Black Women Lawyers' Association
August 2019 Newsletter
August 7, 2019 | Volume 2
"You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it." -Maya Angelou
Service Spotlight
Bud Billiken Parade

On August 10th, BWLA will be marching in the Bud Billiken Parade. Every summer since 1929, "The Bud" has united the South Side of Chicago through music, dance, food, and laughter.

Come with your family and friends and "wave your BWLA flags" high to inspire and support our South Side youth.

Saturday, August 10th
Parade: 10:00 am - 1:30 pm
Festival: 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm

If you want to march, we will be meeting in the White Castle parking lot at 35th and King Drive at 9:00 am. BWLA is #174 in the parade. Our entry point to enter for check-in is at 33rd & King Drive. We must check-in at 10:00 am!

Parade participants are encouraged to wear BWLA's t-shirt; you can purchase one for $25 (and arrange a pick-up) by emailing Kalia Coleman at T-shirts will also be available for sale at the parade.

To RSVP for the parade, click here. Remember to use #BWLAImpact and #BWLAatBudBilliken when you post pictures of the event on social media!

We will also be distributing school supplies at the the BWLA School Supply Booth. So please donate to this cause! You can arrange school supply drop-offs by contacting Kalia Coleman at (Loop), Chastidy Burns at (Little Village), or Drahcir Smith at (Loop).

In addition, you can make monetary donations via PayPal, Zelle, or Quickpay to
Announcements, Achievements, and Employment Opportunities
Employment Opportunities
The United States Attorney Office for the Northern District of Illinois is accepting applications for Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) openings in their Criminal Division in Rockford, Illinois. Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction), and have at least 2 years of post-J.D. experience. Applicants should have excellent academics, significant litigation experience, criminal law experience, strong legal writing skills, and a demonstrated commitment to public service. Application deadline: Thursday, September 5, 2019.
SmithAmundsen LLC is seeking a junior to mid-level Litigation Associate to join the firm’s Chicago office. Candidate must be licensed in Illinois (and Indiana, preferred) and have a minimum of 2 years’ experience in civil litigatio n. General responsibilities include: representing clients in all aspects of litigation including court hearings and conferences, performing all aspects of oral and written discovery; conducting extensive legal research; drafting pleadings, motions, memoranda of law, client reports, affidavits, engaging in active motion practice in both state and federal court, including drafting motions for summary judgment, and motions to dismiss; and conducting fact investigation/development. Strong analytical abilities, excellent communication skills, and the ability to work well on a team are required. Submit a cover letter, resume, law school transcript and two writing samples to Please refer to Job No. CHI19JL in your cover letter.
Earthjustice is accepting applications for three Staff Attorneys to join our growing team of lawyers who work to advance clean energy across the country and accelerate a shift from dirty fossil fuels. The position will focus on litigation and legal advocacy before regulatory bodies, such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and state public utility commissions; and in the courts, in support of a transition to clean, affordable, and reliable energy. There is a strong preference that the positions be based in our Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia, PA; or Chicago, IL offices. Candidates should be lawyers with at least six years of litigation experience and capable of leading litigation. Candidates interested in this role should submit a resume, cover letter, legal writing sample, and 3 professional references through the link above. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. 
The Chicago Transit Authority is looking for a Chief Attorney - Labor & Employment. This position represents the CTA in employment litigation, labor arbitrations, and administrative matters. Candidates should have a J.D. degree from an accredited school of law and should be licensed to practice law in Illinois, plus seven years of experience as a practicing attorney, of which three years of experience was spent specializing in employment law, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
The City of Chicago Law Department is seeking an attorney for the position of Assistant Corporation Counsel in its Torts Division. They will be in either the personal injury defense or workers' compensation practice area. Application should be submitted by August 16, 2019.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois is currently accpeting applications for Operations Specialists. Applications will be accepted through August 6, 2019.
Judge Ingram of the Fourth Municipal District Courthouse is seeking a judicial law clerk. The duties involve respond to inquiries from judges, legal research, and writing briefs when required. The clerk will be an employee of Cook County with all benefits and they will work under the auspices of the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois is seeking a Temporary Pro Se Law Clerk. This position provides legal research and assistance to the court in connection with prisoner petitions and complaints. The applicant must be a law school graduate; must be a member of a state bar; and have at least one year of legal work experience.
Tyler Law Offices P.C. is looking for Associate Attorneys to practice in their litigation law firm. Their focus is on personal injury litigation, but they do some work with bankruptcy and federal civil rights lawsuits. Recent graduates and/or attorneys that have been admitted to the Illinois Bar are encouraged to reach out for more information.

Law Student Opportunities
Consistent with the firm’s commitment to fostering and supporting diversity in the legal profession, Bartlit Beck has established the Bartlit Beck Diversity Fellowship. The Fellowship will be awarded to third-year law students who have demonstrated a commitment to diversity in the legal profession and have secured a federal judicial clerkship. The six-week term of the fellowship will take place between the Fellow’slaw school graduation and the commencement of the clerkship. Fellows will receive (1) a six-week paid summer Fellowship with the firm,
(2) reimbursement for bar examination preparation course expenses, and (3) an additional $30,000 stipend. The Fellowship position will be part time, providing opportunity to study for the bar exam. Selection as a Fellow does not create any obligation concerning future employment with the firm.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. To apply, please email the following materials to Mark Ferguson

  • Resume
  • Law school transcript
  • Personal statement of approximately 500-1000 words that describes your interest in and qualifications for the Fellowship
  • Two professional or academic references
The Diversity Scholarship Foundation has a series of scholarships for law students: the Jerold S. Solovy Diversity Scholarship Award, the Public Interest Advocate Scholarship Award, the Leaders & Achievers Scholarship Award, the LSAT Scholarship Award, the Disabled Law Student Scholarship Award, and the Bar Exam Preparation Scholarship. The deadline to apply is September 15th!
BWLA Honors
Kalia Coleman was selected to join the Chicago Bar Foundation's Young Professionals Board! The CBF Young Professionals Board is a group of young attorneys and other professionals working in related fields who are dedicated to helping the Chicago Bar Foundation further its mission of improving access to justice for people in need and making the legal system more fair and efficient for everyone.

Congratulations Madame President on this incredible honor!
Erica Kirkwood was named as a top executive leader! Diversity MBA, a national leadership organization integrating diversity and inclusion with talent management, named Erica as one of their "top 100 under 50 emerging and executive leaders with advanced degrees." Erica, who is the VP and General Counsel for GMA Construction Group, was named in the Executive Leaders category. These honorees represent outstanding achievement in community, leadership, and education.

Well deserved Erica!
Nakhia Morrissette and Elsa Andrianifahanana were named as 2020 IMPACT Fellows with the Chicago Urban League! The Chicago Urban League has elected 39 emerging leaders for the 2020 cohort of its IMPACT Leadership Development Program, an intensive nine-month program that helps African-American professionals advance in their careers while building a more diverse pipeline of leaders across Chicago. Nakhia is Regulatory Counsel & Midwest Region Director, State Affairs at Solar Energy Industries Association. Elsa is an Associate at Jones Day.

Congratulations Ladies!
Victoria Watkins was recently named as the Chief of Staff to the Chairman and Co-CEO, John Rogers, at Ariel Investments! Victoria will lead efforts to execute the agenda and priorities of the firm from a civic and financial engagement perspective. Prior to joining Ariel Investments, Victoria worked for the City of Chicago in the Office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Congratulations Victoria!
Renai Rodney was recently named as the First Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago's Department of Law! Renai will assist the City's Corporation Counsel in the overall management and direction of the Department of Law's legal and administrative operations.

Congratulations Renai!
Tiffany Harper was recently named as the First Deputy Treasurer and Chief of Staff for the City of Chicago! Tiffany is tasked with managing staff, day-to-day operations, and strategic direction for the Office of the City of Chicago Treasurer and more than $7 billion of public funds.

Join us in congratulating Tiffany!
Ngozi Okorafor was recently named as the Director of Employment Actions for the Cook County Sherrif's Department!
Ngozi will lead the proactive facilitation and compliance with state and federal employment laws, as well as provide direction to the Sheriff's Office on employment actions relating to hiring, promotions, transfers, and appeals.

Congrats Ngozi!
BWLA founding member, Judge Ann Claire Williams (retired), was recently inducted into the National Bar Association's Fred David Gray Hall of Fame. This honor is given to lawyers whose courage, intellectual accomplishments, professional achievements, and community contributions deserve the highest recognition. It is, thus, no surprise that Judge Williams has been given this prestigious honor. She has been a pioneer and invaluable colleague within the legal community.

Join us in congratulating Judge Williams on this tremendous honor!
BWLA member, Sheree Henry, was appointed as a Circuit Judge of Cook County by a unanimous decision of the Illinois Supreme Court. Judge Henry will be sworn in on August 2, 2019. Please join us in celebrating her on this momentous day!

Congratulations Judge!