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Northern virginia black attorneys association


VSB's 2024 Bar Association of the Year!

  • May 31, 2024
  • 7:30 AM
  • Hilton Garden Inn - Virginia Beach Oceanfront (Nautilus Ballroom)


Registration is closed

Y'all, WE did it!!!

I learned on Thursday that NOVABAA had been selected by the Council for Local and Specialty Bar Associations as its Bar Association of the Year!  This is a tremendous honor!  To be clear, the VSB separates awards for Bar Leaders into Specialty and Local Bar subgroups, so that there is a separate award for Specialty Bar Presidents (such as NOVABAA, Hispanic Bar, APABAVA, NVWAA, etc.) vs. Local Bar Presidents (such as Fairfax Bar, Arlington Bar, Alexandria Bar, Prince William Bar, etc.).  But in the Bar Association of the Year category, there is no such distinction.  Meaning, NOVABAA competed against ALL Bar Associations in Virginia, big, small, local, specialty, established, new - you name it.

I was floored, but wanted to reach out personally to our founding members and my officers and board members as well to thank them for everything. This would not have happened without their heroic efforts.  Many of our Founding members from 41 years ago are no longer with us, but I do want to take this time to recognize those among us that are still here and active:  Hon. Janice Wellington, Ms. Inga Watkins, Ms. Edna Ruth Vincent, Hon. Rossie D. Alston, Jr., Hon. Gerald Bruce Lee, Hon. Nolan Dawkins, and Hon. William T. Newman, Jr..  To you all, I thank each and every one of you for the vision and foresight to band together after bearing witness to the use of the "N Word" from the podium at one of our local bar association meetings, and create a safe space for us all.  And by "us all," I mean "US," "ALL."  The organization is thriving, and I'm glad you all are here to see it.

I also want to thank the best d*mn Board on the planet!  I specifically want to thank our VP Lindsay Powell, our (current) Secretary Madison Gibbs, our Treasurer Chidinma Harley, and our (former) Secretary Kiara Swinton.  They all have put up with my foolishness and shenanigans for the past four years.   I also want to put a special thank you in to our 40th Anniversary Planning Committee (in addition to our previously mentioned officers):  Donna Banks, Kellie Budd, Bukky Brown, Andrew Clarke, Natasha Hudgins, LaCresha Johnson, Tamika Jones, Margeaux Thomas.  We met weekly for that event for nearly 6 months!  You all will never get enough credit for the work you did.  I also want to thank the rest of our Committee Chairs

Archives - Antwoine Coleman / Leon Stern
Black History Month -  Willie Wilson-Herring

BLSA Liaison - Cameron Williams
Bylaws - Robert Bryan
CLE - Kellie Budd
Community Service - Marcia Payne
Criminal Justice Diversity Liaison - Lavonda Graham-Williams
Health and Wellness - Melanie Wright
Judicial Selection - Rex Flynn / Keith Minson
Local and Specialty Bar Liaison - Kiah Spinks
Membership - Aubrey Carew Sizer
Mentorship - Hasina Lewis
NAACP Liaison / Social Justice - Makan Shirafkin
Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce Liaison - Amber Orr
Parliamentarian - Andrew Clarke
Professional Development - Chanel Jackson
Social - Synda Mark
Website - Patricia Donkor

I don't ask for much (that's a d*mn lie), but I am asking every loyal daughter and son of NOVABAA to join us on stage as we accept this award, at the Virginia State Bar Annual meeting.  Our award ceremony will be at the Council for Local and Specialty Awards Breakfast at 7:30am, at the Hilton Garden Inn, Virginia Beach Oceanfront, in the Nautilus Room. The Breakfast is Absolutely Free!  This award is a once in a lifetime event, and I hope want to see all of us in attendance from our Founding Members to our Law Student Members (and everyone in between!), I want you there!  You can rest assured that for all of you that I see between now and May 31, you WILL be getting pressed about your attendance.  So if you want to avoid the hassle, just go ahead and RSVP Yes now! :)  This goes to ALL members, even if you're on the Bench, when you get "the People's Eyebrow" from me, just know that that's what that means.  (Google "the people's eyebrow" if you don't know what it means).

If that's not enough to get you there....but wait, there's more!

NOVABAA also won an Award of Merit for its work with the Fairfax Bar Circuit Court, the Fairfax Bar Association, the Asian Pacific Bar Association of Virginia, and the Northern Virginia Women's Attorneys' Association on the 21 Day Racial Equity Reading Challenge during Black History Month!  So we will be receiving 2 Awards at the Awards Breakfast!  Now you have double the reason to attend, to not only support NOVABAA in its unprecedented win for Bar Association of the Year and also for receiving its second Award of Merit from VSB in 2 years!  I'm not saying that we will be popping champagne bottles in celebration at 7:30am on May 31st.  But I'm also not NOT saying that we will be popping champagne bottles in celebration at 7:30am on May 31st, either! :)

In all seriousness, I am elated beyond words - and I want all of you to join us on stage at the Breakfast.  I will be harassing each and every one of you (in love of course) to attend and celebrate with us as we hoist up the hardware for these incredible team victories.  NOVABAA, a round of applause to you all, and please pat yourselves on the back.  Whether you were in leadership, or just paid your dues and cheered us on from afar, your effort and energy is what helped us reach this accomplishment.  On behalf of our founding members, I thank each and every one of you for your everlasting support and for tolerating my shenanigans and foolishness for these four years.

And last but not least - we WILL be throwing a party to celebrate this event! Details will be forthcoming.  Our E-Board is meeting this week to finalize our plans for the Salamander (once those are official, I will be responding to the dozens of emails in my inbox - I promise), and at that meeting we will be discussing the Bar Association of the Year celebration party as well.  Keep your eyes peeled on your email for updates to both of those.  And if you are interested in sponsoring our Bar Association of the Year Party, so that we can have our customary NOVABAA Photo Booth, DJ and Photographer, please contact me at president@novabaa.org.  No Donation is too small!  (We also need sponsors for the Salamander as well - [Did I say that right, Chidinma?]).

See you in Virginia Beach!
El Jefe

northern virginia black attorneys association


10660 Page Avenue, #4452
Fairfax, VA 22030