(courtesy photo)

On Friday, September 16, 2016, members of the legal and business community gathered at the Loews Hollywood Hotel to celebrate Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Inc.’s (“BWL”) 41st Annual Installation & Awards Dinner.  BWL is a non-profit corporation that was founded in 1975 to address the needs and concerns of African-American women in the legal profession.

For over 40 years, BWL has hosted its installation ceremony to celebrate the changing of the guard, honor the officers and board members who have served the organization during the prior bar year, and to install the incoming officers.  Los Angeles-based Reed Smith partner Amber Finch, a graduate of Stanford University and the University of Southern California Law School, was installed as the BWL President for the 2016-2017 bar year.  Pasadena-based family law attorney Demetria Graves, a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and Loyola Law School, was installed as President-Elect.   Hon. Yvette D. Roland, a BWL Past President and Judge of the California State Bar Court, conducted the installation of officers and board members.

BWL’s theme for the 2016-2017 bar year is “Leading by Example in Mentorship, Service, and Advocacy.”  This theme reflects BWL’s commitment to promoting and supporting women of color in the legal profession, and grooming the next generation of leaders.

BWL also honored individuals and organizations who have exemplified BWL’s goals and mission to promote mentorship, service and advocacy in the community.   This year’s honorees were:

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Los Angeles Clippers General Counsel & Vice President, Nicole Duckett Fricke, and non-profit organization Step Up, an organization dedicated to the mentorship of high school girls.  Young ladies who had recently completed Step Up’s mentorship program were also publicly recognized at the event.

 BWL President for the 2016-2017 bar year Amber Finch (courtesy photo)

Several dignitaries attended the event to show support for this impactful organization.  Attendees included Hon. Audrey Collins, Associate Justice, California Court of Appeals; Hon. Bobbi Tillmon, Judge, Los Angeles Superior Court; Hon. Rupert Byrdsong, Judge, Los Angeles Superior Court; Hon. Barbara Johnson, Judge, Los Angeles Superior Court; Hon. Patricia Titus, Judge, Los Angeles Superior Court; Hon. Marguerite Downing, Judge, Los Angeles Superior Court; Hon. Kelvin Filer, Judge, Los Angeles Superior Court; Camille Townsend, President, California Association of Black Lawyers; Kirkpatrick Taylor, Field Representative, Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti; and a host of others.

Toni Guinyard, General Assignment Reporter of NBC4 Southern California served as the Master of Ceremonies for the second year in a row.  Ms. Guinyard summarized the evening well when she noted the display of sisterhood and support throughout the evening.

Read more about BWL here.