November 2021 Newsletter

President's Message
Season's Greetings!

I want to thank all of the attendees and sponsors of BWLA's 2021 Annual Fundraiser Luncheon! Because of your support, we raised an unprecedented amount of funds to support the organization's community and scholarship efforts. Our speakers provided outstanding wisdom and candor as they discussed their professional paths and I could not be more grateful for their commitment to us during this unprecedented time. I want to acknowledge the very hard work of the entire Annual Fundraiser Committee, especially Chair Elsa Andrianifahanana, on a successful event! You can view and download the virtual program book here.

This month, we are honoring and celebrating the hard work of other BWLA members as well. I hope you will join us at the Annual Joint Dinner as well as a reception honoring Judge Candace Jackson-Akiwumi. Details and registration links can be found below.

Finally, as we enter the season of thanksgiving, I encourage you to donate to the Salvation Army's Virtual Giving Tree! Last year, BWLA donated nearly 200 toys to children in the Chicagoland area and we would love your support again this year. Scroll down for more information.


Nakhia C. Crossley
2021-2022 President
Last Chance to Purchase Your Ticket for
the Annual Joint Dinner!
Join us for an in person dinner with our fellow bar associations and honor BWLA Past President, the Honorable Sybil C. Thomas, with this year's Trailblazer Award.

Tickets can be purchased by clicking here!
Register to Celebrate The Honorable Candace Jackson-Akiwumi
We are so proud to celebrate one of BWLA's own, The Honorable Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, who was confirmed this summer to be United States Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Jackson-Akiwumi is the second African-American woman (after The Honorable Ann Claire Williams) and the first former federal public defender to sit on the Seventh Circuit.

Please join us for a reception in her honor! 

Click here to RSVP.
BWLA Solo/Small Firms Host Virtual Session:
Best Practices for Trust Accounting
The Solo/Small Firms Committee invites you to attend this virtual session on Thursday, November 18, 2021 from 6:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.

We will be joined by special guest Jerry Larkin, Administrator at the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois. Solo practitioners and small firm practitioners who are interested in learning how to effectively manage their trust accounting are encouraged to attend.
Click here to RSVP!
Join the BWLA Scholarship Fund for a Virtual Ladies' Night In: Holiday Edition
Click here to purchase your ticket!
Past Events
2021 BWLA Fundraiser
On Thursday, October 7, 2021, BWLA held its Annual Fundraiser: Women Breaking Barriers in Sports Leadership virtually with over 100 people in attendance. Myka Bell, Associate Counsel with the San Francisco 49ers moderated the discussion with the dynamic panel of D'Lonra Ellis, VP and General Counsel with the Oakland Athletics; Terri Jackson, Executive Director of the Women's National Basketball Players Association; and Nona Lee, Executive VP & Chief Legal Officer with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Michele Roberts, Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association, concluded the fundraiser by sharing her trailblazing career in sports leadership.

Many thanks to our sponsors, including our Title Sponsors Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila, McDermott Will & Emery and Kirkland & Ellis. Because of you we were able to raise $125,000 that will support scholarships for law students of color!

Click here to view the program book.
Building Your Personal Brand
The BWLA Career Services Committee hosted a virtual session entitled “Building Your Personal Brand” on Tuesday, October 26, 2021.

BWLA thanks panelists Erica Kirkwood, Vice President and General Counsel at GMA Construction; Precious Jacobs-Perry, Partner at Jenner & Block, LLP; and Joyce Pruitt, Director of Training and Professional Development, City of Chicago Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) for sharing their invaluable insight and experience with attendees.
All Bar Presidents Reception
BWLA President Nakhia Crossley and Board Member at Large Shannon Stokes attended the The Diversity Scholarship Foundation's All Bar Presidents Reception on October 19, 2021. The reception served as a forum for the bar presidents to meet and greet one another, network, and also learn more about the Diversity Scholarship Foundation.
Events Around Town!
Chicago Department of Law Recruitment & Hiring Event
Need Free CLE Credit? Attend Lawline's Virtual Summit: A Real Conversation About Gender
BWLA President Nakhia Crossley will give the closing keynote address on the first day of Lawline's virtual event, A Real Conversation About Gender.

Join her and many others, including keynote speaker Michele Coleman Mayes, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for the New York Public Library, for this two-day event to obtain valuable tools to create and sustain a gender-inclusive workplace by dismantling systems of inequity and creating lasting structural change. Some of the topics include the following:

  • Using Your Influence to Empower the Next Generation of Female Attorneys
  • Gender Pronouns and Inclusive Language: Their Importance in Law Firm Culture and in Effective Counseling
  • Combating Gender Stereotypes and Reforming Law Firm Culture
  • State of the Law re: Gender Identity: Overview of Anti-Discrimination Laws and Major SCOTUS Cases
  • Framing the Vision: Building the Law Firm of the Future
  • LGBT+ Rights: How to be an Inclusive Advocate 

Click here to register for this free event.
Please Donate to the Salvation Army's 
Angel Giving Tree
BWLA's Community Service and Outreach Committee is partnering with the Salvation Army's Robert Stern Red Shield Center to purchase gifts for children in need who reside in Englewood.

If you are interested in helping to make the holiday season a bit brighter for these children please visit BWLA's personalized Angel Tree webpage here and create an account. Next, adopt an Angel from the Virtual Tree!

Gifts may be purchased in-store or online and shipped to the Adele and Robert Stern Red Shield Center at 945 West 69th Street, Chicago, IL 60521. Please be sure to add the Angel code on the tag next to the Center's name when shipping. You may also contact the Center at 773-358-3200 if you would like to schedule an in-person gift drop off. If dropping off, please attach the Angel tag to the unwrapped gift.
This program will run through December 10th, and the Center must receive all gifts by December 11th.
BWLA Member Achievements
Congratulations to BWLA President Nakhia Crossley on her new position as Senior Manager, Public Policy at Sunrun!
Congratulations to Tracie R. Porter on her appointment to the Circuit Court of Cook County!
Congratulations to BWLA Lifetime Member Anastasie M. Senat on her installation as the new President of the Haitian American Lawyers Association of Illinois!
Congratulations to Lora Whitticker on her new position as Director of External Career Opportunities at Sidley Austin LLP!
Do you or someone you know have an achievement that you'd like us to highlight in our monthly newsletter? We want to celebrate our members! Send your latest achievement addressed to BWLA Corresponding Secretary, Era Laudermilk, at
Employment Opportunities
BWLA constantly receives new employment opportunities that our members may be interested in. The ever expanding list has become too lengthy to share here, so please be sure to visit the BWLA Job Board to view all current employment opportunities!
BWLA T-Shirts on SALE NOW!
BWLA T-shirts are currently available for purchase!!! The new T-shirts were designed to celebrate and commemorate our resilience during the pandemic. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to BWLA's Scholarship Fund. T-shirts are $25.00 each and are available in size small - 2XL.

Click here to place your order TODAY while supplies last!
Thank You To Our Sponsors!!!!