July 2020 Newsletter
President's Message 
Dear BWLA family, friends, and supporters:
Last month I was installed as the President of this amazing bar association which I have loved and served for a decade. I do not take for granted the trust that BWLA members placed in me by electing me to various Board positions over the years, leading up to my presidency. As President, I promise to pay BWLA's investment in me forward, supporting future generations of Black women lawyers and the Chicago community. 
It is no secret that I am embarking upon leading BWLA during challenging and unprecedented times. For most of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has left a path of fear, uncertainty, and grief across the globe. Additionally, Black and brown people, who already consistently face inequities, are dying from the virus at disproportionate rates across America. 
In the midst of this horror, the Black community has also endured the familiar trauma of watching as Black men and women are killed by law enforcement and vigilantes. We have been reminded of the normal activities that we are not safe to enjoy while being Black, such as jogging, sleeping, bird watching, and most importantly--breathing.
The world watched as Minnesota police officers tortured and murdered George Floyd in broad daylight, and finally said 'enough is enough.' Globally protests erupted and the world demanded that the police officers be held accountable and charged. I have never witnessed energy of this magnitude to bring an end to police brutality and demand a more equitable and just society. BWLA will fight to keep this energy and forward movement going, and partner with other organizations to pursue this goal. 
While BWLA will continue to creatively provide our regular stellar programming, we will prioritize responding to the impact of COVID-19 on our community, as well as the senseless murder of Black men and women by law enforcement. Just last month, BWLA launched its first grant program, the BWLA Summer 2020 Law Student Hardship Grant, which will provide financial support and mentoring to law students who were adversely impacted by the pandemic. 
Furthermore, in response to nationwide protests due to the unjustified murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, BWLA quickly formed the BWLA Civil Rights Action Committee ("CRAC") and trained our members to be on the front lines supporting and representing arrested protesters. The CRAC will zealously address general civil rights issues, including advocating for police reform and mobilizing a robust Voting Rights Campaign in Black communities. 
As some of you may know, I am passionate about mentoring our youth. During my bar year, I plan to connect BWLA with more grade school aged students to build relationships that transcend academic programming. I was a 3 rd  grader when I met a Black woman law student who left such an indelible imprint on me that I fell in love with the dream of becoming an attorney and never let that go. It is important for BWLA to connect with our youth and show them what they can be, even if that is not an attorney.
I am excited to serve as BWLA's President for the 2020-2021 bar year. Thank you for this incredible opportunity to continue to grow our beloved sisterhood, no matter the circumstances. Black people are resilient and BWLA is resilient. We will overcome whatever is thrown at us and have an impactful and successful bar year. 
Kenyatta S. Beverly
2020-2021 BWLA President

Congratulations to the 2020-2021 BWLA Scholarship Fund Board Appointees!
Chastidy Burns - Chair
Samya Abdela
E lsa Andrianifahanana
Amber Bennett
Kenyatta Beverly
Kalia Coleman
Jasmine Fannell
Ashley Jackson
Erica Kirkwood
Era Laudermilk
Camile Lindsay-Kumi
Nakhia Morrissette
Drahcir Smith
Michelle Speller-Thurman
Ashley Varnado
Weeya Young
Past Events &
BWLA on the Town
On May 28, 2020, BWLA held its Spring General Meeting & 2020-2021 Board of Directors Election.

BWLA's first-ever virtual event was well-attended. Members enjoyed looking back at the organization's achievements during the 2019-2020 bar year, as well as listening to candidates' campaign speeches.
The Virtual Installation of the 2020-2021 BWLA Board of Directors and Scholarship Fund Board occurred on June 10, 2020.

The "room" was packed with BWLA members, friends, and family. BWLA Past President Judge LaShonda A. Hunt performed the swearing-in of the Boards. This was a great event and all could truly feel the love and support from attendees that were all over the country.

Congratulations to Ex-Officio Kalia Coleman on leading a successful and phenomenal 2019-2020 bar year!

Many thanks to The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin for covering the Installation! The news article can be found here.
On June 2, 2020, BWLA President Kenyatta Beverly and Ex-Officio Kalia Coleman gathered with thousands of Chicagoans to peacefully protest the murder of George Floyd and demand an end to police brutality, systemic racism, and the murder of Black men and women by law enforcement and vigilantes.
BWLA Member Achievements
Congratulations to BWLA Past President Judge LaShonda A. Hunt on her appointment to a three-year term on the Federal Judicial Committee Bankruptcy Judge Education Advisory Committee !
Congratulations to Myka Bell on her new role as Associate Counsel for the San Francisco 49ers ! Myka, your BWLA family will miss you!
Congratulations to Alice Brathwaite on her new role as Counsel - Employment & Litigation at Upwork !
Congratulations to Shelly Burke on her new role as Corporate Counsel at Amazon !
Congratulations to Kelly V. Carter on joining the Ingenuity Board of Directors !

BWLA invites eligible law students to apply for our Summer 2020 Law Student Hardship Grant
established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click  here  to apply!

Application materials must be submitted to  scholarship@bwla.org  by  Friday, July 17, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.
The Diversity Scholarship Foundation, NFP ("DSF") is accepting applications for its 2020 scholarships! 

The application deadline is September 14, 2020.

Mentoring and CLE Opportunities
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism invites BWLA members to take advantage of their new lawyer mentoring program for free CLE credit , and to build lasting and powerful mentoring relationships. 

Participants may engage in this program virtually. More information can be found here .

BWLA's membership is also invited to enjoy the following free online CLE: Advancing Women in Law Summit Course (1.0 Hours of Diversity and Inclusion CLE Credit in Illinois).
BWLA Member Spotlight
Lora Whitticker

Manager of Alumni Relations & In-House Opportunities, Jenner & Block LLP
Read on as Lora, a longtime and very active BWLA member, shares why she loves being a member of BWLA:

"I love being a member of BWLA because it is a respite for black women lawyers that are dedicated to lifting as we climb. When I moved to Chicago in 2002, I knew 3 people – my good friend and law school classmate Colette (Savage) Jones and two of her friends. After becoming active in the legal and political community, I am proud to say that I have hundreds of contacts nationwide. As a young law firm associate, I felt isolated and yearned to hear from and connect with other black women lawyers that were able to successfully navigate the types of legal environments that I was thrust into. I found a “home” with BWLA."

Interested in Becoming Active With BWLA?
Are you interested in one day serving on the BWLA Board of Directors or Scholarship Fund Board?

Well a great way to connect with other BWLA members and learn how the organization is structured and operates is to serve as a Committee Chair !

Committee Chairs play an integral role in planning and implementing BWLA's programming! Chairs are afforded latitude to plan unique programming that is supported by the BWLA Board.

If you are interested in serving as a Committee Chair, review the many committees here .

If interested, please contact BWLA President Kenyatta Beverly at bwlakenyatta@gmail.com  to determine availability.

JEC Needs You!
BWLA's Judicial Evaluation Committee ("JEC") is tasked with the responsibility of investigating and interviewing judges seeking retention in the 2020 General Election. It goes without saying that it is incredibly important that Black women lawyers be involved in evaluating members of the judiciary.  

JEC is currently seeking volunteers to ensure that there is always a Black woman lawyer in the "room" (interviews will be virtual) when judges are being interviewed and rated for retention.  Interviews will be held July 20 - July 31, 2020, in 45 minute increments.   

If you are available to conduct an investigation or participate in the interview process, please contact Venus M. Brown, BWLA's JEC Chair , at  venusmercedes82@gmail.com .

#BlackOutDay2020 is a call to action and day of solidarity amongst Blacks in America to showcase our economic power by not spending any money for a day.

If you must shop, BWLA's Civil Rights Action Committee encourages all to shop local, Black-owned businesses today to support those who have been adversely affected by both COVID-19 and recent looting. Help emphasize the economic power of the Black dollar in our community by supporting one or more of these businesses.
Thank You To Our 
2020 Fundraiser Sponsors
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Jones Day
Sidley Austin LLP
United Airlines
Jenner & Block
Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP
Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP
  Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Winston & Strawn LLP
Bartlit Beck LLP
Chapman & Cutler LLP
Citadel LLC
Foley & Lardner
Mayer Brown LLP
Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Chicago Bar Association
DePaul University College of Law
Diversity Scholarship Foundation
Whitt Sturtevant LLP
Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers
Friend of BWLA
McDonald's Corporation
Peoples Gas

Supporter of BWLA
Institute of Continuing Legal Education
Quarles & Brady LLP
Women's Bar Association of Illinois
Akerman LLP
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
Littler Mendelson P.C.
Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP
McDermott Will & Emery
Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP
Uche P.C.
Ulta Beauty, Inc.