October 2021 Newsletter

President's Message

It was so wonderful to see you all at our Fall General Meeting last month! I enjoyed seeing so many familiar faces and meeting new and returning members of the organization. I want to thank all of our volunteer committee chairs and members for your efforts to ensure we continue to have stellar programming and activities year after year!

One of BWLA's most important goals is to ensure our members are equipped with the best professional development tools to have a successful career. Check out the variety of opportunities available this Fall as you peruse this month's newsletter. Whether you are a law student, solo practitioner, or corporate or law firm attorney, there is something included for you.

Finally, I hope you are planning to join us for tomorrow's fundraiser. It is not too late to purchase your ticket. I will see you there!


Nakhia C. Crossley
2021-2022 President
Last Chance to Purchase Your Ticket for
the 2021 Annual Fundraiser!
Tomorrow, October 7, 2021, BWLA will host its annual fundraiser: Women Breaking Barriers in Sports Leadership. A portion of the proceeds contributes to BWLA's scholarship awards for law students. Purchase your ticket(s) today!

Featured speakers include these dynamic women leaders in sports:
Myka Bell
Associate Counsel
San Francisco 49ers
D'Lonra C. Ellis
Vice President and General Counsel
Oakland Athletics
Terri Jackson
Executive Director
Women's National Basketball Players Association
Nona Lee
Executive Vice President &
Chief Legal Officer
Arizona Diamondbacks
Michele Roberts
Executive Director
National Basketball Players Association
BWLA is now accepting applications for the 
2021-2022 T.E.A. Directors Institute Fellowship!
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. 
Click here to view and complete the application.
Email completed applications to BWLADirectorsInstitute@gmail.com.
About the T.E.A. Director's Institute:
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. 
Calling All Law Students!!
Apply for the 2021 Fall Book Scholarship!
Building Your Personal Brand
The BWLA Career Services Committee invites you to join a virtual session entitled “Building Your Personal Brand” on Tuesday, October 26, 2021, from 6:00 P.M. to 7:30 P.M.

BWLA members will hear from BWLA Past President Erica Kirkwood, Vice President and General Counsel at GMA Construction, Precious Jacobs-Perry, Partner at Jenner & Block, LLP, and Joyce Pruitt, Director of Training and Professional Development, City of Chicago Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA).

These three accomplished legal professionals will provide advice on professional development, share job search tips, and discuss transitioning into the private and public interest sectors from any practice background, and developing and sustaining a positive reputation in the legal community.

Click here to RSVP by October 25, 2021.

For more information, contact Committee Co-Chairs Maggie Mendenhall Casey at
Margaret.MendenhallCasey@cityofchicago.org and Leonore Carlson Leonore.E.Carlson@gmail.com
Erica Kirkwood
Vice President and General Counsel
GMA Construction Group
Precious Jacobs-Perry
Jenner & Block, LLP
Joyce Pruitt
Director of Training and Professional Development
City of Chicago
BWLA Solo/Small Firms Host Virtual Session:
Best Practices for Trust Accounting
The Solo/Small Firms Committee invites you to attend this virtual session on Thursday, November 18, 2021 from 6:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.

Our special guest is Jerry Larkin, Administrator at the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois. Solo practitioners with an interest in learning more about effectively managing your trust accounting should attend.

Click here to RSVP!
Past Events
BWLA 2021 Fall General Meeting
On Wednesday, September 15, 2021, BWLA held its Fall General Membership Meeting.

Many thanks to our members for attending the virtual meeting to learn about all of the exciting programs that are planned for the 2021-2022 BWLA bar year. Special thanks to our guest speaker Margaret Mendenhall Casey, Assistant Corporation Counsel, City of Chicago.

We look forward to seeing all of you for the array of BWLA programming, events and fellowship opportunities throughout this bar year!

Midwest BLSA Black Excellence Brunch
On Sunday, September 19, 2021 BWLA co-sponsored the Midwest Region of the National Black Law Students Association's (MWBLSA) Black Excellence Brunch at Persona Lounge. The brunch concluded the MWBLSA's three-day Academic and Leadership Retreat which helps orient students to law school and aids their transition into an ever-changing legal career. BWLA President Nakhia Crossley also spoke on a panel about effective networking and personal branding.
BWLA President Nakhia Crossley and Recording Secretary Era Laudermilk along with Emmanuel "Chris" Welch, Speaker, Illinois House of Representatives, Kwame Raoul, Illinois Attorney General and Cassandra L. Hill, Professor and Dean, Northern Illinois University College of Law.
BWLA President Nakhia Crossley along with Sharone R. Mitchell Jr., Cook County Public Defender; and Michelle Mbekeani, Cook County States Attorney's Office.
BWLA President Nakhia Crossley, with law student leaders of MWBLSA Chair, Jessica Fullilove and NBLSA Chair, Anthony Collier.
Events Around Town!
Lawline Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit
BWLA is pleased to offer its members complimentary admission to the Lawline Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit: Exploring Theories on Why the Legal Profession is Lagging in Diversity and Creating Solutions for Meaningful Change.

This Summit will be held on October 19, 2021 and will feature noted civil rights activist DeRay McKesson who will deliver the Keynote Address: A Discussion on Race in the United States.

Additional Speakers Include: 
Paulette Brown, Chief Diversity Officer, Locke Lorde LLP and former ABA President
Jeanine Conley Daves, Littler Mendelson P.C.
Alain Mathieu, Mintz LevinCohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Jennifer Carrion, Morgan Lewis, & Bockius LLP
Bobby Codjoe, Cardozo School of Law
Charlie Bingham Jr., Microsoft
Hon. Tanya R. Kennedy, Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division
and more!

Summit Sessions: 
Debunking the Myth of the "Applicant Pool Problem"
Strategies for Success for Minority Attorneys: Navigating and Succeeding in Large Firms
 Foundational DEI Concepts: Defining Microaggressions
Combating Imposter Syndrome for Minority Attorneys (CLE)
Strategies for Building and Managing Diverse Legal Teams (CLE)
Strategies for Diversifying the Judiciary (CLE)
and more!

Click here to learn more information and to register for your free ticket. Select "Register Today." No credit card or purchase is required.
BWLA Street Law Committee to Host Informational Session for Members and Volunteers
Are you interested in sparking interest in law to the next generation of high schoolers? Do you like to mentor? If you answered yes, the BWLA Street Law Committee is looking for you!

Join the Street Law Committee's virtual informational meeting on Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 6:00 P.M.

Click here to register!
The Diversity Scholarship Foundation is seeking First Generation Mentors
The Diversity Scholarship Foundation, NFP (DSF) invites you to participate in its First Generation Mentor-Mentee Program.  This program is designed to introduce first-generation law students to attorneys and judges who can provide them with guidance to navigate law school and beyond.

If you are interested in joining this mentorship program for the Fall 2021 semester as either a mentor or mentee, please register below:
Student-Mentee: Register Here
Attorney-Mentor: Register Here
The DSF is a 501(3)(c) that was established by a small group of lawyers and judges committed to the idea that diverse law school student bodies are a means of ensuring further diversification in the legal community. To fulfill our mission, the DSF seeks to financially assist underprivileged and under-represented minorities in attending law school by offering them scholarships and mentorship opportunities.  Scholarship application period for Fall 2021 is currently open.

For more information visit www.diversitychicago.org          
Calling All Moot Court Judges!
The University of Chicago is looking for Judges for its Undergraduate Moot Court Tournament. The tournament will be held online via Zoom on Friday, October 15th and Saturday, October 16th

This year, the case concerns a federal vaccine mandate in response to a 2021 polio outbreak following fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Petitioner William Denolf is challenging the order under the Commerce Clause and the 5th Amendment Due Process Clause. 
You will hear different teams present arguments on these legal issues and judge their performance. Information regarding the American Moot Court Association's standards will be provided to judges in advance, so you don't need prior moot court judging experience in order to participate!
Please fill out this form to indicate your interest and also specify what times you’re interested in judging. In addition to volunteering for this worthwhile cause, judges can also earn MCLE credit for participating.

To learn more about the program click here.

BWLA Member Achievements
Congratulations to BWLA President Nakhia Crossley, Central Region Director & Counsel at the Solar Energy Industries Association, for her leadership of the renewables industry in getting historical clean energy legislation passed in Illinois! Check out this news story for more information about her work on the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act.
Congratulations to Jessica Kimbrough, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at United Airlines, on being honored as one of the 10 Pioneering Women of 2021 by Purdue University!
Congratulations to BWLA Board Member at Large Arielle Williams on her successful launch of the first recording studio in an Illinois prison! Arielle founded this facility in partnership with Common (rapper/actor/activist) at the Statesville Correctional Center. Check out the news story here!
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 administrator@bwla.org.
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!!!!