December 2021 Newsletter

President's Message
Season's Greetings!

I hope everyone is safe and well as the holidays are among us and Winter begins. More than gifts and good eats, I have been reminded of the importance of giving to the less fortunate and spending meaningful time with family and friends.

Each year, BWLA finds many ways to give. This year, we have partnered with the Salvation Army to support their Virtual Giving Tree, and I encourage all to donate to ensure hundreds of children in the Chicagoland area receive toys and goods this Christmas. Details are below.

I also have a personal request. As you may know, our dearest BWLA Past President Ngozi Okorafor passed away on November 23, 2021. BWLA and the legal community at large are deeply saddened by this loss and offer our condolences to her family and loved ones. Many of you have reached out to me to find ways to support her family and especially her eight year old son, Chinedu. Her family has created a GoFundMe campaign to support Chinedu's future. If you wish to donate, you may do so by clicking here.

I hope this newsletter brings you all some good cheer. BWLA has been very busy this season in both our individual professional lives and collectively as an organization, and we should all be proud of these accomplishments.

Happy Holidays,

Nakhia C. Crossley
2021-2022 President
Congratulations to the BWLA Scholarship Fund 2021 Fall Book Scholarship Winners!
Please join us in congratulating these ten law students who were selected to receive a $1,000.00 book scholarship by the BWLA Scholarship Fund Board!
Lorianna Anderson
Chicago-Kent College of Law

Ivory Djahouri
University of Illinois Chicago School of Law
Vivian Ellis
University of Illinois Chicago School of Law
Jessica Fullilove
Northern Illinois University College of Law
Alana Jones
University of Illinois Chicago School of Law
Ashley Morris
University of Illinois Chicago School of Law
Jaylin McClinton
Chicago-Kent College of Law
Tomide Owolabi
Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
Carletta Sanders
Northern Illinois University College of Law
Mantejay Sheriff
University of Illinois Chicago School of Law
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, adopt an Angel from the Virtual Tree!

Gifts may be purchased in-store or online and shipped to the Adele and Robert Stern Red Shield Center at 945 West 69th Street, Chicago, IL 60521 by December 11, 2021. Please be sure to add the Angel code on the tag next to the Center's name when shipping. You may also contact the Center at 773-358-3200 if you would like to schedule an in-person gift drop off. If dropping off, please attach the Angel tag to the unwrapped gift.
CRAC Wants to Hear From You!
Click here to register today!
Past Events
BWLA Past President, The Honorable Sybil C. Thomas, honored at Annual Joint Dinner!

On Thursday, November 4, 2021, BWLA, along with The Illinois Judicial Council, The Cook County Bar Association, and The Black Men Lawyers' Association, co-hosted the November Joint Dinner at The Park Supper Club. BWLA Past President Honorable Sybil C. Thomas was the recipient of the 2021 Trailblazer Award.
Reception to Celebrate The Honorable
Candace Jackson-Akiwumi
On Wednesday, November 10, 2021, BWLA hosted a reception honoring the newly confirmed federal judge, the Honorable Candace Jackson-Akiwumi. The Honorable Ann Claire Williams, along with other judges and lawyers, were present to congratulate Hon. Jackson-Akiwumi and welcome her back to the Chicagoland area.
Click here to see all of the pictures from the evening!
Street Law In Action
On Thursday, November 18, 2021, BWLA's Street Law Committee met with high school students at Gary Comer College prep for a lesson on the "Second Amendment Gun Law." BWLA Board Member & Cook County Assistant Public Defender Ashley Shambley did an amazing job teaching and interacting with the students. 
BWLA Solo/Small Law Firm: Best Practices For Trust Accounting
On Thursday, November 18, 2021, BWLA's Solo/Small Firm Committee presented "Best Practice for Trust Accounting." Participants were instructed on how to effectively manage their trust accounts by Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission's (ARDC) Administrator, Jerry Larkin. Attendees earned one (1) CLE credit.
Law Student Fall Exam & Research Writing Workshop
On Saturday, November 20, 2021, BWLA's Law Student Outreach Committee hosted its annual Fall Exam & Research Writing Workshop. Students were given instruction by Professor Karen Alicia Shaw, Loyola University Chicago School of Law; Professor Kevin Hopkins, UIC School of Law; and Professor Sacha Coupet, Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Thanksgiving Meal Provided to Domestic Violence Shelter
BWLA's Community Service and Outreach Committee donated its annual Thanksgiving meal on Saturday, November 20, 2021 to the Crisis Center, a local shelter for victims of domestic violence families.
Diversity Scholarship Foundation 2021 Unity Gala
On Tuesday, November 30, 2021, BWLA joined other bar associations at the Diversity Scholarship Fund 2021 Unity Gala and Awards Ceremony. We would like to recognize BWLA Board Member at Large Shannon Stokes for her participation as a DSF Unity Gala Committee member. During the event, BWLA President Nakhia Crossley along with other bar presidents recited the "Oath of Unity" led by the Honorable Timothy Evans, Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Congratulations to DSF on a wonderful event and to all of the scholarship recipients, including several BWLA student members!
BWLA Virtual Yoga and Meditation
On Saturday, December 4, 2021, BWLA's Member Services Committee hosted a Virtual Yoga and Meditation session. Yoga instructor Dorsey of LiteralUnwine, LLC led BWLA members through 60 minutes of yoga and 20 minutes of meditation. Members relaxed while listening to R&B music during this virtual event.
BWLA Member Achievements
Congratulations to BWLA Past President and Lifetime Member Chasity Boyce on her new position as Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at Barings!
Congratulations to Alfreda Bradley-Coar on her new position as Chief Legal Officer of the Obama Foundation!
Congratulations to Amanda Brown on her new position as Counsel at Skadden!
Congratulations to BWLA Founder Patricia Brown Holmes for being named Managing Partner of the Year by Corporate Counsel's Women, Influence and Power in Law!
Congratulations to BWLA Past President Kalia Coleman on her new position as Partner in the White Collar Fraud Defense and Internal Investigation Group at Riley Holmes & Cancila LLP!
Congratulations to BWLA President Nakhia Crossley on being named a Crain's Chicago Business 40 under Forty Honoree!
Congratulations to Precious Jacobs-Perry on the PILI Fellow Alumni Award presented by the Public Interest Law Initiative!
Congratulations to Tiffany Kay on her new position as the Employee Labor Relations Manager at Rush Medical Center!
Congratulations to Yinka Owolabi on her new position as the Senior Counsel and Trust & Compliance Officer at IBM Corporation!
Congratulations to BWLA Scholarship Fund Board Member Michelle Speller-Thurman on her new position as the Vice President, Head of Legal Mergers & Acquisitions and Licensing at Organon!
Judge Thomas
Congratulations to BWLA Past President Sybil C. Thomas for receiving the 2021 Trailblazer Award presented by the Cook County Bar Association.
Congratulations to Nicole White on her new position as the Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary at Avison!
Congratulations to BWLA Recording Secretary Weeya Young on her new position as Assistant Corporation Counsel at the City of Chicago, Building & License Enforcement Department!
Do you or someone you know have an achievement that you'd like us to highlight in our monthly newsletter? We want to celebrate our members! Send your latest achievement addressed to BWLA Corresponding Secretary, Era Laudermilk, at
Employment Opportunities
BWLA constantly receives new employment opportunities that our members may be interested in. The ever expanding list has become too lengthy to share here, so please be sure to visit the BWLA Job Board to view all current employment opportunities!
BWLA T-Shirts on SALE NOW!
BWLA T-shirts are currently available for purchase!!! The new T-shirts were designed to celebrate and commemorate our resilience during the pandemic. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to BWLA's Scholarship Fund. T-shirts are $25.00 each and are available in size small - 2XL.

Click here to place your order TODAY while supplies last!
Thank You To Our Sponsors!!!!