December 2020 Newsletter
President's Message
Greetings BWLA Members, Sponsors, and Friends,

Can you believe we are near the end of 2020 and that the next time I address you will be in the year 2021?! The fall months have flown by!

It goes without saying that this has been a year like no other. Many of us are exhausted, anxious, feeling isolated, grieving, and just trying to hold it together. There is no shame in acknowledging what you are feeling, because it is real and I promise you are not alone.

While Thanksgiving may have looked different for you this year, I hope that you took the time to slow down, recharge, and reflect on all that you have to be thankful for despite the circumstances caused by the pandemic. One of the many things I am thankful for is you--yes, you! BWLA has the most incredible membership and supporters who have helped us to have a successful bar year despite all of our events being virtual.

This past November, the Scholarship Fund Board hosted our annual Sips for Scholarships fundraiser event and it was AWESOME! Attendance was great, we awarded $10,000 in scholarships, all silent auction items were sold, attendees enjoyed wine and food from our vendor, sommeliers led lively and informative wine tastings, and most importantly--the event raised the necessary funds to continue providing scholarships and grants to deserving law students! Sips was such a fun, or as the youngsters say, LIT event!

In addition to awarding scholarships to deserving law students, the Law Student Outreach Committee hosted our annual Law Student Exam Writing and Research Workshop. I am many years removed from law school, yet I still walked away with useful nuggets after listening to the law school professors' insightful presentations.

Last month, BWLA also served the Chicagoland community. The Community Service and Outreach Committee spread holiday cheer and love by delivering a pre-Thanksgiving meal to women and children at a domestic violence crisis center. The committee also continued its partnership with the Salvation Army's Robert Stern Red Shield Center to gather gifts for children through the Angel Giving Tree. See the details below on how you can contribute to the Angel Tree until December 11th!

I am so proud of the time and effort that BWLA members and supporters are putting in to be a blessing during this challenging holiday season. BWLA could not support our community without the generosity of our supporters. How fitting that today is #Giving Tuesday--if you are interested in contributing to BWLA's Scholarship Fund and helping us to continue to be impactful in the community, please consider donating here.

As 2020 comes to a close, I encourage each of you to allow yourself and others grace during these unprecedented times. I am excited for 2021 and sincerely hope it brings joy, prosperity, and new beginnings for us all.

Happy Holidays! I will catch up with you in 2021!

Kenyatta S. Beverly
2020-2021 BWLA President

Today is #GivingTuesday
#GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world.

Every act of charity counts. Your continued generosity allows BWLA to make a positive impact on the community.
Donate to BWLA's Scholarship Fund Board today to help us make an impact on the lives of minority law students in the Greater Chicagoland area.
Upcoming Events
Virtual Fall Mentoring Dinner

Please join BWLA as we host our annual Fall Mentoring Dinner. This virtual networking event will provide attendees an opportunity to mingle with accomplished government and public interest legal professionals and learn how they attained success in their careers.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Must RSVP by December 3rd at noon.

BWLA would like to thank Winston & Strawn LLP for hosting this virtual event.

Register here!
Virtual Career Services Workshop

Monday December 7, 2020 6pm-8pm
Please Donate to the Salvation Army's Angel Giving Tree

BWLA's Community Service and Outreach Committee is partnering with the Salvation Army's Robert Stern Red Shield Center to purchase gifts for children in need who reside in Englewood.

If you are interested in helping to make the holiday season a bit brighter for these children, please visit BWLA's personalized Angel Tree webpage here and create an account. Next, choose an Angel from the Virtual Tree that you would like to adopt.

Gifts may be purchased in-store or online, and delivered to the Adele and Robert Stern Red Shield Center at 945 West 69th Street, Chicago, IL 60521. Please contact the Center at (773) 358-3200 if you would like to schedule an in-person gift drop off.

This program will run through December 11th, and the Center must receive all gifts by December 12th.

If you have any questions contact Weeya Young ( or Sharon Ferguson (
Virtual Holiday Joint Mixer "Honoring Justice Shelvin Louise Marie Hall"

Please join BWLA, BMLA, CCBA, and the IJC on December 16, 2020 at 6:00 pm, for an evening of celebration, networking, and fun as our organizations mix and mingle this holiday season! Keep an eye on our social media as we will soon share the ingredients for our signature drinks for the evening. A mixologist will be walking us through mixing delicious drinks.

Also, attendees will receive a 15% discount on the date of the event on food purchased at Eleven | Eleven, Frontier, Good Life Soul Food Cafe, and Norman's Bistro when they mention promo code: JOINT MIXER.

Tickets are $15 and all proceeds will benefit local charities. Please purchase your ticket here today!
Past Events
Sips for Scholarships 2020

The BWLA Scholarship Fund Board was proud to present its signature event, Sips for Scholarships, in a brand new virtual format on Thursday, November 12 2020.

Sips was a BLAST! The virtual wine-tasting was led by fun and knowledgeable sommeliers, all auction items were sold, and BWLA awarded 10 law students with Fall Book Scholarships!

A special thank you to our wonderful host Gaynor Hall, our wine partner Uvae Kitchen and Wine Bar, and Brandon Alexander Williams for sharing his talent with us during the event.
Law Student Exam Writing and Research Workshop

On November 21, 2020, BWLA's Law Student Outreach Committee hosted a virtual Exam Writing and Research Workshop.

We are incredibly grateful for Professor Sacha Coupet, Attorney Vy'Shaey Mitchell, and Professor Karen Shaw spending their Saturday morning with law students and providing them with the tools to be successful during their exams and law school.
Pre-Thanksgiving Meal for Women and Children at Domestic Violence Center

On November 7, 2020, the BWLA Community Service and Outreach Committee delivered a pre-Thanksgiving meal to women and children at a Chicagoland domestic violence center. Many thanks to Co-Chairs Sharon Ferguson and Weeya Young for delivering the food!

This is just another example of the many ways that BWLA supports not only law students and attorneys, but also the Chicagoland community.
Employment Opportunities
BWLA recently added the following employment opportunities to the BWLA Job Board:

  • Trial Attorney at the United States Department of Justice Immigrant and Employee Rights

Current opportunities, including the positions identified above, can be found here.

BWLA updates employment opportunities on our website ( bi-monthly.

Email a direct weblink for all employment opportunities to

Events Around Town
Circuit Judge
Induction Ceremony

December 7, 2020 at 11:00 am

Celebrate the swearing in of Cook County Circuit judges by attending the virtual ceremony here.
Diversity Scholarship Foundation's Unity Gala and Awards Ceremony

We invite you to join us virtually at the 18th Annual Unity Gala and Swearing-in Ceremony of Bar Presidents. At this event we will present awards to judges and attorneys in our community who have advocated for and promoted diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. We will also award 21 scholarships to diverse and deserving law students throughout the Seventh Circuit. In addition, Chief Judge Timothy Evans will be administering the DSF's Oath of Unity to the bar presidents present.

This event is a celebration of diversity and inclusion in our legal community. Please visit our website to learn more about this event and explore our sponsorship opportunities.

December 8, 2020

5 p.m. Virtual Networking Reception

6 p.m. Program Commences

BWLA Member Achievements
Congratulations to BWLA Scholarship Fund Board Member Samya Abdela on her new position as in-house counsel at Sony Pictures Entertainment!
Congratulations to Rhandi Childress Anderson on her new position as Corporate Counsel - Employment at Adtalem Global Education!
Congratulations to BWLA Past President Chasity Boyce on her new position as Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at Barings!
Congratulations to Candace Jackson-Akiwumi on joining Zuckerman Spaeder LLP as a Partner!
BWLA Member Spotlight
Brandan Matthews

JD-MBA Candidate
Northwestern University

Director of Strategic Planning
Brandan shares why BWLA matters to him:

"BWLA is family to me. I was first introduced to BWLA as I watched my sister expand her leadership skills by joining the executive board. By attending events such as the annual fundraiser and various panels, I have had the chance to meet giants in the legal field. I have been inspired by both the service and ambition, which every single member exhibits. Over the years, BWLA has celebrated the accomplishments of Black women and men as they receive recognition for their work and has utilized its network to ensure the stability of the Chicago Black legal community and community at large.
BWLA has been instrumental to my career pursuits. I have been involved in BWLA since I considered applying to law school. The more Black women lawyers I spoke to, the more I realized the diversity of professional opportunities available after law school. Once in law school, BWLA helped propel my success by hosting professional and exam writing workshops and sharpening my resume. BWLA also awarded me the Fall Book Scholarship and the Spring Scholarship during my first year of law school. In both of my summers interning at Chicago law firms, BWLA members have helped me acclimate to my environment. I cannot thank BWLA enough for its contribution to my life. I am eternally grateful for this organization."
2020 BWLA Fall Book Scholarship Awardees!
Tomide Owolabi
Northwestern Pritzker School of Law 2L
Metenjay Sheriff
UIC John Marshall Law School
Cristal Nova
Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Cymone Forde
UIC John Marshall Law School
Alana Reyes Jones
UIC John Marshall Law School
Tamiko Russell
UIC John Marshall Law School
Jaylin McClinton
Chicago-Kent School of Law
Alexandria Pollard
UIC John Marshall Law School
Kerease Epps
Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Sabrina Joslyn
DePaul University College of Law
T.E.A. Director's Institute
BWLA is now accepting applications for the 2021-2022 T.E.A. Director's Institute leadership program!

The mission of T.E.A. (Train, Excel, Appoint) is to assist seasoned attorneys with raising their profile and preparing for roles as Directors on city, county, state, federal, non-profit and corporate boards. 

Please click the link below to view the application and apply. The deadline is January 8, 2021

Email completed applications to BWLADirectorsInstitute@gmail.

About the T.E.A. Director's Institute

The BWLA T.E.A. (Train, Excel, Appoint) Directors Institute is a leadership development program designed to assist seasoned attorneys with raising their profiles and preparing for roles as Directors of city, county, state, federal, nonprofit and corporate boards.

Founded by BWLA Past President Erica Kirkwood, this program focuses on increasing the presence of female attorneys of color on the boards of government entities, nonprofits, and private and publicly traded companies through intimate, interactive panels, lectures, skills-based workshops, and a networking reception. Program sessions will train Fellows in the areas of networking, resume writing, brand management, emotional intelligence, finance, business, corporate governance, and ethics. 

Applications are now being accepted for the ACLU of Illinois Women's and Reproductive Rights Project ("WRRP") Legal Fellowship.

This is a one-year fellowship to advance access to reproductive health care and gender justice, including strategic litigation to enforce Illinois’ groundbreaking Reproductive Health Act, which protects access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion.

WRRP’s work recognizes that those facing barriers to reproductive health care and gender justice are often disproportionately impacted when they are young, people of color, poor, or experience marginalization involving another aspect of their identity. The Fellow will also have the opportunity to work on issues outside of reproductive health care and gender justice as part of the broader ACLU of Illinois legal team. 
Interested individuals are encouraged to apply ASAP. The position will be filled by January 1, 2021, if not sooner.

BWLA's Expungement & Sealing Committee 

Having a criminal record can seriously diminish a person's quality of life in many ways such as limiting employment opportunities, making it more difficult to rent, denial of educational financial aid, and other negative impacts.  

If you are interested in helping to provide members of the community with a fresh start, consider serving on this committee. Training will be provided and cases can be handled remotely. 

Please email Committee Chair Michelle Sieger at 
to express interest. 
Thank You To Our 
2020 Fundraiser Sponsors