Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) – The almost century old John M. Langston Bar Association, Californias oldest and largest African American bar association, hosted their 40th Annual Scholarship and Awards Gala on Saturday at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel. Among the sold-out gala guests were Los Angeles City Attorney, Mike Feuer, Los Angeles City Councilman, Curren D. Price, and renowned Civil Rights Attorney and National Bar Association President, Benjamin Crump. KTLA 5 Morning News Co-Anchor, Chris Schauble, served as Master of Ceremonies and Langstons community partner, A Place Called Home, entertained guests with an all-youth band.
The nights theme of “Continue the Legacy and Advance the Vision” was emphasized by newly installed Langston Bar President, Kimberly Willis, when she addressed the audience. Langstons founders understood the critical importance of service to the community and diversity in the bar and on the bench, said Willis. There is a correlation to the disproportionate number of African Americans entangled in the American legal system and the low number of African American lawyers and judges Black lawyers matter. Lawyer of the Year honoree, Paulette Brown, who is President of The American Bar Association and the first African American woman to hold the position, underscored the legal professions need for diversity; reminding the audience that 88% of Americas lawyers are white and only 4.8% are black.
This years Advocate for Justice honoree, AREVA D. MARTIN, who is President of Special Needs Network and Managing Partner of Martin & Martin LLP, shared a moving story of her personal intervention in the life of a homeless woman. You don’t have to be an attorney to advocate for justice. urged Areva. Any of us have the capacity to stand up for others. DENNIS S. ELLIS, Partner at Paul Hastings and son of Judge Sharon Majors-Lewis, received the Legacy of Leadership Award and inspired guests with his testimony about maintaining his confidence when facing seemingly insurmountable odds. The Corporate Service Award was bestowed upon JOHN E. PAGE, Senior Corporate Vice President, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer & Chief Legal Officer of Golden State Foods. Page surprised attendees with a personal commitment of an unprecedented five years in scholarship funds to Langston. Former City Attorney and current President & CEO of Southern Californias Junior Achievement, BRIAN K. WILLIAMS, received the Community Service Award. Williams implored guests to volunteer with Junior Achievement and like organizations and to mentor young people in our community.
The Langston Gala serves as the primary fundraiser for the organization. Recent honorees include Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey, basketball legend and co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Earvin Magic Johnson and actor Blair Underwood. The Langston Bar Association is a federally recognized 501(c)3 public-interest, nonprofit organization. Each year Langston hosts numerous community outreach programs and activities, including law school scholarships, bar examination tutorials, election poll monitoring, junior and senior high school education programs, mentoring for law students and young attorneys, continuing legal education, job fairs, judicial officer candidate evaluation, and pro bono legal clinics.
For more info, please visit: www.langstonbar.org
Photo Caption: Board Member Judge Allen Webster, Jr., President Kimberly Willis, Honoree Paulette Brown, NBA President Benjamin Crump, Honoree John Page, CABL President Linnea Willis