Welcome to the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia!
On behalf of the 2019-2020 Executive and Advisory Boards, I thank you for your interest in one of the largest and oldest associations of Black lawyers in America.
An affiliate of the National Bar Association, for nearly 70 years Barristers has served the Black legal profession and Black community of Philadelphia by promoting and fostering professional and practice development and excellence, economic and political empowerment, charitable community service, and justice and equal opportunity.
Our members benefit from making connections to other legal professionals, building relationships with the greater Philadelphia community through outreach programs, and having access to information and resources that will improve their professional development.
Lawyer members may obtain free CLE credit at our general body meetings; receive timely notifications of area job openings; and can create a profile using our Find a Lawyer feature that allows Black Philadelphians to search for representation that looks like them.
Law student members benefit from relationships that will aid them as they seek employment, mentorship, and guidance. Law students may also apply for underwritten scholarships ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 provided at our annual Scholarship and Awards Gala.
Barristers’ Corporate Partners benefit from business development, recruiting, employee networking, and diversity development. Partnering with Barristers enables corporate entities to reach an audience of thousands of legal professionals and the communities that we serve.
Understanding the importance of remembering where we come from and upon whose shoulders we stand, our members connect with and support the communities where we live and work by providing direct legal services and non-legal aid. At the Life Planning Clinic, members generate powers of attorney and wills for Philadelphia’s elderly. At our Know Your Rights Town Hall, we inform members of the community of their legal rights when interacting with the police. At our Education Forum, Black law students, attorneys, and judges share their experiences with area elementary, middle, and high school students.
This year, we want to emphasize three important events.
First, on April 3, 2020, Barristers will hold a daylong Continuing Legal Education Program in recognition of the 35th anniversary of the police bombing of the house occupied by members of MOVE on Osage Avenue. The decision to let the resulting fire burn resulted in the deaths of 11 men, women, and children; destroyed 61 homes; and left 250 people homeless. This CLE will provide historical perspectives and address contemporary implications.
Second, for the 2019-2020 term, Barristers will partner with Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity and Bebashi to provide assistance to low-income Philadelphians seeking pardons from the Governor. Erasing these convictions will give returning citizens the opportunity to compete for employment and education, and obtain access to credit, jobs, and housing.
Third, our March general body meeting will feature a special recognition of Women’s History Month in response to the plea of a young Barristers’ member who recently asked, “Where are all of the Black women partners and established Black women attorneys?” I hope our March 11, 2020 meeting will provide the answer.
We have made it easy for you to stay informed about our current and upcoming events on our newly redesigned website, www.phillybarristers.com. You can also stay abreast of our activities by following us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
If you are a member, let us know that we are meeting all your expectations or how we might better support your professional needs. Send us an email and we’ll provide a prompt
On behalf of the Executive Board, we look forward to an exciting year and hope that you will join
Yours in Service,
David C. Williams
Today, we continue to play a unique role for our members by providing a forum for discussion and dissemination of information of matters of particular interest to Black attorneys…
Established in 1950, The Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, Inc.’s purpose, then and now, has been to address the professional needs and development of Black lawyers in the City of Philadelphia through programs such as seminars, cultural events and publications. The work of the organization continues years later with ongoing efforts to support its mission.
Since the early years of its establishment, the Barristers’ Association has also recognized the need, and its obligation, to be a pro-active advocate for the cause against injustice. In 1973, members of the Barristers’ Association served on the Liacouras Commission, which investigated ways to eliminate racial discrimination in bar admission procedures.
In 1978, the Barristers’ Association joined other concerned groups in filing an action against the Philadelphia Registration Commission which resulted in the addition of 50,000 Philadelphians to the voter registration pools. In 1983, the Barristers’ Association provided testimony before the Pennsylvania State Legislature on the issue of the merit selection of judges.
In more recent years, the Barristers’ Association has sponsored or participated in activities that promoted youth awareness and career opportunities in the legal profession, and increased citizens’ awareness of their rights under the law.
Scholarships to minority law students at local law schools are awarded annually to further encourage and support Black students in their pursuit of a degree in law. Continuing Legal Education seminars and political education forums have been offered to members of the Barristers’ Association to facilitate professional development and political awareness.
Today, The Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, Inc. continues to provide a very important and unique role for its members by providing a forum for discussion and dissemination of information of matters of particular interest to Black attorneys and the Philadelphia Black community at large.
Our membership now encompasses a network of approximately 1,000 lawyers and jurists who serve society at the highest positions in both the private and public sectors of the legal profession.
As an affiliate of the National Bar Association, the Barristers’ Association is an active participant in a community of practicing Black lawyers, judges and law students in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The Barristers’ Association’s structure consists of an Executive Committee and an Advisory Board. The Executive Committee is responsible for the operation of the organization and is composed of elected officers and appointed members. The Advisory Board, which is made up of distinguished members of the legal profession, provides advice and counsel to the Executive Committee.