Welcome to the Nigerian American Lawyers Association. I am extremely honored and privileged to serve as the president for the 2019/2020 year. I look forward to working alongside an amazingly strong and dedicated board as we continue to serve this organization.
There’s no better place to begin my message than with my first encounter with NALA. It was the summer of 2015, the organization was still in its first year. I was unsure of what to expect, but I was excited at the prospect of meeting other Nigerian lawyers. I was less than a year out of law school. I had spent the past month pounding the pavement looking for a legal haven. It is safe to say that at this time, my rose-colored glasses about the plight of a young minority lawyer had long been discarded and I was faced with the harsh reality of what it meant to be a young, black, female lawyer with an “African sounding” name.
Here I was, faced with Nigerian lawyers, working in diverse areas of law, sharing jokes and laughter over steaming plates of jollof rice, plantains, assorted meat and puff-puff. It was at that moment, I knew I found a home. NALA in-turn, welcomed me with open-arms. It was hard not to get swept into the collegial but humorous atmosphere that the members created. NALA is much more than a bar organization, it is the quintessential village. It is a place where you could ask any questions about law and get a multitude of helping hands. And share a joke about the latest Nigerian humor and get a million laughs.
The goal of the Nigerian American Lawyers Association remains to improve the welfare and professional development of Nigerian American lawyers in the Washington DC metro-area. Every year, NALA hosts free CLEs for its members in areas ranging from areas of criminal law, to family law, and bankruptcy. In recent years, NALA has taken further steps into community outreach. In the fall, we host our annual domestic violence seminar to educate members of the community on victim’s rights and resource available to victims. In the winter, we have our widely popular immigration seminar where we offer free legal consultation to attendees. In April of 2019, NALA received a citation from the Governor of Maryland in recognition of the organizations’ efforts in educating, defending, protecting and promoting African and African American communities through advocacy and legal representation. The sky is the limit for NALA and I am very excited for the future of the organization.
This year, the board of directors will focus on a few key goals:
1. The organization has accumulated a lot of knowledge and materials over the past years. The executive boards’ first order of business is to create an online archive to store these valuable materials so future board members may use these materials as a road map for the organization
2. Expand the yearly domestic violence seminar to a Family law seminar, encompassing all areas of family law, from domestic violence, to child custody, child support, and divorce.
3. Revamp and update members’ benefits. This includes creating a new list-serve and WhatsApp message group exclusively for members, providing discounts to members; and
4. Introduce more CLE’S that are informative, thought-provoking and diverse with an added focus on courtroom training, litigation, management of a law firm.
With the active participation of every NALA member, this organization has the potential to grow, thrive and reach greater heights than we can imagine. I encourage you to attend one of our monthly General Body meetings and learn more about the benefits of NALA, lend a few hours to volunteer at one of our community outreach programs, and attend our summer picnic and Christmas party. Your participation, big or small, will ensure the continued growth and health of this organization.
If you would like to learn more about our organization, pay your membership dues, or view our upcoming events, explore our website. Please feel free to contact me or any board member if you have any questions or want to learn more about the opportunities to get involved in NALA.
PO Box 5 Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20773