

EJeanGary
15th BWL President

E. Jean Gary

Vera-Brown-Curtis
14th BWL President

Vera Brown-Curtis

Vera Brown-Curtis, as she was known in 1989, was the 14th President of BWL.  During her presidency, she reinforced our strong support for The Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law, an organization co-founded by BWL.  She was passionate about defending the legal rights of underserved African Americans.  Vera received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Fisk University, her Master of Science degree in Education from Michigan State University, and her Juris Doctor from Whittier College of Law.  She practiced criminal law, probate, and family law.  She co-founded the Law Offices of Mallory & Curtis-Brown.

 

She became a BWL member in 1982 and helped establish the BWL Foundation, the charitable arm which awards scholarships to deserving law students.  Vera continued to be a very active BWL member through her untimely death in 2011.  In 2009, Vera married Freddie Hayes, who became a part of the BWL family.  In 2000, as BWL celebrated its 25th Anniversary, Vera stated that she was a number one fan of BWL and its programs.  She is number one with us, and we miss her dearly!

13th BWL President

Belinda D. Stith

Belinda D. Stith is Chief Education and Litigation Counsel, Office of General Counsel, Los Angeles Unified School District. Ms. Stith has been a lawyer with the District for twenty nine years (29) years. She currently leads the Education Legal Services Team representing the District in a variety of education law matters. Ms. Stith also serves as the District Legal Consultant on threat assessment and threat management issues.Ms. Stith was president of Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Inc. (BWL) in 1988-89, our thirteenth president in 14 years. It was a time of strong coalition building with other community and legal organizations. BWL built a strong financial base by cultivating corporate support. This has continued over the years.

 

Ms. Stith is also past president of the California Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) and a two term Vice President of the National Bar Association (NBA). Ms. Stith is a life member of BWL and a life member of the NBA. Ms. Stith is also a member of the Los Angeles Chapter of Links, Incorporated. She also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. Ms. Stith received her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and a Master of Science in Education from the University of Southern California. She received her Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School. A native of Los Angeles, Ms. Stith is a graduate of Dorsey High School.

12th BWL President

Hon. Glenda Veasey

Glenda Veasey is a native of Detroit, Michigan. In 1981, she received her Juris Doctorate and Masters of Business Administration degrees from the University of Southern California, and was admitted to the California Bar at the age of 23. She began practicing as an associate of the firm of Atkins, Evans & Widener in Los Angeles. Thereafter, she entered private practice, and later worked as a Deputy Los Angeles City Attorney, and as a civil defense attorney with Wright, Robinson, McCammon, Osthimer & Tatum, and later Early, Maslach & Price. In 1999, she was elected as a Commissioner of the Los Angeles Superior Court, and she continues to work in that capacity to date. She is assigned to Family Law, and sits in Torrance.

 

Glenda served as President of the Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles for the 1987-1988 year, and as President of the Langston Bar Association for the 1988 year. She is the only person to serve as President of both organizations concurrently. Glenda has served on numerous boards and commissions throughout her legal career, including serving on the JNE Commission, the State Bar Board of Governors, the California Women Lawyers Board, the CABL Board, the National Bar Association Board, and the Judicial Council of California. She is married, and has one son.

11th BWL President

Carla

Durham Pittman

Carla Durham Pittman, Senior Counsel for Baxalta US Inc., a subsidiary of Baxter International Inc., is a senior member of the Transactions Law Team supporting Baxter’s biopharmaceutical business in Clinical, Medical Affairs, Manufacturing, Global Sourcing and Procurement. She is Global coordinator of legal support for the above areas, providing general legal advice and negotiating development, manufacturing, supply, distribution, licensing and clinical agreements for Baxter.

 

In addition to her current position, Ms. Pittman has served on numerous boards and community organizations including Los Angeles Chapter of the Links, Incorporated, Los Angeles Charitable Trust, Echo Horizon School Board of Trustees, Past President of Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Inc., and Foundation (BWL), and is a Life Member of the National Bar Association, Langston Bar Association and BWL. Ms. Pittman has a BA degree from Northwestern University, JD degree from Howard University School of Law and is a member of the California State Bar.

10th BWL President

Rev. Hermia

Shegog-Whitlock, JD

Hermia Shegog Whitlock earned a Bachelor of Science degree, Northwestern University, Evanston IL and a Doctor of Law degree, University of Chicago Law School, Chicago IL. She was employed as an associate at majority law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Loeb and Loeb; taught at UCLA School of Law; was invited to the partnership of Jackson & Associates; and retired from practice as senior counsel for Northrop Grumman Corporation.

 

During her legal career, Whitlock served as BWL President 1985-1986; and as a Trustee, Los Angeles County Bar Association. Acknowledging her call to the ministry, the African Methodist Episcopal Church ordained Rev. Whitlock in October 2010, and she is now works with her husband of 31 years, Rev. Mark E. Whitlock, Jr. as Chief Operations Officer, Christ Our Redeemer AME Church, Irvine and COR Community Development Corporation. Finally, she is also a lead singer and liturgical dance minister.

9th BWL President

Diane Spencer Shaw

joan
8th BWL President

Joan Whiteside Green*

Joan, a criminal defense and family law attorney, has been described by her peers as a “dynamic, no-nonsense, powerful presence” in Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Inc. Not only was she an excellent trial attorney, she had stellar organizational skills and was masterful at planning events. Joan also had a wonderful sense of humor and was a dedicated mentor.

 

Joan’s community involvement spans many years and organizations. In addition to BWL, Joan was active in several other organizations including the California Association of Black Lawyers, where she served as President. She was also active in the National Bar Association where she served as Region Nine Director and Chief of Staff/General Counsel. She was active in many NBA Committees and Divisions including the Women’s Division, Criminal Law Section, Family Law Section, and Solo Practice Section. She was a panelist on many subjects including “How to Make Money Practicing Law,” several criminal law panels, and “How to Become Bond Counsel and get into the Red Book”. Joan chaired the Gertrude Rush/Mid Year Conference, created an all pink souvenir booklet and helped NBA net over $40,000.

 

Joan was also a longtime member of the Angel City Chapter of the Links, Inc. She was presented as a Links Debutante in High School. Joan was also a longtime member of the Lullabye Guild.

 

Joan graduated from Cal State LA and Whittier College School of Law before being installed as the 8th President of BWL for the 1983-1984 term.

7th BWL President

Mablean Ephriam

Mablean Ephriam entered the homes of America’s families as Judge Mablean after years of work as a Los Angeles Prosecutor and owner of her private practice, and from her seven year run as the judge on the FOX television show, Divorce Court, to her newest show, Justice With Judge Mablean, her ability to offer justice has catapulted change in families and brought her purpose of service to the world.Her numerous organizational leadership roles, such as, President of from BWL 1982-1983 and opening the Family Law Center on 76th & Central Ave (now Harriet Buhai Center) have brought her much joy.

 

The ability to provide free legal services to indigent women who were victims of domestic violence, has been fueled by her passion and care for others. Judge Mablean’s commitment to the publication of BWL Newsletter; and the Community Action Committee, distributing food baskets to needy families at Thanksgiving has remained strong and focused. Her 501 (c)(3) non-profit, the Mablean Ephriam Foundation, whose mission is to strengthen families, educate minds, financially empower the residents of the impoverished communities of Los Angeles County.

6th BWL President

Hon. Beverly E. Mosley

Katherine-Vaughns-Photo
5th BWL President

Katherine L. Vaughns

In 1980, Katherine Tooks, as she was known at that time, became the 5th President of BWL. During her presidency, BWL provided more legal education programs and increased our efforts to raise money for scholarships for law students. Kathy received her Bachelor’s degree and Juris Doctor from UC Berkeley. In Los Angeles, she worked as a U.S. Attorney for the Central District. She moved to Baltimore, Maryland to teach. For the last thirty years of her life she was a law professor at the University of Maryland Cary School of Law, teaching immigration law and policy, complex litigation, and remedies.

 

She was nationally recognized in the field of immigration law and was an expert in complex litigation. Kathy served on the Board of The Maryland Film Festival and loved stage productions. She also served
on the Board of The Center Stage and supported many small local theaters. She passed away on May 4, 2013, due to pancreatic cancer.

 

We will always remember Kathy as a dedicated and hard working BWL member.

4th BWL President

Hon. Veronica

S. McBeth

Veronica S. McBeth retired as an active judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court in 2004. She has received Judge of the Year Awards from the John Langston Bar Association and the California Association of Black Lawyers. She was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame of the John Langston Bar Association. Judge McBeth has received the Community Service Award from the Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law, the Distinguished Service Award from the National Center for State Courts and a Woman of the Year Award from the Los Angeles Commission on Women.

 

She is past Chair/President of many organizations including the National Bar Association’s Judicial Council, the Municipal Court Judges Association of the Los Angeles County, and Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles. Judge McBeth received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law in 1975. She served as a member of the Law Review and as editor-in-chief of the Black Law Journal.

3rd BWL President

Shirley

A. Henderson

I was elected, in August, 1978, in our 4th year of existence, the 3rd President of Black Women Lawyers (then Black Women Lawyers of Southern California) Our 2nd President, Irma Brown (now Judge) was our only two term President. In 1978, we also elected our first President-Elect. Our 3rd Retreat was held on July 22, 1978, at the Marina City Club. Patti Jo McKay(now Judge), the Deputy Legal Affaires Secretary to Governor Jerry Brown, was our luncheon speaker.

 

Our 4th Annual Cocktail Sip was held at he Close Encounters, now a gas station parking lot on Imperial and Crenshaw. We presented our scholarship recipients at the Sip. Our Scholarship Fundraiser Dance, a black tie formal affair, was held as the University Hilton, now the USC Hilton. I graduated from Jordan High School in Watts, CA; UCLA, and Loyola Law School. I am celebrating 41 years as a criminal defense attorney.

2nd BWL President

Hon. Irma Brown

A Los Angeles native, Irma J. Brown, is the only daughter born to the late Reverend William A. Brown and Irma Brown of Arkansas. She attended Samuel Gompers Junior High School and David Star Jordan High School in Watts.The first African-American student body president at Loyola Marymount University, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, and continued her education at Loyola University School of Law, where she received a Juris Doctor in 1973. She was a partner of Hudson, Sandoz, and Brown and as a staff attorney with the Greater Watts Justice Center of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. She represented neglected, abused and abandoned children in the dependency system and the delinquency side of the court.

 

She began her judicial career as Commissioner of Compton Municipal Court in 1982. In 1986, Governor George Deukmejian appointed Irma J. Brown to the bench; making her the first woman ever appointed as a Judge to the Compton Municipal Court.. She is currently the Supervising Judge of the Juvenile Delinquency Court in Inglewood. Recognized for her contributions by the Sarah Allen Women’s missionary Society of the First African Methodist Church of Los Angeles and Alumna of the year by both Jordan High School and Loyola Marymount University. Judge Brown is also a Member of the Board of Trustees for Loyola Marymount University and former university regent.

1st BWL President

Sandra L. Carter

*Deceased