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Palm Beach County Sheree Davis Cunningham Black Women Lawyers Association launched

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The organization's goal is to help Black women lawyers navigate the unique challenges they face in the practice of law, in their lives, and in their communities

SDCBWLA officers

The Palm Beach County Sheree Davis Cunningham Black Women Lawyers Association was formed recently to assist Black women lawyers navigate the challenges they face in the practice of law, in their lives, and in their communities.  “Our organization seeks to provide the support needed to have a successful, fulfilling legal career with the support of mentors who can provide guidance, the benefit of their experience, and opportunity in all areas of the practice of law, and to encourage its members to seek leadership positions,” said founder and inaugural President Rosalyn Sia Baker-Barnes, center.  Other founders include First Vice President Sandra Powery Moses, left, and Second Vice President Destinie Baker Sutton, right. SDCBWLA does not discriminate on any basis and welcomes all lawyers to join and participate in the organization’s activities and programming.

SDCBWLA logoA number of South Florida lawyers have joined together to form the Palm Beach County Sheree Davis Cunningham Black Women Lawyers Association (SDCBWLA), the first Black women lawyers association in Palm Beach County.

The organization’s founders include inaugural President Rosalyn Sia Baker-Barnes, First Vice President Sandra Powery Moses, and Second Vice President Destinie Baker Sutton.

Baker-Barnes said the organization’s goal is to help Black women lawyers navigate the unique challenges they face in the practice of law, in their lives, and in their communities.

“We are truly excited about this organization and all that we will accomplish” said Baker-Barnes, who also is a member of The Florida Bar Board of Governors. “It is our goal to provide mentorship, guidance, and support to our members, who often face unique challenges in the practice of law. Black women lawyers make up less than 1% of law firm partners in the U.S., and less than 5% of all lawyers in the U.S.”

A recent ABA study found that over 70% of minority women lawyers want to leave the practice of law due to isolation, bias, and lack of opportunity for advancement, Baker-Barnes said.

“Our organization seeks to provide the support needed to have a successful, fulfilling legal career with the support of mentors who can provide guidance, the benefit of their experience, and opportunity in all areas of the practice of law, and to encourage its members to seek leadership positions,” she said.  “Membership in our organization is open to all, and we look forward to collaborating with other bar associations and the community at large.”

Sheree Davis Cunningham

Sheree Davis Cunningham served as a Palm Beach County judge for 26 years, retiring in 2019. Davis Cunningham was the first Black female judge in Palm Beach County.

The charter members include Donise Edwards Brown, Kalinthia Dillard, Adrienne Ellis, Gloretta Hall, Elaine Johnson James, Hershley Ogé, Ava Parker, Lisa Quarrie, Pamala Ryan, Salesia V. Smith-Gordon (who will serve as secretary/treasurer), Gwendolyn Tuggle, Lawonda Warren, Ethel Isaacs Williams, and Dawn Wynn.

The organization’s Judicial Advisors include 15th Circuit Judges Maxine Cheesman, Renatha Francis, Cymonie Rowe, Debra Moses Stephens, U.S. Magistrate Judge Shaniek Maynard, Administrative Magistrate Judge Maxine Williams, and former Magistrate Judge Damary Stokes.

Former Justice Peggy A. Quince will install the inaugural executive board, charter board members, and judicial advisors at the Fourth District Court of Appeal February 24 at 5:30 p.m.

Guests at the Inaugural Installation Ceremony & Reception will include retired Judge Sheree Davis Cunningham, Florida Bar President Mike Tanner, Bar President-elect Gary Lesser, and Tricia “CK” Hoffler, immediate past president of the National Bar Association.

For more information, click here or check out SDCBWLA’s social media platforms:

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