May 2021 Newsletter
President's Message
Happy May, BWLA Family!
I feel like I just wished everyone a Happy New Year, yet here we are nearly halfway through 2021. With the progression of time we are finally seeing light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, and for the first time during the 2020-2021 Bar Year, BWLA hosted an intimate in-person event that included a virtual option. I had a blast fellowshipping with BWLA members at last month's Sip & Paint while we created beautiful works of art (‘art’ may be stretching what I created but let me live!) and enjoyed lots of wine and food. 
In addition to the Sip & Paint, last month BWLA hosted a virtual Black Partner Panel event where our moderator and panelists shared knowledge on building and sustaining your business development network; diversity, equity and inclusion and the legal field; and other useful gems. BWLA members also volunteered their time during Women Everywhere's Annual Education Days, engaging with female high school students and providing a positive introduction and exposure to our judicial system. BWLA's members are always willing to serve their community and I appreciate the consistent willingness to be of service when called upon. 
BWLA has been hard at work preparing for our biggest event of the year and I am thrilled to share initial details with you today! Our signature Annual Fundraiser, which has attracted hundreds of Chicago's top lawyers, judges, public officials, and business leaders; and raised nearly a million dollars throughout BWLA's history, is entitled "Leveling the Playing Field: Women Breaking Barriers in Sports Leadership." This luncheon event will be held in-person on October 7, 2021. Our esteemed panelists will discuss the historic under-representation of women in front offices and executive leadership positions across the sports industry and how women have begun to level the playing field in this arena. You are not going to want to miss this event and it is a great opportunity to serve as a sponsor and help BWLA continue to provide scholarships to deserving law students. Save the date for our signature event!
This will be my last President's Message as the 2020-2021 Bar Year is ending soon.  It has been my absolute pleasure to serve as President of an organization that is full of kind, generous, and ridiculously accomplished members. I never saw myself leading BWLA when I joined the Young Lawyers Committee as a very insecure new attorney in 2010, but I loved this organization from the very start. Now 11 years later, to my continued disbelief -- here I am. BWLA has positively developed me not only as an attorney, but also as a person. I am a better woman because of BWLA. 
Thank you for trusting me to lead this sisterhood that has been a powerhouse since its inception in 1987. I am honored to join the ranks of the illustrious BWLA Past Presidents who paved the way for me. I am thankful for the 2020-2021 BWLA Board of Directors and Scholarship Fund Board who supported my vision and worked tirelessly to ensure that BWLA remained a force to be reckoned with despite a devastating once in a lifetime pandemic. We innovated; we did not shy away from one of the biggest challenges we ever faced; we continued the work of BWLA; we honored BWLA's mission – we were RESILIENT. BWLA is coming out of the pandemic stronger than ever and I am so excited to support BWLA's brilliant and visionary President-Elect Nakhia Crossley as she takes the helm of this organization and elevates it to new heights with the support of the soon-to-be elected 2021-2022 BWLA Board of Directors and Scholarship Fund Board.  
Kenyatta S. Beverly
2020-2021 BWLA President

Upcoming Events

Corporate and Large Law Firm Practice
Click HERE to RSVP!
BWLA 2021 Virtual Spring General Membership Meeting & Election
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
6:00 p.m.

Click here to RSVP for the Virtual Meeting
Events Around Town
The Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms Presents:

Law Firm Junior Associate Virtual Boot Camp Series

Thursday, May 6, 2021
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Calling all law firm junior associates! Check out this Boot Camp Series.

Come and learn the 'dos' and 'don'ts' from attorneys who successfully navigated their junior associate experiences, including BWLA Scholarship Fund Board Member, Samya Abdela (Counsel, Sony Pictures Entertainment).

Click HERE to RSVP today!
Virtual Summit:
Driving Diversity in Law & Leadership

Wednesday, May 19, 2021
9:00 am - 4:00 pm

CenterForce Conferences USA, Inc. cordially invites in-house counsel and corporate executive leaders to attend its FREE Diversity & Inclusion conference! Join other attorneys as we explore the obstacles, risks, and rewards on the path to a fulfilling and productive career for women and minority leaders.

Speakers will include leading attorneys from JPMorgan Chase, Capital One, Uber, Accenture, Box, US Foods, Patterson Companies, Albertsons Companies and many other companies!

Learn more about the conference and register for FREE HERE !

3.75 HRS IL STATE CLE Approved
Past Events
Sip & Paint

On Thursday, April 15, 2021 the BWLA Member Services Committee hosted BWLA's FIRST IN-PERSON event of the 2020-2021 bar year - a Sip & Paint at Museica's Sip & Paint Art Studio!

This was such a fun event with in-person and virtual attendees! BWLA hopes that our attendees enjoyed the wine, food, and most importantly - the beautiful works of art that we created together! It was truly wonderful to fellowship in person and BWLA looks forward to slowly reintroducing other in-person events when appropriate.
Black Partner Panel: Building and Sustaining Your Business Development Network

On April 22, 2021 BWLA hosted a powerhouse panel of Black Women Partners who discussed diversity in the legal profession; their individual paths to partnership; and highlighted the career and business development strategies that kept them at the top of their game.

Kori S. Carew, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer at Seyfarth Shaw LLP moderated the discussion with Precious Jacobs-Perry, Litigation Partner at Jenner & Block; LaKeisha Marsh, Chair of Government Affairs & Public Policy Practice Group & Higher Education and Collegiate Athletics Practice at Akerman; and Gray Mateo-Harris, Labor & Employment Partner at Fox Rothschild.

BWLA appreciated the candid discussion and we are certain our members walked away feeling inspired and ready to put the knowledge gained into action!
On April 20th and April 29th, 2021, BWLA joined Women Everywhere ("WE") for their annual Education Days.

Every year WE provides high school girls with a positive introduction to the judicial system through engagement with judges and attorneys. BWLA was happy to participate in this effort.
Employment Opportunities
BWLA recently added the following employment opportunities to the BWLA Job Board:

  • Attorney at The Social Security Administration, Office of the General Counsel, Office of the Regional Chief Counsel

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
BWLA Member Achievements
Congratulations to Omoyele ("Yele") Ajayi on her new position as Contract Senior Analyst at Accenture!
Congratulations to Christina O. Alabi on her new position as Trusted Legal Advisor at Peloton!
Congratulations to Rhonda Coleman on her new position as Deal Strategist, Global Business Practices at Google!
Congratulations to Tamika A. Frimpong on her new position as the Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Chief Compliance & Privacy Officer and Assistant Secretary at BorgWarner Inc.!
Congratulations to Patricia Hudson on her new position as Trial Attorney at Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC.
Congratulations to BWLA Past President Judge LaShonda A. Hunt on being awarded the Chicago Bar Association's 2021 Vanguard Award!
Congratulations to BWLA Scholarship Fund Board Member Ashley Jackson on her new position as AGC, Privacy Counsel & Officer at Olive!
Congratulations to Lisa McLeod on her gubernatorial appointment as the new Executive Director of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission!
BWLA Member Spotlight
Carletta Sanders

JD/MBA Candidate

Northern Illinois University College of Law
Carletta shares why BWLA matters to her:

"The Black Women Lawyers’ Association matters to me because it is an organization that allowed me to see my future self in the women I encountered. I learned about BWLA shortly after starting my first year in law school and I knew that it was a place that I needed to be.

Being a first-generation law student, it was important to me to connect with others, especially Black women--to hear their stories, learn from them, but also know that I could accomplish my wildest law school goals. I received nothing short of a welcoming experience since the first event that I attended. 

Many of the members have made me feel at home and have given me invaluable guidance as I navigate my legal journey. I have not only received ongoing mentorship, volunteer and networking opportunities, but have also been connected with others who have greatly impacted my law school experience.

What I appreciate most is that I am encouraged to be my true self while going after my goals full force and BWLA members have held me accountable. They have selflessly made themselves available to me to answer all of my questions and encourage me.  I credit BWLA for my ongoing success as the incoming Editor-In-Chief of the Midwest Journal of Law and Policy as well as the Student Bar Association Vice President at Northern Illinois University College of Law. Through this organization, I have been equipped with the knowledge to thrive. I am standing on the shoulders of giants and look forward to serving and giving back to BWLA."
BWLA President
Kenyatta Beverly's Law Day Letter featured in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
On April 26, 2021, the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin published Law Day letters submitted by select bar association presidents. BWLA President Kenyatta Beverly's letter on behalf of BWLA can be found HERE.
Chicago Sun-Times Covers BWLA Member Candace Jackson-Akiwumi's Nomination by President Joseph R. Biden to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and BWLA's Support of Her Nomination
Check out the article HERE.

JEC Needs You!

The Judicial Evaluation Committee (JEC) is in need of several volunteers to aid in the judicial evaluation process. Volunteers will attend judicial candidate interviews (virtually) and submit an evaluation form to Venus Brown, BWLA's JEC Chair. If you are interested in serving as a volunteer, please sign up here.

Additionally, JEC is in dire need of investigators to investigate applicants before the interview process begins. You must be a two-year or more licensed attorney and have completed investigator training to serve as an investigator. Investigator training is good for ten years. If you are a trained investigator or have interest in becoming one, please contact Venus M. at
MLER Bar Process Management Program

Are you sitting for the July 2021 Bar Exam? If so, check out this great Bar prep program to ensure that you are putting your best foot forward during the Bar Exam!
The Force of Lawyers Against Sexual Harassment (FLASH)

BWLA is a proud member of FLASH, a taskforce of Illinois legal professionals united to study and make recommendations to and to combat the prevalence of sexism, sex-based discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual assault in the Illinois legal community through direct advocacy, policy implementation, education and peer support.

Click HERE to learn more about FLASH and how you can get involved!
Several Chicago area Bar Associations, led by BWLA, are joining together to demand that the University of Illinois Board of Trustees act swiftly to address and eradicate an environment at the University of Illinois at Chicago John Marshall Law School (UIC-JMLS) that has caused students of color to feel mistreated based on race and ignored by the UIC-JMLS administration.
Read the full joint statement HERE.
BWLA Member Achievements Submission Process

Are you interested in having your achievements highlighted in the next BWLA monthly newsletter? If so, please email the following to

-Your full name, job title, and employer
-Description of your achievement
-Preferred headshot

Please note that BWLA releases its monthly newsletter on the first Tuesday of every month. Therefore, please submit your achievements at least three business days before the first Tuesday of the month.
The Community Fund for Black Bar Applicants

Do you need help paying for 2021 Bar Examination costs? Are you Black, African-American, or Pan African?

If you answered "yes" to these questions, apply for $500 in financial assistance here!
The Public Rights Project Fellowship is now accepting applications!

Find out how to apply HERE.
Thank You To Our 
2020 Fundraiser Sponsors