D.W. Perkins Bar Association Young Lawyers Division recognized nationally
'For us to be recognized on such a large scale is really very grand. It means all of our hard work wasn’t in vain, and we have so much more work to do'
The D.W. Perkins Bar Association Young Lawyers Division is basking in a well-deserved spotlight after being named the National Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Section of the Year.
The group received the honor July 25 at the NBA’s 34th Annual Junius W. Williams Awards Soiree. The luncheon was held during the National Bar Association’s 97th Annual Convention in Memphis.
D.W. Perkins Bar Association President Jakela Rivers said she was “proud and honored.” It’s not every day that a small voluntary bar association like D.W. Perkins — the entire chapter has just 81 members — receives national recognition, she said.
“For us to be recognized on such a large scale is really very grand,” she said. “It means all of our hard work wasn’t in vain, and we have so much more work to do.”
Rivers, the managing partner of Rivers Law, P.A., said the NBA was impressed by the YLD’s tireless participation in the group’s mentoring and community service programs, including “Future Lawyers, Future Leaders.”
The program provides lawyer mentors to students in two Jacksonville area high schools located in high-crime neighborhoods, Rivers said. The program includes a mock trial competition between the two schools.
D.W. Perkins members recently took program participants on college tours, Rivers said. The students hear from front-line prosecutors and public defenders, she said.
“The students are not only graduating, they are all planning to go to college and some want to go to law school,” she said.
Another D.W. Perkins Bar Association program provides reentry services to non-violent felons, including pro bono help with family law and other issues, Rivers said.
The D.W. Perkins Bar Association is named in honor of Daniel Webster Perkins, a civil rights pioneer and one of the first African Americans to practice law in Duval County.
The voluntary bar association’s website states that its mission and purpose “continues to be that of a change agent to improve the plight of the African-American Community and to combat the effects of racial and social injustices.”
D.W. Perkins objectives include to “advance the science of jurisprudence, improve the administration of justice, preserve the independence of the judiciary of our cities, states and nation, and to uphold the honor and integrity of the legal profession.”
“I’m so proud and thankful for all of the attorneys, and for what we’ve been able to accomplish,” Rivers said.