Encouraging Black youth to explore the possibility of pursuing law school and becoming lawyers through presenting them with and providing exposure to real-life Black law student and lawyer role models.
Raising awareness of current local, statewide, regional, and national pre-law pipeline programs created especially for elementary, middle, and high school students through a free resource listing provided to all attendees after the event. Representatives from some of these major programs will provide information to share what they do and how young people can apply!3
Providing important early information about the things that students and parents can consider and do NOW and moving forward to begin preparing to build the discipline, work ethic, and skill set needed to succeed in college, law school, and beyond.2
Providing opportunities where students and parents will be able to ask all of their burning questions and get answers on the virtual platform. The Q&A and chats will be accessible to all attendees. Student pre-law students, parents, program administrators, law students, and attorneys can all connect with one another via the Whova virtual platform before, during and after the event. So the networking and connecting opportunities can continue!4
Event Founder & Organizer
Evangeline M. Mitchell, Esq., Ed.M. is an author/publisher, documentary filmmaker/producer, social entrepreneur, non-profit founder and leader, and lawyer. She has always dreamt of telling stories and sitting behind the camera and declared her interest in being both a filmmaker and a lawyer while still in high school and was most inspired by Henry Hampton’s Eyes on the Prize documentary series. Filled with a deep passion and strong desire to share insight and educate others based on her own and others’ lived experiences, she fiercely believes that video and film serve as perhaps the most powerful tools in which to impact others and inspire social change.
Evangeline is the founder of Relentless Visionary Films LLC, an independent production company. She is also the founder and executive director of National Pre-Law Diversity Initiatives, Inc., a 501 c(3) non-profit educational and charitable organization. Its mission is to help diversify law schools and the legal profession, especially through outreach, particularly to the African
American community, and through comprehensive informational and inspirational empowerment programming. She founded the National Black Pre-Law Conference and Law Fair http://www.blackprelawconference.org in 2005 and the National HBCU Pre-Law Summit and Law Expo http://www.hbcuprelawsummit.orgin 2014. Her new event is The Future Legal Eagles Flight School: National Pre-Law Summit for Black Youth and Parents. She has also founded and produced other diversity outreach events including the National Diversity Pre-Law Conference and Law Fair, the National Hispanic Pre-Law Conference, and the Joint National Black and Hispanic Pre-Law Conference and Law Fair. Through her events and other outreach and information-sharing efforts, she has helped to empower thousands of Black and other historically marginalized people whose path to law school has been made a little easier because of the information received, resources shared, and connections made.
She started her own independent publishing company Hope’s Promise Publishing http://www.hopespromisepublishing.org, the only Black-owned niche publishing company focused on producing books geared to aspiring Black lawyers. She has written and/or edited and published several books including The African American Pre-Law School Advice Guide: Things You Really Need to Know Before Applying to Law School, The African American Law School Survival Guide, Profiles and Essays of Successful African American Law School Applicants, Conquering the Bar Exam, and Lessons from Successful African American Lawyers: Practical Wisdom for Those on the Path to Lawyerhood.
Her most recent service effort includes The Bridge Builders: National Mentorship Program for Aspiring Black Lawyers http://bridgebuildersesq.org/. This volunteer program provides pre-law students with a mentoring circle made up of a lawyer mentor, a law student mentor, and 4-5 peer accountability partners. Evangeline personally mentors numerous future Black law students across the country.
Evangeline is currently pursuing a Distance Certificate in Documentary Arts through the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and the Film and TV Industry Essentials Certificate from New York University Tisch School of the Arts. She is a member of Cambridge Community Television and Somerville Media Center. As a producer and filmmaker, Becoming Black Lawyers is the realization of a longtime dream and her first documentary project.
A first-generation college, graduate school, and law school graduate and the product of a single-parent, working-class household, she grew up unexposed and disadvantaged having to navigate the college and law school admission processes alone. Because of the lack of mentorship and assistance she received, she has always felt a very strong social responsibility to share the stories of other African American achievers and encourage and empower those on the path to higher education to fulfill their dreams.
Evangeline is a graduate of HBCU Prairie View A&M University, the University of Iowa College of Law, and the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She is licensed to practice law in the state of Texas.
She is married, and the mother of two children, a son Michael and a daughter Nyla. She hopes that she can leave a legacy of “tangible work” that demonstrates her sincere commitment, particularly to helping future generations of African American lawyers. She says she wants people to be able to see how much she cared and contributed from what she did and not just what she said. She has a lot to say, but believes there are too many talkers and not enough doers. Even at her own events, she is usually in the background working hard and simply doing the work.
Managing Attorney and Founder, Childress Firm PLLC, Founder and CEO, Juris Prudence LLC, Washington, DC
Ms. Childress is the managing attorney and founder of the Childress Firm PLLC, an employment law firm based in Washington, D.C. Ms. Childress holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government and African American Studies from the University of Virginia and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law. Ms. Childress graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with High Distinction from the University of Virginia in 2007. After law school, Ms. Childress served as a federal judicial law clerk for the Honorable Alexander Williams, Jr. in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. Ms. Childress has served as an associate at two global law firms and as an attorney for the United States Department of Justice.
Ms. Childress represents clients in all aspects of employment law. Ms. Childress has litigated retaliation, discrimination, sexual harassment, non-competition, trade secret, unfair labor practice, and whistleblower cases before various tribunals. She serves clients in general business transactions with employees and independent contractors. Ms. Childress drafts agreements such as employment agreements, consulting agreements, termination agreements, and confidentiality agreements.
While in law school, Ms. Childress was an editorial board member for the Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law. She was also an executive board member of the Student Bar Association. Additionally, while in law school, she served as a legal intern in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. She is an alumnus of the National Trial Advocacy College.
Ms. Childress is admitted to practice in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. She is also admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, and the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia. Ms. Childress has held leadership roles in the National Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division and the Washington Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division. She has been the recipient of several honors, including the National Bar Association’s 2018 Young Lawyer of the Year Award, the Washington Bar Association’s 2017-2018 Young Lawyer of the Year Award, the National Bar Association’s 40 under 40 Best Advocates Award, the Kim Keenan Leadership & Advocacy Award, the Greater Washington Area Chapter of the National Bar Association’s Rising Star Award, and recognition by the National Black Lawyers as one of the top 100 black attorneys. Ms. Childress was selected to the 2020 Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers Rising Stars list. Only 2.5% of practicing attorneys in Washington, D.C. are selected to receive this honor.
Ms. Childress is a contributor for the international media outlet, Thrive Global. She has been featured in numerous publications, including Forbes, Essence, the Huffington Post, Success, and Entrepreneur.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Compton Courthouse, Compton, California
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kelvin D. Filer, was “born, raised, and educated in Compton, California!”
Judge Filer insists on emphasizing that he is from Compton because, historically, we tend to hear only negative things about the city. His message is not one of “look at me” – rather to tell the students and young people in Compton that if I made it, so can you!
After graduating from Compton High School in 1973, he went to the University of California at Santa Cruz where he majored in politics, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1977 while graduating with “college honors” (the top 30 students at Stevenson College). While at UCSC he was a member of the Black Student Alliance for four years and was a member of the Basketball Club for three years. He subsequently received his Juris Doctorate degree from UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall) in 1980.
In 1980, Judge Filer started practicing law as a Deputy State Public Defender for two years. It was during this period that he argued and won a landmark case before the California Supreme Court in 1980. The case was People v. Taylor (1982) 31 Cal.3d 488 – a unanimous decision holding that criminal defendants have a right to wear civilian clothing - “the garb of innocence” during their trials. In 1982, he opened his own private law practice in his hometown of Compton, California, and maintained a general criminal/civil practice with an emphasis on criminal defense work.
In July 1993, he was selected to the judicial bench as a commissioner for the Compton Municipal Court and later served as a Superior Court Commissioner after unification of the courts in 2000.
On August 8, 2002 Governor Gray Davis appointed him as a judge of the Superior Court in Los Angeles. He, of course, asked that his assignment remain in the Compton Courthouse. He currently presides over a long cause felony trial court.
Kelvin has been very active in legal and community activities. He was elected to the board of trustees for the Compton Unified School District in 1981 and served for three terms.
Judge Filer serves as a member of the California Judges Association, a founding Member of the Association of African American California Judicial officers; life member of the NAACP, life member of both the California Association of Black Lawyers and the John M. Langston Bar Association. He served several years as a member of the Board of Directors for the Compton Chamber of Commerce beginning in 1984. In 2007, Judge Filer was the recipient of the UC Santa Cruz “Distinguished Social Services Alumni Award” in recognition for his achievements in community, education and service. Among the many other honors and recognitions he has received, Judge Filer cherishes that in 2016 he was recognized as an “Outstanding Father” by the Long Beach Branch of the NAACP and in 2017, he was the recipient of the “Unsung Hero: Community Judiciary Award” by the City of Compton. In November, 2017, Judge Filer was inducted into the prestigious Hall of Fame of the John M. Langston Bar Association.
He works very closely with the youth of the community by participating in the Courthouse Interchange program as a presenter/lecturer at Compton High School. He also serves as a Judge for the Teen Court Program at Jordan High School and Compton High School. In 2010, Judge Filer was honored as an outstanding alumnus and inducted into the “Hall of Fame” for Compton High School.
Judge Filer’s career has always reflected his desire to do the right thing and his view that everyone deserves justice and equality. This ethos was reflected in a high-profile ruling that Judge Filer issued in September 2011 in the case of Obie Anthony. Filer found that Anthony had been wrongfully convicted of murder in 1995, and after holding an evidentiary hearing Judge Filer reversed the conviction! In Filer’s words, “an injustice had been done by this man’s conviction” and he ordered Anthony released from custody. Judge Filer subsequently made a judicial determination that Mr. Anthony was “factually innocent” of all charges. Since Judge Filer’s ruling, the State of California has implemented legislation that increases the penalties for California prosecutors who hide exculpatory material from the defense.
A member of First United Methodist Church, in Compton, Kelvin has two beautiful daughters – Brynne and Kree. Kelvin beams with pride about both of his daughters! Brynne is an aspiring singer/song writer. Kree is an attorney with her own private law office. Kelvin is a die-hard Lakers fan who enjoys music, movies, and playing basketball. He regularly writes poetry and also holds a patent for an invention – “Filers Flavored Filters” – which are specially flavored coffee filters that will produce gourmet/flavored coffee from brewing regular ground coffee. Judge Filer published his first book of poetry in 2010. The title is “Race Ipsa Loquitur – A Poetic Diary of My Journey from Compton to the Los Angeles Superior Court Bench.”
Founding Director, Center on Race, Leadership and Social Justice, University of St. Thomas School of Law, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Dr. Artika R. Tyner is a passionate educator, author, sought after speaker, and advocate for justice. At the University of St. Thomas School of Law, Dr. Tyner serves as the founding director of the Center on Race, Leadership and Social Justice. She is committed to training students to serve as social engineers who create new inroads to justice and freedom.
Tyner received her B.A. from Hamline University (Major: English; Certificate: Conflict Studies). Due to her passion for advocating for social justice and educational policy reform, she decided to pursue graduate studies at the University of St. Thomas. She began her journey with law school since she recognized that the law is a language of power and therefore she sought to become well versed in the law.
Subsequently, Tyner earned a Master of Public Policy and Leadership in order to gain tools for effecting social change through policy reform efforts. Later, inspired by the legacy of W.E.B. Dubois, she obtained a Doctorate in Leadership. Her doctoral studies provided her with key tools for serving in her community and promoting social justice.
Dr. Tyner is committed to empowering others to lead within their respective spheres of influence. She provides leadership development and career coaching for young professionals. She has also developed leadership educational materials for K-12 students, college/graduate students, faith communities and nonprofits. Additionally, Dr. Tyner teaches leadership coursework on ethics, critical reflection, and organizational development. Her research focuses on diversity/inclusion, community development, and civil rights. She has presented her research and conducted leadership training programs both nationally and internationally.
Dr. Tyner leads by example by organizing policy campaigns, fostering restorative justice practices, developing social entrepreneurship initiatives, and promoting assets-based community development. She serves as a global citizen by supporting education, entrepreneurship, and women’s leadership initiatives in Africa.
Acting Justice, New York State Supreme Court, New York, New York
J. Machelle Sweeting was elected from the historic 10th Municipal Court District in Harlem, New York and currently serves as an Acting Justice of the New York State Supreme Court. Judge Sweeting previously presided, for five years, in the New York County Family Court, over cases involving the most intimate disputes about child custody, visitation, guardianship and domestic violence. In addition, she presided over the nation’s first state-wide “Remote Access” Court, that allowed litigants to appear before the court via video.
Throughout her legal career, Judge Sweeting has remained steadfast in her commitment to ensuring that equality and justice remain at the forefront of our legal system. Prior to ascending to the bench, she served with distinction as an Administrative Law Judge, a Special Referee, an Assistant Corporation Counsel, an Assistant District Attorney, a Law Clerk to a Supreme Court and Appellate Justice and as an Adjunct Law Professor. Judge Sweeting earned her law degree from Rutgers University School of Law in Newark New Jersey and received a Certificate of Legal Education from the Eugene Dupuch Law School in Nassau, Bahamas.
Judge Sweeting is the first and only legal practitioner admitted to practice law in New York State (including the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York), Washington DC, the United States Supreme Court, the 2 nd and 4 th Circuit Courts of Appeal, and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
Judge Sweeting has held leadership positions in several local, state and national organizations including, but not limited to: the Family Court Judge’s Associations of New York City and New York State; the National Bar Association (Vice President of the Law and Religion Section and CoChaplain of the Judicial Council); The New York Women’s Bar Association; the Association of Black Women Attorneys; the Metropolitan Black Bar Association; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.; and the NAACP Mid-Manhattan Branch (Executive Committee, Chair of Religious Affairs and former 2 nd Vice President).
Judge Sweeting is the recipient of many awards. Most importantly, Judge Sweeting is a dedicated mentor to a countless number of students. She empowers them with information about their rights and responsibilities as citizens and encourages them to learn first-hand about the inner-workings of our judicial system. Her dedication to youth dates back to her days as a law student at Rutgers, where she established the law school's first legal training program for high school students.
Judge Sweeting continues to inspire a new generation of civic-minded progressive community leaders to pursue a career in law.
Third-Year Law Student and Student Body President, University of Texas School of Law, National Chairperson, National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA), Austin, Texas
Anthony Collier is the Student Body President at the University of Texas School of Law in Austin. He is also the Class of 2022 G. Rollie White Public Service Scholar, an honor that includes a competitively awarded full-tuition scholarship. Anthony is the Chair of the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA). Founded in 1968 and with over 6000 members, NBLSA is the largest student-run nonprofit in the nation. Last summer, Anthony was selected for the prestigious Kellogg's 2020 Law Fellow program in the NAACP office of the general counsel. Anthony currently works for Senator Borris Miles at the Texas State Capitol.
President, National Bar Association (2020-2021), CEO, The CK Hoffler Firm, Atlanta, Georgia
Tricia “CK” Hoffler is the CEO of The CK Hoffler Firm, an Atlanta-based law firm that specializes in representing plaintiffs in trucking accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, catastrophic personal injury, civil rights litigation, commercial litigation, employment discrimination, opioid litigation and global commercial transactions. Ms. Hoffler is licensed in 5 states including Georgia, Florida, Virginia, DC and Pennsylvania. To date, Ms. Hoffler has tried and/or settled cases totaling over $800 million. An accomplished attorney, Ms. Hoffler was previously a partner at Edmond, Lindsay & Hoffler, LLP and a partner at Gary, Williams et al. in Florida. While a partner at Gary, Williams et al., she ran the commercial and international litigation practice for Willie Gary for 12 years. She is also counsel to civil rights icon Reverend Jesse Jackson and has represented him, and the Rainbow Push and related organizations for the past 30 years. Ms. Hoffler also lectures extensively on trial strategies and winning trial techniques throughout the nation.
Ms. Hoffler brings a diverse set of skills and talents to the practice of law. She speaks French fluently and is proficient in Spanish and Portuguese.
Ms. Hoffler has managed several billion-dollar commercial cases, and in 2000, she co-led the trial team that won the largest medical negligence verdict ever in Roanoke, Virginia. She also co-led the trial team in 2012 and won the largest medical negligence verdict in Gwinnett County at that time. She has served as a trial lawyer on various other high-profile cases, including representation of the Roger Maris family against Anheuser-Bush in a breach of contract case that resulted in a $139 million-dollar verdict. Ms. Hoffler has also worked on significant civil rights and children’s rights cases that have resulted in bringing much needed justice for American citizens. She served as counsel in a class action lawsuit on behalf of 4,800 African- American and Latino civil service workers against the State of New York. Better known as Simpson v. State of New York, this case resulted in a historic settlement for the plaintiffs in 2010 and forced the elimination of the “battery test” as a basis for promotion within the ranks of civil servants in New York.
Ms. Hoffler has extensive professional work experience throughout Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. She has represented foreign interests and foreign governments and lobbied on behalf of various foreign countries while in practice in Washington, DC. She developed a new privatization practice for her firm in foreign markets, and managed the general representation of diverse local, national and international corporations and foreign governments. She participated in her firm's efforts to advise a foreign government on reformation of its drug trafficking and money laundering laws. In addition, she has furnished advice and counsel to various African nations, including Angola, Guinea (Conakry) and Gabon, concerning election procedures and policies, and helped coordinate US Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) participation in elections. She also provided on-going legal counsel to numerous foreign government clients in their democratization process.
Ms. Hoffler was educated in Switzerland (College du Leman, University of Geneva), Canada (Branksome Hall) and the United States. She received her law degree from Georgetown University and her undergraduate degree from Smith College.
A service-oriented attorney, Ms. Hoffler’s community involvement includes active participation in pro bono law clinics, extensive lecturing on First Amendment matters, women’s issues, children's concerns and international matters. She was intricately involved in the merit retention efforts related to the Florida Supreme Court and successfully co-chaired Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince's campaign for merit retention.
Ms. Hoffler served on the boards of The Pine School (Stuart, Florida), Georgetown University Law Alumni Board (Washington, DC), Planned Parenthood of South Florida (West Palm Beach, Florida) and Women in Philanthropy (Stuart, Florida - founding member), the Washington Urban League (Washington, DC), Norfolk Airport Authority (former Commissioner, Norfolk, Virginia), Places and Programs for Children, Inc. (Norfolk, Virginia), Old Dominion University Education Foundation (Norfolk, Virginia), and Contemporary Arts Center of Virginia (Virginia Beach, Virginia). She is also a very active member of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA) and hosts an informal shadowing program for lawyers throughout Georgia who she mentors. Ms. Hoffler is a frequent lecturer for various bar associations including the American Bar Association, GABWA, the Gate City Bar, and the National Bar Association, to name a few. She is frequently requested to lecture based on her knowledge and expertise in various trial strategies, and every aspect of trial work.
Ms. Hoffler is a trailblazing trial lawyer and has received numerous accolades and awards for outstanding contributions to her profession and philanthropy. Ms. Hoffler was named "Woman of the Year" for 2011/2012 by the National Association of Professional Women for her demonstrated excellence and dedication within her profession. She has also won numerous awards for excellence and her contributions as a lawyer. These awards include various National Bar Association Presidential Awards, the National Bar Association Governor’s Award, the Gate City Bar Association A.T. Walden “Legacy” Award, the “Esquire Award” for the Small Firms and Solo Practitioners’ Division of the National Bar Association, an award from the National Bar Judicial Council in recognition for commitment to service and outstanding fundraising in 2014, a Certificate of Silver Life Membership to the NAACP, the “Recognition of Support, Commitment, and Service” award from the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association, an award for Outstanding Service and Contributions to the Theological Scholarship Foundation of the Tidewater Metro Baptist Minister’s Conference, the “Majestic Leader” Award from The Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention, and a feature in the March 2012 edition of The Informer to name a few. In July 2018, she received the prestigious Leah Ward Sears Award for Distinction in the Profession Founders Award from GABWA.
Associate, Capital Markets Team, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Children’s Book Author of “A Very Special, A Very Perfect Day”, New York, New York
Alexi Thomas is an Associate on the Capital Markets team at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s New York Office. She graduated from Columbia College of Columbia University with a B.A. in Hispanic Studies in May 2016.
Fluent in Spanish, and proficient in French, she graduated with a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Columbia Law School and a Master of Business Administration from Columbia Business School in Spring 2019 at the age of 24 years old, as the youngest Black person ever to do so. She is a 2012 graduate of Bard High School Early College Queens.
Chair, National Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, Of Counsel, Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Washington, DC
Onika K. Williams is Of Counsel in Steptoe & Johnson LLP's Transportation practice in Washington, DC.
She majored in International Business and minored in Asian Studies at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. After graduating, Onika taught English in Japan through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme before attending law school at Indiana University Maurer School of Law. As a law student, Onika served on the Indiana Law Journal as a Notes and Comments Editor, as Co-President of the Feminist Law Forum, as President of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, and as Enlightenment Chair for the Black Law Students Association. After graduating, Onika clerked for the Honorable Henry Lee Adams, Jr. in the Middle District of Florida and for administrative judges at the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Onika serves as the 2020-21 Chair of the National Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. A member of the Florida Bar and the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, Onika was named 2019 Young Lawyer of the Year by the Washington Bar Association Young Lawyers Division; a 2019 “Nation’s Best Advocates” 40 under 40 Honoree by the National Bar Association; and “Top 40 Under 40” of Washington, D.C. by The National Black Lawyers in 2020, 2019, and 2018.
Chair, Women Lawyers Division, National Bar Association, Associate General Counsel, Baptist Memorial Health Care, Memphis, Tennessee
Attorney Sharon Bridges is the Chair of the National Bar Association Women Lawyers Division (“WLD”). She is a nurse attorney with over 20 years of experience in commercial transactions, compliance, corporate governance, employment, litigation and mergers and acquisitions. Attorney Bridges currently serves as Associate General Counsel for Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation, Memphis, Tennessee.
Attorney Bridges has been an active leader in the National Bar Association, she has served as General Counsel, Vice President, Board Member At Large, Regional Director, Section and currently serves as Chair for the Women Lawyers Division. Attorney Bridges serves on the Women Leadership Council for the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA) and serves as Treasurer for the Mississippi Corporate Counsel Association.
During the 2020-2021 bar year, under the leadership of Chair Bridges, the Women Lawyers Division hosted a myriad of webinars on personal and professional development topics, advocacy and international issues. The four-month-long We Empower Mentoring Program was launched for African American women law students attending the HBCU law schools. The purpose of the mentoring program is to assist participants to successfully transition from law student to practicing attorney. The WLD International Committee hosted events to strengthen the bonds with our sister lawyers in Africa. Front Line women lawyers were recognized for their outstanding leadership in the profession. The Respect Yourself Program will continue its legacy by hosting a virtual empowerment program for middle and high school girls during the 2021 NBA Convention.
Attorney Bridges obtained her undergraduate degree in Nursing from Morris Brown College and Juris Doctorate from Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is licensed to practice in Louisiana and Mississippi. Attorney Bridges enjoys mentoring college and law school students, playing tennis, attending live sports and music events, reading and traveling. She serves as Adjunct Faculty in the Pre-Law Division at Jackson State University and is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. where she had the honor of serving as International Program Chairman from 2010-2014.
Administrative Law Judge, City of Houston Municipal Courts Department, Houston, Texas
Judge Oswald James Scott, Jr. began his legal career as a solo practitioner practicing civil, criminal and probate law in state and federal courts. Judge Scott was appointed as Associate Municipal Court Judge for the City of Houston by Mayor Lee P. Brown in 1999. He worked over fifteen years as an Associate Judge handling various court dockets presiding over cases involving traffic, criminal offenses and city ordinance violations. Judge Scott was appointed to preside in Municipal Court No. 10 in 2014 by Mayor Annise Parker. Judge Scott earned his Bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1979 and achieved his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Southern University Law Center of Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1984. He has been admitted to the Texas and Louisiana State Bars.
Owner, The Law Firm of Andrea Hence Evans, LLC, Laurel, Maryland
Andrea Hence Evans, Esq. launched the intellectual property law practice, The Law Firm of Andrea Hence Evans, LLC. Attorney Evans career path is unique since she worked at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for 5 years as both a patent examiner and a trademark examining attorney after graduating from law school.
While working as a Trademark Examining Attorney, she examined all types of trademarks including design marks, word marks, Madrid applications, and configuration trademark applications to determine eligibility for registration on the Principal or Supplemental Register. This examination included conducting a search using the USPTO automated search tools to determine whether the applicant’s mark was similar to prior pending applications and also whether the goods or services were closely related to registrant’s such that there is a likelihood of confusion as defined under Trademark Act Section 2(d). Extensive legal research was also conducted to determine whether or not the applicant’s proposed mark was descriptive, misdescriptive, a surname, geographically descriptive, or geographically misdescriptive as defined under Trademark Act Sections 2(e)(1), 2(e)(2), 2(e)(3) and 2(e)(4), respectively.
Prior to working as a Trademark Examining Attorney, Attorney Evans began her career at the USPTO as a Patent Examiner. As a Patent Examiner, she examined patent applications in the electrical and mechanical engineering areas featuring printing, keyboards, and time measuring devices. She researched prior art using USPTO automated tools to determine whether the applications complied with patent laws and rules such as novelty (Section 102) and obviousness (Section 103). She is extremely familiar with patent and trademark policies, procedures, and USPTO guidelines.
Andrea Hence Evans, Esq. is a graduate of The George Washington Law School in Washington, DC. While attending law school, she took advantage of the school’s world-renowned intellectual property curriculum and studied and excelled in the following courses: patent law, unfair competition, and trademark law, computer law, and international comparative patent law.
During the school year and summers, Attorney Evans worked at Staas & Halsey, LLP in Washington, DC as a law clerk where she assisted in writing patent infringement reports to clients who were considering whether or not to file patents as well as for patent owners. Also, Attorney Evans worked at Pennie & Edmonds, LLP in the Washington, DC office as a summer associate where she worked in the mechanical engineering group on patent prosecution and patent litigation projects including legal research and writing, prior art searches, and writing patent applications.
Attorney Evans is a graduate of Spelman College and Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in Atlanta, Georgia, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and a Bachelor of Civil Engineering, respectively. She participated in a 5-year dual-degree engineering program. After high school, she received the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) full-tuition academic scholarship to Spelman College and Georgia Tech from NASA and worked on numerous engineering projects at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas as a summer intern.
Andrea Hence Evans, Esq. is a member of the Texas Bar and the United States Supreme Court bar. She is also a registered Patent Attorney.
She received the 2011 Nation’s Best Advocate of the Year award and the Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40 award from the National Bar Association (NBA) and IMPACT.
Attorney | Administrative Judge | Professor-Online | Legal, Educational Consultant, Writer | Curriculum Developer/Designer, Houston, Texas
Executive Director, Just The Beginning – A Pipeline Organization, Chicago, Illinois
Antonette N. Smith was appointed Executive Director of JTB – APO in September 2017. She brings with her over 20 years of experience working in legal association management, diversity, equity & inclusion, and youth mentoring. Most recently she served as the Associate Director of Educational Programs for the American Bar Association Section of Real Property Trust & Estate Law. While there she successfully organized and executed several Community Outreach Programs with over 50 national and local minority bar associations across the country. These programs were successful in providing not only free continuing legal education to minority lawyers so that they could in turn better serve their communities, but they also created long-lasting relationships between the bar associations and their members. Antonette developed & managed the Section’s in-house eLearning program tripling program production and revenue in under 2 years. Antonette has also served as a Diversity & Inclusion speaker to incoming law students at New York Law School.
In 2008 while serving as Schiff Hardin LLP’s Manager of Professional Development and Diversity for the firm’s nine offices, Antonette had her first contact with JTB-APO. She credits that single day of working with students in the Chicago Summer Legal Institute as igniting her “JTB Spark.” That interaction was the catalyst for her increased involvement in youth mentoring in Chicago, work for which she is the proudest. She has been a youth mentor and counselor for over 10 years. Antonette’s expert project management skills and work in the legal community coupled with passion and proven commitment to youth mentoring positions her perfectly to lead JTB – APO.
Antonette has lived in Chicago for over 25 years where she is an active member of her community. She received a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Tennessee State University in Nashville, TN
Clinical Professor of Legal Research, Writing and Advocacy, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, Dallas, Texas
Dr. Duréus served as a judicial clerk intern for Chief Judge William Stuart for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. Following graduation she worked in civil litigation at Gardere & Wynne, L.L.P. in Dallas, was a shareholder at Chapman & Reese, P.C., and returned to Iowa as an Associate Professor of Law at Drake University where she taught civil procedure, evidence and legal research & writing. She has served as Senior Counsel and the Chair of the Ecclesiastical Section of White & Wiggins, L.L.P. in Dallas since 1994 as a consultant, and is the Founder and President of Katallasso Ministries International™.
Third-Year Law Student, St. John’s University School of Law, National Director of Community Service, National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA), Queens, New York
As a descendant of survivors of the Middle Passage, Catherine strives to honor her ancestors through her work for racial justice and healing. She is using her platforms as a racial justice trainer and law student to push for racial equity and healing. Catherine taught for Dallas Independent School District and Brookhaven College and is currently a second-year law student at St. John's University. Catherine double-majored and earned a B.A. in Philosophy; Government and Politics and earned a M.A. in Government and Politics with a concentration in International Relations. She also holds an advanced certificate in International Law & Diplomacy.
Director, Pre-Law Institute and Center for Post-Graduate Opportunities, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York CUNY, New York City, New York
Dr. Charles Robert Davidson is the Director of the Pre-Law Institute and Center for Post-Graduate Opportunities at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Before becoming the Director of the Pre-Law Institute and the Center for Post-Graduate Opportunities, Dr. Davidson served the college as Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching. Prior to coming to John Jay, Dr. Davidson was an Assistant Professor of International Law at the American University in Cairo (AUC), where he taught courses in Public International Law, International Criminal Law and International Law and Development, among other courses. He has taught in numerous law, graduate, and undergraduate programs in the US and abroad in the fields of law and international relations. In addition to his classroom teaching, Dr. Davidson served in various administrative capacities including Director of Undergraduate Programs, Pre-Law Advisor, and Coordinator of International Law Programs.
Concurrent with his teaching, Dr. Davidson worked on a wide variety of law reform projects around the world, primarily in the Middle East and the former Soviet Union. He has worked with the Civic Education Project, Open Society Foundation (Budapest), the Ford Foundation, USAID, and other sponsors of international rule of law and legal and higher education support programs. Dr. Davidson was an advisor and special consultant with the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative in the Middle East and North Africa, mentoring and training law professors, young lawyers, and recent law graduates. Dr. Davidson was a member of the US Department of Justice’s Honors Program and worked as an Attorney-Advisor for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. In addition to his law degree (JD), Dr. Davidson also holds a BA in French, a MA in Law and Diplomacy and a PhD in International Relations.
Experienced Leader | Political Strategist | Government Relations Specialist, Education Advocate | Strategic Solutions Generator, Washington, DC
Chibundu is an advocacy veteran who most recently served as Deputy Campaign Manager for Martin for Ward 2 and Political Associate/Scheduling and Advance Lead for Biden for America and Bernie 2020. He has been working in politics, government, education and advocacy for the past 12 years. Chibundu is a native Houstonian who resides in southeast Washington, DC with his beautiful wife, Katelyn, and their newborn son, Chibundu Achebe Nnake II. He also enjoys baking sourdough bread, making homemade pasta, traveling, and playing all types of sports including softball, kickball, flag football, and golf. Some of his favorite shows include The Wire, This is Us, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones (sans the last season), and Mad Men. He enjoys the musical machinations of Jay-Z, Prince, Coldplay, Lil’ Baby, Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Jeezy and Marvin Sapp. He is currently reading Babywise, The Mamba Mentality, and just finished The Color of Law. Chibundu received his B.A. in Sociology with minors in Spanish and African/African American Studies from The Ohio State University (OSU) where he served as a Resident Advisor, member of the Ohio State Varsity Football team, and was crowned Homecoming King. He also received his J.D. and MBA with a concentration in Nonprofits, Real Estate, and Strategy & Entrepreneurship from Southern Methodist University’s (SMU) Dedman School of Law and Cox School of Business, where he served in numerous leadership capacities including as the National Chair of the National Black Law Students Association, Lieutenant Governor for the American Bar Association Law Student Division, and student liaison to the SMU Board of Trustees. Chibundu currently works at NetApp on their Government Relations team. He serves as a Co-chair of the DC Education Pioneers Alumni Board and serves on the Arena Stage Young Patrons Board. He mentors students through Capital Partners for Education, while serving on their Mentor Leadership Council.
Judge, 270th District Court, Houston, Texas
Judge Dedra Davis is judge of the 270th District Court. She is one of the illustrious 17 African American females elected as judge on November 6, 2018. Since that time, she has successfully executed her campaign promises. In fact, prior to starting the job on January 1, 2019, Judge Davis had already scheduled 320 students to visit the 270th courtroom. By January 2020, she had almost 1000 students visit her courtroom, as well as many participating in her Leadership program. Judge Davis immediately put her words into action!
Judge Davis has been innovative and creative while on the bench. A true public servant serving the public. One example is she implemented a weekly “telephone docket.” Lawyers not wanting to waste time coming to the courthouse, looking/paying for parking, or going through the courthouse security line, could simply call in for their hearings. Additionally, Judge Davis was the only State Judge in Harris County allowing “video” appearances hosted by COURT CALL, prior to the pandemic.
Before becoming a state judge, Judge Davis made the world take notice as a litigation attorney when she began fearlessly representing Saregama India Limited (located in Mumbai, India) against Dr. Dre, Aftermath Records, Interscope Records, and Universal Records in a copyright infringement case that could yield record-breaking amounts in damages. She definitely lived up to the nickname of being a “bulldog” during negotiations and litigation.
Judge Davis became one of the most highly sought after speakers in the nation on Entertainment Law issues including, but not limited to, Copyright Law, music publishing, Corporate Law, and independent record label matters, as well as being sought after to speak on women’s issues.
Judge Davis’ extensive experience as a guest speaker, moderator, keynote speaker and panelist derives from her frequent appearances as a speaker for organizations, universities, law schools, and associations inside and outside of the United States.
Judge Davis is CEO of Loving Music Forever Publishing and CEO of Dedra’s Entertainment Group, a marketing and promotion company which successfully produced events such as Black Cinema Cafe-Houston, Producer’s Panel, NABFEME “Living Your Dream” event, NABFEME mix and mingle reception, BESLA fundraiser, etc.
Judge Davis is the recipient of numerous awards including being formerly named “Legal Executive of the Year,” receiving a “Dedra Davis’ Day” from a Houston Mayor, and a proclamation from a Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.
Judge Davis received her Bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University, and her Doctor of Jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law.
Judge Davis is a member of the Texas Bar College, American Bar Association, Houston Bar Association, Association of Women Attorneys, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., NAACP, ACLU, and a number of other groups and organizations.
Visionary & Executive Director, Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation, Inc., Durham, North Carolina
A native of Durham, North Carolina, DeWarren K. Langley, JD, MPA is the Visionary & Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation, Inc., a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit academic, career & leadership empowerment organization that provides a seamless continuum of programs and services to educate, empower and support young men of color to navigate college to career, improve academic and career outcomes and remedy systemic barriers to black excellence to ensure all young men of color have equal opportunity to lead successful and meaningful lives. He is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day administration, programs, college outreach and strategic plan.
DeWarren is a higher education professional with a focus on optimizing student academic and professional success through intensive one-on-one mentoring and high quality programs focused on retention, success, graduation and employment. He has excellent qualitative and quantitative data analysis skills to ensure programs and services are producing measurable results in student success.
DeWarren has received numerous awards and honors for his work to improve the college and career success of underserve youth, mitigate juvenile delinquency, empower & engage youth local policy-making, end& the school-to-prison pipeline, address persistent opportunity gaps faced by young men of color, improve community-police relations, increase affordable housing and expand job readiness training program.
He worships as a member of First Calvary Baptist Church where he is active with the Young Adults Ministry, Male Summit Ministry, Project FINE, and Budget Committee.
Education Strategist, Neurodiversity Advocate and Speaker, Practegy, LLC, New Orleans, Louisiana
Nichelle N. Cook, JD, MA is a multi-disciplinary expert at addressing inequities that impact the academic and professional success of individuals living with neurobehavioral challenges. Having been formally trained in the fields of education, law and policy coupled with years of experience within the field of public health, her diverse background allows for a unique blend of skills that lend themselves to innovatively crafting solutions that respect and honor neurodiverse populations. She often credits her deep passion for these issues to having personally battled undiagnosed I-ADHD for most of her life. Like over 40% to 60% of individuals who share her diagnosis, anxiety has also been a constant. Inspired by her faith, she continues to persevere in hopes of inspiring and unlocking the potential of others who share similar plights.
Nichelle is a native of Kentwood, LA and a proud graduate of Spelman College where she received her BA in Political Science. She also holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) degree from Loyola University New Orleans and two Masters of Art degrees from Xavier University of Louisiana in Educational Leadership/Administration and Curriculum and Instruction. In the Fall of 2021, she plans to pursue graduate study at Teachers College - Columbia University of New York in clinical neuropsychology in hopes of expanding her work on behalf of neurodiverse learners. Specifically, her research interests include examining the inequities that exist in the identification, instruction and support of gifted/twice-exceptional learners and evaluating the mental health needs of high-functioning minority professionals in high-stress careers.
Second-Year Law Student, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Director of Community Service, Southern Region, National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA), Atlanta, Georgia
An ambitious law student who has finished coursework to receive her bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s Degree in legal studies. In both of her internship experience with the District Attorney’s office in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, an intern with a court advocate at Turning Point of Alabama, a legal assistant/receptionist for the Akbar Law Firm, and recent position as a paralegal at Legal Services of North Florida, she
has gained very valuable legal experience. Opening and closing case files, drafting legal documents, filing legal documents within the court's e-filing system, docketing/filing, court procedures, and requesting and sending discovery are tasks that she is extremely familiar with. In addition to her legal experience, she has experience as a front desk receptionist in her time as a student worker in the Dean’s office on the College of Arts and Sciences. She has experience with tasks such as answering phones, scheduling appointments, customer service skills, and client services.
Podcast Host, The Legal Learning Podcast, Lawyer, Legal Learning Center by Jolene Blackbourn, La Crescenta, California
Jolene Blackbourn, Esq. is a California attorney who left her senior level position at a Fortune almost-100 company to become a full-time counselor to pre-law and law students. She has been advising students since she was one herself and has been giving speeches at universities and conventions for 20 years. Jolene teaches not just tips, but strategies to help students save time, money and stress before, during and after law school so they are able to reach their career goals and live the life they always dreamed.
Executive Director Emeritus, National Bar Association, Suitland, Maryland
Executive Director Emeritus of the National Bar Association (NBA), John Crump received his BA degree in 1967 and his Juris Doctor in 1970 from Texas Southern University, and embarked on a 30-year career of service to the bar and the legal profession. From the start he distinguished himself as a visionary leader of the NBA, increasing its membership and helping it make an impact by lending monetary support to civil rights attorneys pursuing discrimination cases. Under Crump’s leadership the NBA continued to be a powerhouse for civil rights.
The American Bar Association (ABA) noted Crump’s contribution to the NBA and the legal profession, presenting him a Lifetime Achievement Award at its mid-year meeting February 6, 2010, “in recognition of outstanding service to the bar, the profession, and the ABA’s goal of eliminating bias and enhancing diversity.”
A champion of diversity in the legal profession, Crump always believed that if America is to become a country of inclusion the legal system must lead the way. To this end he set out to find a way to motivate young students to seek careers in the legal profession. In 2001 he established the NBA Crump Law Camp to introduce 14-17 year olds in the 9th through 11th grades to the American judicial system. Housed at Howard University, the two-week residential program provides students a rigorous academic agenda, exposure to the courts, and lectures by top legal professionals in the nation’s capitol. The Crump Law Camp has become the centerpiece of the NBA’s effort to “grow lawyers of color” and a model for other bar associations.
As a testament to Crump’s commitment to diversity the Council on Legal Education Opportunity presented him the Diversity Pioneer Award on its 40th anniversary in 2008. Diversity & the Bar Magazine (January/February 2009) chronicled his NBA career and highlighted his contribution to the NBA’s development and character. Also citing his contribution to the NBA, the Washington Bar Association presented him its 2009 President’s Recognition Award.
Recipient of numerous awards from civic, professional, and educational organizations throughout his career, Crump says that serving as NBA executive director for three decades was more than a job or title, it was a commitment.
He is married to the former Edythe Traylor; they have one son, Jason.
Agricultural, Cannabis, and Dietary Supplement Attorney, Doumar, Allsworth, Laystrom, Voigt, Adair, and Dishowitz LLP, Lake Worth, Florida
Scheril Murray Powell, Esq. is an Agricultural, Cannabis, and Dietary Supplement Attorney at Doumar, Allsworth, Laystrom, Voigt, Adair, and Dishowitz LLP. Scheril also serves as the Director of Business Development of Creative Services, a FCRA Compliance, Background Screening, and Security Firm. The Daily Business Review has named her one of the Top 12 Cannabis Attorney’s in Florida. Her practice covers both the Marijuana and Hemp Industries, specializing in Cannabinoid legalization and UK Novel Foods registration. Scheril serves on the Board of one of the oldest Cannabis Advocacy Organizations, Patients Out of Time. She is the former Executive Director of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists of Florida and former Director of Federal Affairs for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Scheril is on the Hemp Pilot Program Advisory Board for the University of Florida and serves on the Broward County, Florida Medical Marijuana Advisory Board. She is on the board for the Friends of Hemp and was a Founding Board Member for the U.S. Hemp Builders Association (not to be confused with the U.S. Hemp Building Association Foundation). She is also President of consulting firm Green Sustainable Strong, LLC. In her spare time she volunteers with the Winrock Foundation delivering Marketing training to Farmers in Ghana, Africa. In 2018, she was a recipient of the Crohns Foundation Blood, Sweat, and Tears Award, and the Cannabis Business Award's Industry MVP Award. She is former In House Counsel for Sunflora/ Your CBD Store and former In House Counsel for Green Roads World.
She is a graduate of Florida International University College of Law. As a Cannapreneur, Scheril is the President of Canna Headhunters, a staffing agency in the Cannabis Industry that connects Cannabis talent to opportunities. She has been selected to present at a number of Cannabis Conferences including the South East Cannabis Conference The Hemp and CBD Expo in the United Kingdom, The American Bar Association Cannabis Symposium: “From Regs to Riches”, the Women Grow Leadership Sumit, the Emerge Conference, the U.S. Cannabis Conference, Canex Jamaica Conference, South East Cannabis Conference, SHE-CANN, Cannaday, The University of the West Indies Caribbean Neuroscience Conference, Women Grow Leadership Summit, National Association of State Credit Unions, The Kentucky Hemp Convention, The Kentucky State Hemp Symposium, the University of Technology Jamaican Medical Cannabis Integrated Symposium, The Women of Cannabis Conference, the Cannabis Science Conference, Detroit’s Canna Con, Florida Medical Marijuana Conference, and Canna-Ed Conference hosted by the Florida Cannabis Coalition. She has been asked to speak at Jamaica’s Pharmacological Board Mandatory Meetings and Jamaica Bureau of Standards meetings based on her international reputation as a Cannabis Expert. In May of 2019, she planned and hosted the 1st Annual Cannurban-Unifest Agricultural Symposium in collaboration with the City of Lauderdale Lakes and the FAMU-Cannurbian Hemp Town Hall with Florida A&M University. Scheril was the regular Cannabis Law expert on Cannabis Law Radio every Saturday morning on Cannabis Life Radio and launched a Cannabis Talk Show called “Terps in the City” in Summer of 2019. She presented at the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists Joint Conference in August 2016 on the topic of: “Exposing the Truth: Getting Access to Audio and Video Evidence in Police Involved Shootings”.
Scheril served as both the Secretary and Treasurer of the FIU College of Law Alumni Board. While at FIU Law, she was the Charter President of the Palm Beach ABA Student Organization and a member and coach of the Board of Advocates Negotiation Team. In 2013, Scheril won the FIU Law Intramurals Negotiation Competition, also she and her partner won the ABA Southern Region Negotiation Competition. In 2014, she and her partner came in 2nd place in the Nelson Mandela International Negotiation Competition and she was awarded the distinction of Best Overall Negotiator for her efforts. Scheril served on the Black Law Student Association’s National Board for two years and is passionate about eradicating sex trafficking and other social justice issues such as police brutality. She has interned at the State Attorney’s office in the 15th Judicial Circuit of Palm Beach County and for two judges of the 17th Judicial Circuit of Broward County. In the summer of 2014, she served as an Anti-Defamation League Summer Associate.
She believes that practicing the law and advocacy for the disadvantaged go hand in hand. She is an activist and has dedicated her time and resources to promoting awareness, access to educational resources, and support for survivors of domestic violence and trafficking. She has a Facebook page called “Police Chronicles” which documents national police interactions with the community. She mentors Pre-Law and Law School students of diverse backgrounds and has been a speaker at the Black and Hispanic Prelaw Conference, the Diversity Prelaw Conference, and the HBCU Prelaw Summit and Expo. Law is a second career for Scheril. She spent over a decade in the wireless industry working for T-Mobile, USA; T-Mobile, UK; RIM BlackBerry; and MetroPCS as a Customer Retention Strategist and Marketing Interface Manager rolling out training, technical change, cultural change, and process improvement projects Nationwide. Scheril received her undergraduate Business Management degree from Florida Atlantic University with a minor in Marketing where she pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and served as the Student Government Senate Speaker for seven campuses.
Director and Producer, Author and Speaker, School Dismissed LLC, Los Angeles, California
Stacie McClam is graduate of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. She is also an educator, author, and filmmaker. She is the founder of School Dismissed LLC, a company that bridges education, film, and law. She has ten years of elementary teaching experience and has taught across the United States and abroad. Stacie was the host of Teacher Talks on TRIBE Family Channel for 3 seasons. In 2018, she wrote a book entitled, School Dismissed: Walking Away From Teaching, where she describes why she left the teaching profession. As a teacher turned filmmaker, Stacie uses her law degree to inform her education-related films. She is currently directing her first documentary, Robbed: A Mother’s Peril - The Kelley Williams-Bolar Story.
Director of Bar Support and Assistant Teaching Professor, Drexel University Klein School of Law, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Professor Yolanda Ingram is an experienced legal educator and academic support professional with a wealth of knowledge in student services that include Title IX, American Disability Act accommodations and diversity.
Previously, Professor Ingram served as dean of students and director of Academic Success & Bar Strategies at Penn State University’s Dickinson School of Law, where she taught Bar Skills courses and oversaw a comprehensive program to support students preparing for the exam.
She joined the Kline School of Law faculty in 2019 but continues to serve as an instructional mediator in a pilot program launched in 2018 by the Council on Legal Education Opportunities, a national organization that expands opportunities for minority and low-income students to attend law school. She serves on the Student Services Planning Committee of the Association of American Law Schools.
Her article, “Promoting Inclusion and Equity: Connecting Disciplines in Legal Education,” is forthcoming in St. Marys’ Law Review on Race and Social Justice.
Professor Ingram has extensive experience in numerous aspects of law school administration. Prior to leading the Dickinson Law’s Office of Student Services, she led Washburn University’s School of Law’s Office of Admission. For 10 years, she was the assistant dean for student affairs at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. In the capacity, she also served as director of the state’s only conditional admissions program and diversity pipeline program for college students, the Tennessee Institute for Pre-Law. During her decade in Memphis, the pre-law program was able to substantially increase the state law schools’ diversity enrollment each year.
She taught Legal Writing at both Memphis Law and Temple University Beasley School of Law.
Professor Ingram co-founded the Memphis Bar Association’s Summer Law Internship Program for diverse high school students. In 2008, Ingram was awarded the bar association’s President’s Award for her work with the internship program, which placed 100 high school students in paid internship with Memphis law office in one summer. In 2011, she was awarded the National Bar Association’s President’s Award for creating a mentorship program for Memphis Law’s Black Law Student Association members by the local chapter members.
Ingram clerked for Judge Jay A. Daugherty of the Jackson County Circuit Court in Kansas City, Missouri. Before her judicial clerkship, she taught legal research and writing at Temple University Beasley School of Law. Prior to teaching at Temple Law, she was an associate with the Polsinelli Law Firm where she practiced in the areas of eminent domain law, land use/zoning, landlord/tenant disputes and property tax appeals.
She received her JD from Washburn University School of Law, where she was on the Washburn Law Journal and graduated with Dean’s Honors. She was a teaching assistant for the Academic Support Program in her second year of law school and in her third year, she was selected by the associate dean for academic affairs to serve as the first student director of the program.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager, Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, Chicago, Illinois
Kendra L. Abercrombie is the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Manager at the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, where she leads the Commission’s educational and advocacy initiatives aimed at promoting DEI in the legal and justice systems.
As DEI Manager, Kendra develops and delivers legal education on DEI and other professionalism topics and manages the Commission’s involvement in the Jumpstart program for historically underrepresented law students.
In addition, Kendra develops new strategic partnerships addressing DEI challenges in the legal profession and administers metrics to track the effectiveness of the Commission’s strategic goals and programming related to DEI.
Prior to joining the Commission, Kendra was Associate Director of Admissions and Diversity Recruitment and Assistant Director of Admissions and Diversity Initiatives at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law. Earlier in her career, Kendra was an Admissions Counselor and Recruiter at Arizona Summit Law School.
Kendra has served as an instructor of legal research and writing at the Indiana Conference for Legal Education Opportunity and an adjunct professor in economics at Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington, Ind.
She was a member of the Law School Admissions Council’s Irregularities and Misconduct Committee, has served on diversity councils at Indiana University and the Maurer School of Law, and was an advisor to Maurer’s Black Law Student Association.
Kendra holds a JD from Arizona Summit Law School, an MBA from the Kogod School of Business at American University, and a BA from the University of Georgia.
In April 2021, Kendra received the Dean Frank Motley Outstanding Faculty and Staff Award from Maurer’s Black Law Student Association. The award is granted to faculty and staff who have provided years of unwavering dedication and service to the Maurer community.
In her free time Kendra enjoys traveling, all things Beyonce, and college football season (as an avid Georgia Bulldogs fan).
Second-Year Law Student, Southern University Law Center, Southwestern Regional Director of Community Service, NBLSA, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Kornicha Johnson, born and raised in Mississippi, is a 2L at the Southern University Law Center.
Her academic tenure has included obtaining a Master’s and Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice.
During her undergraduate career, she was inducted into the Who’s Who Class of 2018 for her
notable service within the community, exceptional campus involvement, and academic
excellence at the University of Mississippi. With a tender heart for prison reforms and zeal for
criminal defense in underserved communities, Ms. Johnson has also published rehabilitation
research. Some of Ms. Johnson’s work within the community has included co-leading a
restorative justice project at a MS Correctional Facility, organizing a service day at a Veterans
Home, co-leading a Christmas donation to underprivileged families, and mentoring highschool
and first year college students. Ms. Johnson’s involvement did not cease upon her time at
Southern University Law Center. She serves as the Regional Community Service Director for
BLSA, a Board Member for Trial Advocacy, a Board Member for Moot Court, a Marshall
Brennan Fellow, and Lexis Nexis Representative. This summer, Ms. Johnson continued her
passion for serving the community as a Law Clerk for the East Baton Rouge Public Defender’s
Office. Ms. Johnson’s plans upon graduation is to become a defense attorney and continue to
respond to many deficiencies in overlooked communities.
Attorney Advisor, U.S. Small Business Administration, Washington, DC
Growing up in a family of business owners ranging in industries from fashion and beauty, to trucking, Ashley Cloud has always been passionate about entrepreneurism in the black community. Currently, Ms. Cloud is an Attorney for the U.S. Small Business Administration, the federal agency tasked with providing support and services to the nation’s small businesses. Most recently, Ashley has focused her practice on participating in and developing programs to assist small businesses in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ashley received her law degree and M.B.A. from Howard University in 2016. During her time at Howard, Ashley served as Co-Founder and the inaugural President of the Fashion Law Society at Howard Law - the first of its kind in the Washington, D.C. area. She also served as Co-Chair of Fashion Law Week, an annual week-long symposium that focused on the emerging legal issues facing the fashion community. Ms. Cloud is currently a member of the New York City Bar Fashion Law Committee. In 2020 and at the height of overdue attention to the issues facing Black people in America, Ashley organized and moderated a panel with thought leaders discussing solutions to the diversity issue in the fashion industry.
In her free time, Ashley enjoys mentoring aspiring black attorneys, practicing yoga, traveling, and styling her favorite thrift store finds.
Non-Traditional Educator and Creative, Washington, DC
Preshona Ambrita Ghose, M.Ed is a passionate, non-traditional educator & creative whose mission/purpose is to spread the stories of people of color on this planet, while de-mystifying the ones we’ve been told. Combining many of her fields of practice, her Masters in Special Education, and B.A. in Media Cross-Cultural Hegemony with Spanish & International Studies Minors, she created the bilingual I Am Sun program, to prepare young students for college-preparatory exams from a young age, while embracing the perspectives, stories & histories of diverse communities.
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