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Women Lawyers Division of the National Bar Association Remains a Source of Support for Members

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According to information at the organization’s website, the Women Lawyers Division (WLD) of the National Bar Association was established in 1972 as a means for women in the legal profession to address issues and problems that particularly affect interest and concern African American women.

According to information at the Philadelphia chapter’s website, the organization’s mission is to create ''an environment which maintains professional competence and integrity, providing a vehicle for increasing the number of African American women lawyers, fostering personal and business support networks, promoting entrepreneurial ventures, and elevating African-American women lawyers into strategic positions of power.''

In the July 13th article, ''Legal Sisterhood’ Marks 30 Years of Support for Black Women Lawyers'', Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Jacqueline F. Allen was quoted as saying:

''It has been a great source of networking and mentoring young lawyers. I have enjoyed the role of mentoring, having the opportunity to meet and otherwise shepherd young lawyers as they enter the profession.''

''Linda Medley, the current president of the NBA-WLD Philadelphia chapter and a deputy city solicitor with the Philadelphia Law Department's commercial law unit,'' was quoted as calling the organization a ''legal sisterhood.''

Sadie T. M. Alexander was the first black woman to be admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1927, and the profession has made great strides since then.

However, according to Allen, ''the organization continues to be relevant because women of color still find themselves facing obstacles to career advancement in the legal profession.''

Allen, in referring to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Committee on Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System's findings, was quoted as saying ''the NBA-WLD Philadelphia chapter is still needed because 'when you have all the factors come together it’s not so much the intentional bias but the innocent bias that we continue to address and that just means sensitizing the legal profession to those nuanced circumstances that impede the fair administration of justice both in terms of lawyer to lawyer and litigant to lawyer.’''

In working to advance diversity in the city’s law schools, law firms and corporations, the WLD sponsors scholarship programs, continuing legal education seminars, and community service projects, among other things.

Cassandra Georges is a solo practitioner specializing in dispute resolution. She has been involved in the organization since she was in her second year of law school. She was quoted as saying in the article: ''There's a thicker skin to being a black woman lawyer. It comes with the territory. It makes you stronger.''
Philadelphia Law Department


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