Amistad LI Black Bar Association celebrates 25 years of bringing balance to legal profession

Amistad Long Island Black Bar Association started in 1996 with five members and now it has more than 100.

News 12 Staff

Jun 2, 2021, 2:13 AM

Updated 1,045 days ago

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A Long Island organization that has been working for more than two decades to bring balance to the legal profession is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
Amistad Long Island Black Bar Association started in 1996 with five members and now it has more than 100.
"Without Amistad I probably wouldn't be where I am," says Dawn A. Lott, executive director of the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission.
Judge Victoria Gumbs-Moore is the first Black Family Court judge in Suffolk and one of the founding members of Amistad.
"So many were first generation lawyers, so we don't necessarily have the pedigree that our white counterparts have, so we don't have an uncle who practices in federal court who could give us the inside track about how to prepare for a case or what things annoy certain judges," says Gumbs-Moore.
The group, which formed after Bar Associations from Suffolk and Nassau merged, was named after the slave ship that was captured off the coast of Long Island in the 1800s.
Members say the goal is about creating a strong network of support, guidance and professional development for lawyers of color who live and work on Long Island.
"The best part about Amistad is networking," says attorney Lance D. Clarke.
Suffolk District Court Judge Alonzo G. Jacobs says he started out working in the mental health field, but the Brentwood High School graduate later got a law degree from Hofstra.
"I was the first one in my family to go to college," says Jacobs.
The members of Amistad say their goal is to keep sharing their knowledge and expertise with each other and the next generation of lawyers on Long Island and beyond.


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