Nigeria American Lawyers Association, Inc., (NALA), was incorporated in Maryland on February 3, 2015, as a result of a meeting held by a few visionary lawyers of Nigeria ancestry, living in Washington, D.C. metropolitan area particularly to revive an earlier defunct similar organization. NALA is an organization of licensed Nigerian American attorneys living and working in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia.
One of NALA’s aims is to advance the professional development and services of all Nigerian American Lawyers particularly in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area, as well as in the United States. This is evident through the continuing legal education sessions the organization host periodically for NALA Members. As a specialty bar, the Association focuses on community education, engagement and outreach activities through policy and legal advocacy, workshops, informal legal outreach and referral resource services such as the annual Domestic Violence Awareness Seminar, Immigration Information Seminar, Meet with the Lawyers, etc. to mention just a few.
NALA’s quest for advocacy led to the membership engagement, dialogue, protest, and proclamations issued in 2016 against the Boko Haram insurgencies and their sympathizers for the abduction of the Chibok Girls in Nigeria. We are glad that some of the girls have been returned and in safe custody. Most of them are currently in college across the United States. To date, through the efforts of individual member attorneys who volunteer their time and services, NALA consistently assist some of the Chibok Girls navigate their immigration status as needed.
On October 19, 2015, NALA received its 501(c) non-profit organization status from the Internal Revenue Services. Similarly, in 2015, NALA was presented with a “FACE Award” and recognized as the “Outstanding Organization of the Year”. On August 23, 2019, NALA received its certificate of registration from the Government of the District of Columbia.
NALA’s Inaugural Gala was held on April 28, 2016 at Washington Club in Washington DC with several dignitaries, special guests from the District of Columbia, State of Maryland, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. The event provided the opportunity for NALA Members and the community to meet, mingle and liaise with each other and most especially with the honorable Judicial Officers. In particular, the Gala afforded the platform for NALA Members, the opportunity to honor the Awardees for their exemplary contributions towards the advancement of the Legal Profession and the Society. The highlight of the day was being present to listen to Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of 18th Congressional District, Texas who delivered the thought provoking and remarkable Keynote Speech that challenged and encouraged the association in policy and advocacy path to date.
Within its four years of establishment, NALA excellently performed and exceeded all expectations and recognized as such in the legal community, as well as among other associations/organizations of similar objectives and mission. In 2019, the Governor of Maryland, Gov. Harry Hogan issued a citation to NALA in recognition of the organization’s efforts in educating, defending, protecting and promoting African and African American communities through advocacy and legal representation. NALA is privileged to have the following amiable personalities as past Keynote Speakers at its annual NALA gala:
U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee – 2015-2016 GALA
U.S. Representative Jamie Raskin – 2016-2017 GALA
Her Excellency., Dr. Arikana Chihombon-Quao – 2017-2018 GALA
Hon. Aisha N. Braveboy – State’s Attorney for Prince George’s County – 2018-2019 GALA
Additionally, since NALA’s formation, the following eminent and outstanding legal luminaries were honored:
Maryland Circuit Judge
Hon. Judge Jude Nkama – Municipal Court Newark, New Jersey
Hon. Magistrate Judge Tara Fentress – District of Columbia Superior Court
Hon. Magistrate Judge Noel T. Johnson – District of Columbia Superior Court
Hon. Judge Bamidele Alade – New York State Worker’s Compensation Court
Hon. Judge Holly D. Reed, III – Montgomery County District Court, Maryland
Hon. Judge John P. Morrissey – Chief Judge of the District Court of Maryland
Hon. Donnie Carrington-Martin – Charles County Circuit Court, Maryland
Furthermore, the following people have received NALA’s Prestigious Presidential Awards:
PO Box 5 Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20773