March 2021 Newsletter
President's Message
Happy Women's History Month, BWLA Family!

During the month of March, it is my hope that we spend extra time reflecting on the contributions of women to history and contemporary society. This includes not only famous historical figures, but also those women who we hold near and dear to our hearts--the everyday women who have had a profound impact on our lives. For me, this includes my mother, grandmothers, and sister. It also includes many of the women of BWLA, from the organization's founders to the committee chairs who work so hard to keep BWLA flourishing. I am grateful for the phenomenal trailblazing women of BWLA, and recognize the impact they have had on my life, BWLA, and the community.

As we usher in March (and hopefully continued mild weather!) I want to thank BWLA's membership for their support during the month of February. Last month BWLA's Solo & Small Firms Committee hosted Thriving in a Pandemic. The event's moderator and panelists were dynamic and informative! They kept it 100% real with attendees and I hope everyone left the event motivated to thrive despite the obstacles that they may face! I would also like to thank BWLA's membership for their generosity in donating essentials to Deborah's Place, a domestic violence shelter that BWLA routinely supports. BWLA's membership continuously shows up and shows out when it comes to giving back to the community!

The month of March will be full of fun and useful programming. Fans of the television series Girlfriends, Black-ish, and How to Get Away With Murder will have the unique opportunity to interact with the stars of these shows, Jill Marie Jones and Maahra Hill, during Clips and Conversations. This event will provide a sneak peak at a new Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) television series, Delilah, which stars both actresses. Additionally, the BWLA Scholarship Fund Board will host Ladies' Night In, a virtual fundraising social where attendees will learn how to softly 'beat' their faces, try their hands at cocktail mixology, prepare delicious appetizers, play fun games, and simply enjoy each other's company! Door prizes will also be awarded. March also marks the return of BWLA's Street Law Program, with the first training happening this week! Participating in Street Law is an incredible opportunity to teach legal principles to high school students and positively influence them through mentoring.

Check out the rest of the newsletter for more details on what is happening with BWLA this month, as well as other news! If you are in the market for a new job, pay special attention to our Employment Opportunities section as it is FULL of great opportunities submitted by employers who are interested in employing BWLA members!

Kenyatta S. Beverly
2020-2021 BWLA President

Upcoming Events
Jill Marie Jones
Maahra Hill
Clips and Conversations

Featuring "Girlfriends" star, Jill Marie Jones and "Black-ish" and "How to Get Away with Murder" star, Maahra Hill

March 3, 2021
6:00 pm

Instructions to join the event are located in the event flyer above!
Virtual Street Law Program Training

BWLA's Street Law Program returns in a new virtual format this Spring!

Join us on Thursday, March 4, 2021, from 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm to learn more about volunteering to teach high school students about current events and hot topics in the law.

Ladies' Night In

Please join the BWLA Scholarship Fund Board for a fun evening which will include cocktail and appetizer creations, a makeup tutorial by Lora Whitticker, door prizes, games, and fellowship with the ladies of BWLA!

All event proceeds will benefit the BWLA Scholarship Fund Board which allows BWLA to continue to provide scholarships and grants to law students, as well as serve the Chicago community!

Events Around Town
The National Association of Women Lawyers' Mid-Year Meeting: Finding Resilience and Protecting Your Purpose in 2021

March 25th and 26th, 2021
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Register HERE.

BWLA Members may use promo code "21MYBWLA" for 10% off!
Past Events
Thriving During a Pandemic

On February 18, 2021, BWLA's Solo & Small Firms Committee hosted Thriving During a Pandemic. This was an informative panel discussion featuring Black women solo practitioners who provided advice on how to ensure the success of a small law firm during these unprecedented times.

Many thanks to the panel's moderator
Ashonta Rice Akiwowo, and esteemed panelists: Renea Amen,
Katrice Matthews, Lisa McLeod, and Masah SamForay.
Masah SamForay
Lisa McLeod
Ashonta Rice Akiwowo
Deborah's Place Domestic Violence Shelter Essentials Drive

In honor of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Community Service and Outreach Committee, in conjunction with our members, donated cleaning and personal hygiene supplies to Deborah’s Place. Deborah’s Place is a women’s domestic violence shelter on the city’s west side. Deborah, the shelter’s founder, was extremely grateful for the donations and they were immediately disbursed to the shelter's women. 
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 ( bi-monthly.

Email a direct weblink for all employment opportunities to
BWLA Member Achievements
Congratulations to Azar Alexander on his selection as a 2021 Illinois Rising Star in Civil Litigation!
Congratulations to Christian Conway on her new position as a Restructuring & Insolvency Associate at Clark Hill PLC!
Congratulations to Christy George on starting a new position as First Assistant Deputy Governor, Budget & Economy at Office of the Governor - Illinois!
Congratulations to BWLA Founder and Past President, Patricia Brown Holmes, on her selection as a 2021 Illinois Super Lawyer in White Collar Crimes!
Congratulations to Jessica Johnson on starting a new position as an Associate Attorney at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP!
BWLA Member Spotlight
Brianna Panton

3L Law Student

Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Brianna shares why BWLA matters to her:

"BWLA matters to me because it is an organization full of intelligent, ambitious, and determined Black women who are paving the way for me in the legal profession. BWLA serves as a safe space for me to show up as my authentic self and connect with inspiring women thriving in their careers while being their unapologetic selves.  
Once I learned about BWLA, there was no question that I wanted to be a student member! The opportunity to be a part of an organization with like-minded women that are succeeding in their careers, giving back to the community, and implementing programs regarding important topics that affect the Black community is imperative to me during my law school journey and into my legal career.
I appreciate the fact the BWLA gives scholarships to law students knowing how heavy the financial burden of law school is. BWLA has specifically awarded me a book scholarship which helped me tremendously during my second year of law school. 

One of the most valuable things I gained by being a part of the BWLA community is mentorship. I have reached out to multiple women in BWLA, and they have always responded to me with open arms, willing to help and provide guidance in any way they can. The fact that BWLA members are so willing to take time out of their busy day to uplift and empower future attorneys means the world to me, especially knowing the trials and tribulations Black women face daily in this profession. BWLA has made such a positive contribution to my law school journey and I look forward to giving back to this organization once I become an attorney!"
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.
Kenyatta S. Beverly
BWLA President
Chastidy Burns
BWLA Past President, Scholarship Fund Board Chair, and CBA RJC Co-Founder
Jeffrey Moskowitz
 CBA YLS Chair
Chicago Bar Association Interviews BWLA President Kenyatta Beverly

In honor of Black History Month, the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section (YLS) and Racial Justice Coalition (RJC) collaborated to highlight prominent African American bar associations.

BWLA President Kenyatta Beverly was interviewed by YLS Chair Jeffrey Moskowitz and RJC Co-Founder and BWLA Past President, Chastidy Burns. Kenyatta shared a bit of BWLA's history and her journey with the organization.

Check out the full video interview HERE.
Jayne R. Reardon
Executive Director, Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism
Hon. Diane M. Shelley
President, Illinois Judges Association
Judge, Cook County Circuit Court
Kenyatta S. Beverly
President, BWLA
Labor and Employment Counsel, The Davey Tree Expert Company
BWLA President Kenyatta Beverly Interviewed by Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism

BWLA President Kenyatta Beverly and Cook County Circuit Court Judge Diane M. Shelley were guests on the Commission's Reimagining Law video series.

Kenyatta and Judge Shelley participated in a panel discussion with the Commission's Executive Director, Jayne R. Reardon, and discussed the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic on women of color attorneys. The interview also explored how bar associations can address racial equity issues in the legal profession.

Check out the full discussion HERE.
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!
Property Tax Payment Deadline Extended and Details on Potential Refunds

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas recently announced that the deadline for payment of property taxes (first installment) has been extended to May 3, 2021 with no late fee. More information can be found HERE.

Additionally, homeowners should visit for more details on their tax bills and potential overpayment refunds. More information can be found HERE.
Thank You To Our 
2020 Fundraiser Sponsors