Greetings from the Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys (“MBWA”)

MBWA is committed to the professional development and advancement of Massachusetts African American and black women lawyers
throughout the state and aims to provide quality programming that meets that goal.

As we have settled into 2017, and in spite of all the challenges we face in our nation, MBWA continues to celebrate the achievements of black/African American women attorneys throughout the Commonwealth.  As we have come to the end of Black History Month, we hope you had a chance to read our weekly emails highlighting some of the amazing African American women attorneys who have shaped the history of the Massachusetts legal landscape.  Truly they have paved several paths to success for those of us who follow them.  We thank all of you who came out for a powerful panel discussion focused on “Navigating Pitfalls of Black Women Lawyers: A Blueprint Towards Successful Career Transitions” and New England Law | Boston for hosting us.  The conversation was rich and the panelists’ experiences and advice were inspiring and thought-provoking for everyone in the room – from the law students and junior attorneys to the more seasoned lawyers.  Indeed there was something for everyone.

As we move into Women’s History Month, we continue to highlight issues that are relevant to our members and to our larger community.  This month we co-sponsor the “Women’s Advocacy Summit” with the Women’s Bar Association and the National Summit of Black Women Lawyers in Chicago with nearly a dozen other black women attorney organizations from around the country.  We are excited that Valerie Jarrett, former Senior Advisor to President Obama, will be the National Summit’s keynote speaker.  It’s not too late to register for either summit.  For more information, click here.

And, finally, because African American history and women’s history cannot be contained to two months of the year, on April 8th, we will continue to honor the great accomplishments of African American women lawyers in Massachusetts when we honor Goodwin Procter partner, E. Abim Thomas and The Rockport Company general counsel, Karla Jarvis at our Ida B. Wells Annual Awards and Afternoon Tea.  For sponsorship opportunities and to purchase tickets, please click here.

These are just some of the exciting, upcoming MBWA events and we look forward to hosting additional programs and events this year.  We invite you to explore our website (and follow us on Facebook) to learn more about us and to visit it often as we post job announcements, upcoming programs, activities and events, and information about things happening in our community.

We invite you to explore our website to learn more about us and to visit it often as we post job announcements, upcoming programs, activities and events, and information about things happening in our community.

We also invite you to join our membership and to get involved in MBWA by joining one of our committees.

We are always interested in hearing what the needs and interests of our members and community are, so please don’t hesitate to send any questions, comments or ideas to us at

We are very excited to continue our work as we offer new and annual programs and events this coming year.


The Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys (MBWA) is a professional bar association committed to the advancement of justice and equality for people of color with a particular emphasis on black women and/or women of African descent. The MBWA seeks to eradicate sexism and racism in the legal profession, advance equal employment opportunities and provide its members a network to build, develop, and support their careers.

The organization offers its members a forum to share knowledge and experiences as well as focus on issues of importance to the membership and the community. The MBWA promotes pro bono activities, community activism, and the successful balance of family and career obligations.

Our History

In 1981, a group of 14 African-American female attorneys, originally named the Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys Organizing Committee, gathered to form a professional bar association to address their unique struggles as women of color in the legal profession. The Committee compiled the first known comprehensive listing of African-American female practitioners in the Commonwealth. In May of 1981, the Committee sponsored a Spring Brunch to introduce the idea of forming an organization for women of color. This working meeting was attended by a diverse group of African-American female attorneys from around the Commonwealth. The idea received overwhelming enthusiasm and support, and discussion ensued concerning the organization’s mission.

Thereafter the Committee formed the Ida B. Wells Barnett Law Society which later became the Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys. The organization dedicated to the memory of Ida B. Wells Barnett.

Our Mission

Since 1981, the MBWA has sought to preserve and advance justice for all people.

Its mission is to assist in ensuring the fair and even-handed striation of justice, particularly as applied to women of color. The MBWA is similarly concerned with social policy and civil rights issues in the greater minority community.

The organization also seeks to promote legal education by sponsoring educational seminars, lecture series and panel discussions on subjects that affect its members.

The Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys serves as a useful resource by aiding African-American women attorneys to become more effective advocates and a direct link to our communities.


Deborah L. Johnson


Tinia L. Snow


Shahria H. Boston


Patrice C. Dixon


Francesse Canty
Board Member


Janette A. Ekanem
Board Member


Keidi S. Carrington
Board Member


Tiffanie Ellis-Niles
Board Member


Martsyl Joseph
Board Member


Jasmine Jean-Louis
Board Member


Desiree Murphy
Board Member


Chayla White
Board Member


We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


©2017 Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys


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