The Women Lawyers Division of the National Bar Association
The Women Lawyers Division of the National Bar Association

Achievements of the Women Lawyers Division

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Since 1972, the WLD has served the particular needs of its constituency as well as the NBA.  Notable achievements of the Women Lawyers Division and its members during its history are the following:


  1. Organization of Local Affiliates. Hurry up and start winning with at our casino. Limited supply!  The first local chapter of the WLD was organized in Washington, D.C. in 1974.  Since that time affiliates have been established in several states, including California, Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania.  Members of local chapters have provided leadership and officers to the national WLD.
  2. Sponsorship of Seminars.  In 1975, the WLD sponsored its first seminar at the NBA National Convention.  The WLD hosts seminars at each annual convention, which have addressed the following subjects:  impact of juvenile law on the family; domestic violence; energy law; sexual harassment; child advocacy; international law; professional ethics; post-conviction relief; law teaching and trial techniques; ascending to the bench and judicial selection methods; the Internet and personal computer technology; rainmaking and leadership for women.
  3. Sponsorship of Breakfast and Luncheons at the NBA Conventions.  Since 1976, the WLD has recognized outstanding women lawyers and jurists at its luncheons and annual breakfasts. Outstanding guest speakers have included the Hon. Constance Baker Motley, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York; the Hon. Eleanor Holmes Norton, non-voting Congressional Delegate from the District of Columbia; the Hon. Ann Diggs Taylor, Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan; the Hon. Joyce London Alexander, Magistrate of the U.S. District Court in Boston; the Hon. Juanita Kidd Stout, former Supreme Court Justice from Pennsylvania; the Hon. Joyce Tucker, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Member; Derrick Bell, Harvard Law School Professor; Barbara Arnwine, Executive Director, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under the Law; Debra L. Lee, Executive Vice President & General Counsel of BET, Inc.; Dr. Dorothy I. Height, President  Chief Executive Officer of National Council of Negro Women, Inc.; Emma Darnell, County Commissioner of Atlanta, Georgia; the Hon. Ann Claire Williams, Judge of the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
  4. Service in the Highest Offices of the NBA.  In 1977, Ruth Harvey Charity, a WLD member, was elected a Vice-President of the NBA, which was the first time in 25 years a woman had held so high a position within the NBA.  In 1981, another WLD member, Arnette R. Hubbard, was elected the first President-Elect of the NBA; and Alice Bonner, a founder of the WLD, was installed as the second woman president of the NBA Judicial Council Division.  Since that year, nine other female WLD members have served as President of the NBA: Arthenia L. Joyner, Algenita Scott Davis, Sharon McPhail, Paulette Brown, Beverley McQueary Smith, Evett L. Simmons, Kim M. Keenan, Vanita M. Banks, and Mavis Thompson.  Members of the WLD have also served in other offices in the NBA and on its Board of Governors.
  5. Sponsorship of the U.S. Supreme Court Group Searing-In.  The Supreme Court Swearing-In tradition began in 1981 and continues today.  Each Spring (usually Memorial Day weekend), the WLD anticipates scheduling and sponsorship of a group of NBA members for admission to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  6. Respect Yourself Mentor Program. On August 4, 2009 during the NBA 83rd Annual Convention, the WLD launched its national “Respect Yourself” Mentor Program, which was developed to educate young, at-risk and disadvantaged African American girls about the importance of respecting themselves and others.  Since its inception, the WLD has hosted the program in several major cities, including St. Louis, New Orleans, Baltimore and Las Vegas.
  7. 40th Anniversary.  In 2012, the WLD celebrated its 40 years of existence.  The WLD sponsored several programs and events in commemoration of this significant anniversary, including a reception honoring the WLD Founders and past Chairs and the annual breakfast with a salute to the women NBA Past Presidents and keynote address by WLD Founder, Allie B. Latimer.
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