The Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (“GABWA”) was founded in 1981 by a group of African American women who sought to form a voluntary bar organization that would 1) focus on women and children’s issues, 2) increase black female representation in the judiciary and in public offices, and 3) take a proactive stance on political issues. Today, GABWA has an active membership of women and men who strive each day to fulfill the organization’s mission: to nurture, support and galvanize the power of Black women attorneys, advocate for women and children and empower our communities. GABWA is open to all persons, regardless of race or sex.
GABWA spearheads several programs to assist women and children. Historically, one of GABWA’s most popular projects has been its celebration of King Day through service. Members prepare and serve a hot breakfast for residents at area homeless shelters housing women and children. This effort has expanded to four shelters and continues to grow – with the enthusiastic support of members.
GABWA, in conjunction with the Restorative Justice Center of the Atlanta Municipal Court, has sponsored a Health and Wellness Expo to educate the community about medical conditions that disparately affect African Americans.
GABWA also encourages and supports its members in their efforts to attain judicial and public offices. Our members serve at all levels of the judiciary, and in city, county, state, and federal government. GABWA has created a Judicial and Public Office Academy designed to cultivate and groom tomorrow’s leaders. During years in which local elections are held, GABWA sponsors debates and other political fora to educate the public about the candidates. GABWA’s presence also is felt in Atlanta’s communities through its neighborhood cleanup and voter registration efforts.
GABWA also produces a nationally award-winning television show called “Legally Speaking.” In 2010, the show received National Conference of Women’s Bar Association’s (NCWBA’s) prestigious Community Service Award. The show provides general information and education on a broad range of legal topics to the community. This show airs monthly to potentially a million plus viewers on the Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting Station in the metropolitan Atlanta area. Shows may also be viewed on YouTube.
Members support law students through resume and interviewing workshops and an annual Blue Jeans Brunch that introduces law students to the organization’s leaders and members. In addition, GABWA hosts periodic book club meetings, an annual fashion show, and an annual holiday party.
GABWA is the proud recipient of numerous awards from the State Bar of Georgia and other organizations that have recognized GABWA’s service, its monthly newsletter, and its achievements as a statewide bar association. In 2008, the State Bar recognized GABWA’s outstanding work and contributions to the legal community yet again by bestowing upon it three local bar awards. GABWA received the Award of Merit, the Newsletter Award and the President’s Cup. The President’s Cup is the most prestigious award bestowed upon local bar associations by the State Bar of Georgia.
In April 2008, based on the vision of GABWA Foundation Director Samuel S. Woodhouse, GABWA began its own Professional Development Academy (“PDA”). PDA is an intensive, four-week professional development school that prepares young attorneys (three years or less of practice) and law students for a successful career that includes leadership and service. Students meet twice per week for two hours and are exposed to top leaders in the legal profession as well as other professions. In 2009, the Academy won the National Council of Women’s Bar Association’s (NCWBA’s) 2009 Outstanding Member Program Award.
General Body Meetings are held on the third Thursday of every month and focus on topics relevant to our membership’s professional and personal development. Our “Fifth Thursday Lunch Series” luncheons provide a more intimate setting and give members an opportunity to meet for a quick bite to eat and gain continuing legal education credits on various topics.