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  • Saturday, June 20, 2015 10:19 AM | GSCBWLA Admin (Administrator)




    Black Bar Associations Launch Judicial Diversity Initiative


    The Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association, Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association, Caribbean Bar Association, Haitian Lawyers Association, T.J. Reddick Bar Association, and F. Malcolm Cunningham, Sr. Bar Association are launching a joint committee focused on increasing diversity in the judiciary.

    The 2014 Report of the Special Task Force to Study Enhancement of Diversity in the Judiciary and on the Judicial Nominating Commissions, convened by former Florida Bar President, Eugene Pettis, found that “Blacks and Hispanics tend to have less confidence in the courts than whites. . . . [T]he lack of diversity among judges undoubtedly serves as a major contributing factor.”  The importance of a diverse bench is especially critical in the wake of several high-profile police incidents in South Florida and across the nation, including the alarming findings of the Miami Beach and the Fort Lauderdale Police Departments of racially-insensitive communications among officers who are charged with serving, protecting, and enforcing the law. 

    Moreover, the statistics warrant change.  Miami-Dade is one of the most diverse counties in the State of Florida. Yet there are no Black Women who serve on the Circuit Court Bench for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County and only two (2) Black Women who serve the Miami-Dade County bench.  Of the 123 judges who serve Miami’s circuit and county benches, only 10 (8%) are black while over 500,000 (19%) of Miami-Dade’s overall population consists of individuals who identify as black or African-American.  In Broward County, the most diverse county in the state, of the 90 judges in circuit and county courts, only 6 (7%) are Black. In Palm Beach County, of the 54 judges in circuit and county courts, 5 (9%) are Black.  As of late 2014, Governor Scott had appointed only two black judges to the Circuit Court in any of Florida’s 20 Circuits. Moreover, between November 2012 and April 2014, Scott failed to appoint a single black judge among 65 appointments. 

    The initiative will focus on four critical areas in order to foster diversity in the judiciary and increase the number of Black judges in the state: (1) Research of key facts and statistics related to diversity on the bench; (2) Recruitment of potential diverse, talented candidates for the judiciary; (3) Development of potential candidates through various support features; and (4) Effective advocacy on behalf of diversity. 

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    About the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association

    Formerly known as the Black Lawyers of Miami, for over thirty years, the Ferguson Bar has served the Miami-Dade community by cultivating excellence and inclusion in the legal profession, promoting diversity in legal education through financial assistance and mentorship and advocating for equal access, equal opportunity and equal justice in the legal system.

    About Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association

    The Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association (GSCBWLA), formerly the National Bar Association Women Lawyers Division Dade County Chapter, was formed in 1985.  The association’s mission is to address the concerns of women lawyers, and to address the legal, social, and economic needs of the Black community, and the community-at-large.  For over thirty years, the association has been a network of attorneys dedicated to community service and the professional development of its members.

    About the Caribbean Bar Association

    The Caribbean Bar Association represents lawyers and members of the larger Caribbean-American community in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties.  The mission of the Caribbean Bar Association is to serve and support the legal profession and to promote good relations among lawyers, the judiciary, and the Caribbean-American community. 

    About the Haitian Lawyers Association

    The Haitian Lawyers Association (HLA) is a non-profit membership organization whose mission is to promote excellence, professionalism, equality and diversity in the legal profession and among our members and to facilitate the administration of justice while striving to protect and promote the general welfare of the Haitian-American community and other minority residents in the South Florida area.

    About the T.J. Reddick Bar Association

    On November 12, 1982, a group of social engineers formed the T.J. Reddick Bar Association because Blacks were not being afforded equal access into law firms as attorneys or partners, court appointments in civil or criminal cases, appointments to judgeships, or respect as attorneys in Broward County, Florida. Today, the Association has broadened its purpose and is dedicated to promoting the professional excellence of Black lawyers in Broward County, increasing the enrollment of minority students in college and law school, and promoting the general welfare of all citizens in Broward County.

    About the F. Malcolm Cunningham, Sr. Bar Association

    The F. Malcolm Cunningham, Sr. Bar Association,  is a voluntary bar association located in Palm Beach County. In the late 1970’s a group of Black attorneys from West Palm Beach began meeting informally on a monthly basis at a local restaurant. Among them were the Honorable Edward Rodgers, the Honorable Catherine Brunson, the Honorable Moses Baker, William Holland, T.J. Cunningham, Sr., F. Malcolm Cunningham, Sr. to name a few. Because of the positive impact Frank Malcolm Cunningham had as a member of the organization and in the community, after his death in 1978 the organization was formally named F. Malcolm Cunningham Sr., Bar Association.

    For media inquiries please contact: Loreal A. Arscott, Media Chair, (305)416-2221

    Click here to download this press release.

  • Thursday, April 23, 2015 9:13 AM | GSCBWLA Admin (Administrator)

    The Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association is pleased to announce that on April 21, 2015, the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners unanimously appointed Abigail Price-Williams to serve as Miami-Dade’s County Attorney. Her tenure starts October 1, 2015. 

    Currently, Abigail Price-Williams is the First Assistant County Attorney. She is responsible for the oversight and supervision of assistant county attorneys, support staff and office operations.  Abigail Price-Williams also provides legal counsel to county commissioners, the county commission, the mayor’s office and county departments. She has acted in this position for the past eight years and has been with the County Attorney’s Office since 1990. 

    Prior to becoming Miami-Dade’s next County Attorney and working in the County Attorney’s office, she served as an assistant state attorney for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit from 1985 to 1990 where she prosecuted a range of felony offenses and supervised a unit of felony prosecutors. 

    Over her years of public service, Abigail Price-Williams has received many accolades and awards for her community involvement. She has been recognized as a Top Government Attorney by the South Florida Legal Guide. She was the recipient of the Florida Bar President’s Pro bono Service Award and the Put Something Back Pro Bono Award, “Child Advocacy Project.” She was named the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Guardian Ad Litem Pro Bono Attorney of the Year. She is a member of the United Way Women’s Council. For many years, she has served as co-chair of the Voices for Children Foundation’s Annual Luncheon.   

    Abigail Price-Williams is the first woman and the first Black person to serve as Miami-Dade’s County Attorney. She is well-qualified for the position and her reputation precedes her. During the vote, commissioners described her as "as an incredible human being" with a "great demeanor" who is "more than capable" to hold the position.” The Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association congratulates Miami-Dade’s future County Attorney on her appointment.

  • Friday, April 17, 2015 10:50 PM | GSCBWLA Admin (Administrator)
    The Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association hosted "The Real Deal: Real World Insights from the Bench & Bar" on Saturday, April 11, 2015. Approximately 25-30 young lawyers, law students, and judges attend this breakfast aimed at providing practical tips on being an effective lawyer in the courtroom and practicing law ethically and professionally from members of the bench. At the end of the event, GSCBWLA awarded book stipends to 2 students: Ashley Gantt (Nova Southeastern University) and Diamond Zerework (University of Miami). The Book Awards are funded through the Annual "Bowling for Books" Bowling event, which takes place during the Fall.

    To see additional pictures from the event, visit our Facebook page here.

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