January 2021 Newsletter
President's Message
Happy New Year, everyone!

I know I am not the only one who is eager to move forward from what was a uniquely difficult 2020. 

While I understand that our passage into 2021 will not magically eradicate the pandemic or solve related issues, nevertheless I symbolically feel a sense of relief and renewed hope moving forward into a new year full of new opportunities. It is my prayer as we enter 2021 that each of you are blessed with good health, happiness, peace, and prosperity. May 2021 be a year of abundance and joy after so much sorrow. We are long overdue and I choose to look at 2021 with hope, excitement, and optimism. 

That being said, I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and feel refreshed and full of energy because you will need it for all of the soon to be announced great events BWLA has planned for the second half of the 2020-2021 bar year, including our Annual Fundraiser!

I hope you enjoyed attending last month's events, which included our Fall Mentoring Dinner, Winter Career Services Workshop, and the Joint Holiday Mixer. I had a great time at all of the events and was excited to see each event well attended. Trust me, I understand that we are all enduring a level of virtual event fatigue, so it means a lot to see our members continue to show up and support BWLA's events! Many thanks to BWLA's Committee Chairs, Board Member Liaisons, and our Administrator (K. Rhea) who work hard to curate fun, engaging, and creative virtual events. 

I would also like to thank BWLA's supporters for their participation in The Salvation Army's Angel Tree Program. With BWLA's help, the Salvation Army was able to provide gifts to over 1,300 individuals this Christmas season. Additionally, all proceeds from BWLA's members who purchased Joint Holiday Mixer tickets are being donated to a local charity. The BWLA community truly embodied the spirit of giving during this holiday season and brought love, hope, and happiness to many families.  

I am beyond grateful for the consistent generosity of BWLA's membership and supporters, and it is an honor to continue to serve this great organization. 

Check out the rest of the newsletter to learn about upcoming events, opportunities, the phenomenal accomplishments of our members, and more!

Kenyatta S. Beverly
2020-2021 BWLA President

Upcoming Events
"Just Mercy" Viewing and Panel Discussion

In Honor
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, January 14, 2021
3:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Register HERE by January 12th!

**You are not required to join Decalogue to register for this event. Simply enter your email address and create a password. Select "No, thank you" when the membership box is displayed. Finally, please select the bar association you are affiliated with and enter your ARDC information. If you have issues registering, email BWLA's Administrator at administrator@bwla.org**
BWLA T-Shirt Design Contest!

Do you think you have what it takes to create a t-shirt that BWLA’s membership and supporters will LOVE?  If so, consider entering BWLA’s T-Shirt Design Contest

BWLA is looking for the best design, focusing on social justice issues or commemorating Black Women Lawyers.

Please email your design entry to to administrator@bwla.org no later than Friday, January 22, 2021

The winner will receive a special prize, recognition in BWLA’s e-newsletter and on all social media platforms, and of course, a free t-shirt! 

Please direct any questions to BWLA's Administrator. 
The Seventh Circuit Bar Association, BWLA, Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms, Lesbian and Gay Bar Association, and CBA YLS Racial Justice Coalition invite you to join us for

The Winter Warm-Up: Virtual Edition!

January 21, 2021
5:30 pm -7:00 pm

The event will feature remarks by Sharon Jones, CEO, Jones Diversity; an Introduction to Just The Beginning – A Pipeline Organization; and socializing over festive treats!

You can click here to RSVP by Tuesday, January 19, 2021.

Festive treats will be sent to the first 100 RSVPs received by January 7, 2021.

Zoom details will be sent closer to the event.
Past Events
Virtual Holiday Joint Mixer
On December 16, 2020, BWLA co-hosted a festive Virtual Holiday Joint Mixer with the Cook County Bar Association, Illinois Judicial Council, and the Black Men Lawyers’ Association.

This event honored Justice Shelvin Louise Marie Hall with the inaugural 2020 Trailblazer Award and all proceeds from the event benefited local charities.
Winter Career Services Workshop
On December 7, 2020, BWLA hosted a virtual Career Services Workshop featuring panelists from the public and private legal sectors.  

Many thanks to our esteemed panelists Averil Edwards (United Airlines); Natanya Pope (Legal Aid Chicago)Alexis Robertson (Foley & Lardner LLP)Shawn Eddings-Levesque (Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office); and Thor Inouye (Office of the Illinois Attorney General)

The panel discussion was incredible and attendees appreciated the insight provided on navigating the job market in the midst of a pandemic. 
Diversity Scholarship Foundation's 2020 Unity Gala
On December 8, 2020, BWLA attended the Diversity Scholarship Foundation's (DSF) 2020 Unity Gala!

This event was a wonderful celebration of diversity and inclusion in our legal community. BWLA President Kenyatta Beverly, along with other bar association presidents, were sworn in by Chief Judge Timothy Evans and recited the DSF’s Oath of Unity. The DSF also awarded 21 scholarships to diverse and hardworking law students!

Congratulations to DSF President, Justice Jesse G. Reyes , and the Gala Planning Committee, including BWLA Vice President Nakhia Crossley, on planning a phenomenal virtual event!
Fall Mentoring Dinner
On December 3, 2020, BWLA virtually held its annual Fall Mentoring Dinner.

The event was a great success with accomplished government and public interest legal professionals providing attendees with advice and sharing their paths to success.

BWLA would like to thank Winston & Strawn LLP for hosting this event!
Employment Opportunities
BWLA recently added the following employment opportunities to the BWLA Job Board:

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

BWLA updates employment opportunities on our website (www.bwla.org) bi-monthly.

Email a direct weblink for all employment opportunities to administrator@bwla.org.

Seeking Applications!
The National Employment Law Council ("NELC") invites applications for selection as Fellows to the 2021 NELC Virtual Academy scheduled for April 2021.

NELC is a non-profit organization charged with enriching minority bar members who represent management in the field of labor and employment law.

Click here to find out more!
BWLA Member Achievements
Congratulations to Suheily Natal Davis on her promotion to Senior Director, Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at McDonald's Corporation!
Congratulations to Justice Shelvin Louise Marie Hall on being awarded the 2020 Trailblazer Award by BWLA, CCBA, the IJC and BMLA!
Congratulations to Justice Thomas Kilbride on being awarded the Diversity Scholarship Foundation's 2020 Unity Award!
Congratulations to the following BWLA supporters on their recognition as 2020 Crain's Chicago Business Notable Minorities in Accounting, Consulting and Law:
Melissa Anyetei
Mayer Brown LLP
Matthew Brewer
Bartlit Beck LLP
Kimberly Cook
Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP
Lindsey D.G. Dates
Barnes & Thornburg LLP
Lakeisha Marsh
Akerman LLP
Joseph Q. McCoy
Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP
Leslie Minier
Corporate Partner
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
Timothy Kincaid
Winston & Strawn LLP
Alan King
Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP
Rodney Perry
Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP
Simone Randolph
Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP
Derrick Thompson Jr.
Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP
Johner "J.T." Wilson III
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP
BWLA Member Spotlight
Kechia E. Lewis

The U.S. Department of Education
Kechia shares why BWLA matters to her:

"BWLA matters because it provides access and support to its members who are largely Black women that are underrepresented and under supported in the legal community.

BWLA provides unique platforms that enable its members access to big law firms, corporations, and government agencies while exposing those same organizations to talented Black lawyers. For example, I attended the Virtual Career Services Workshop on December 3, 2020. The event was a platform where employers were able to scope out talented BWLA members and I was able to learn about job opportunities. This matters because organizations need talented minorities to drive their diversity efforts and minorities need access to these organizations. I am a first generation college graduate and lawyer who had no connections to the legal community when I embarked on my journey to become a lawyer. BWLA matters because it provides me, and others like me, access to establish connections to move our careers forward.

Additionally, BWLA provides support through scholarship and mentorship. I had minimal financial resources as a student and worked my way through undergraduate and law school. However, working while in school still was not enough. Scholarships are what allowed me obtain my education.

My situation is not unique, which is why BWLA matters. BWLA provided me with three scholarships to fund my law degree along with many other students.

Lastly, BWLA matters because it provides invaluable mentorship through resume workshops, mock interviews and one-on-one meetings. As new attorney, I am grateful that the brilliant women of BWLA who are walking the path before me are supporting my law career with further guidance, advice, and fellowship."
T.E.A. Director's Institute
The application deadline for the T.E.A. Director's Institute program has been extended to February 1, 2021. Applications are available here. 

The mission of T.E.A. is to assist seasoned attorneys with raising their profile and preparing for roles as board members on city, county, state, federal, non-profit and corporate boards. This program also aims to help minority attorneys acquire key skills and tools to help them understand the functionality of boards and strategically approach the selection process.  Program participants will have a rare opportunity to engage with high profile commissioners, board members and decision makers through intimate panels and skills-based workshops. 
"TEA is an extremely well thought out educational curriculum. Both the presenting speakers and planned activities are beneficial to any practicing attorney looking to build upon their business acumen and position themselves for a future board position. I would definitely recommend this program."

-Steffany Williams-Cunningham
VP Associate General Counsel
National Express LLC
2019 T.E.A Fellow 

"The TEA program was inspiring and motivating. The speakers provided insight on their own success and the lessons that they have learned through their successful careers. As a fellow, we learned from their experience. It was also great to get to learn about our other fellows through our individual presentations. It was a wonderful experience, which I would highly recommend."  

-Allison Glover
Department Counsel 
Jenner & Block

Email questions and completed applications to BwlaDirectorsInstitute@gmail.com
Thank You To Our 
2020 Fundraiser Sponsors