By Katie Day • February 04, 2018•Ms. JD, Conference
We are thrilled to announce the recipients of the 2018 Ms. JD Honors Awards!
Sharing Her Passion Award - To a woman who has practiced for more than ten years who is inspiring younger women lawyers through sponsorship, mentorship, and sharing her passion for the practice. Awardee: Leslie Richards-Yellen
Women's Strength in Numbers Award - To two or more women who have partnered with one another to create a unique program, business, or organization. Awardees: Enieda Roman and Betty Francisco with the Latina Circle
Road Less Traveled Award - To a woman who is using her J.D. in a unique, non-traditional, way to pursue an issue or cause that she is passionate about. Awardees: Evangeline Mitchell & MAJ Nancy J. Lewis
Law School Chapter Award – To a law school organization that champions the advancement of women law students through, for example, chapter initiatives (including pre-law initiatives), programming or recruitment. Awardee: Quinnipiac University School of Law Women’s Law Society
Woman of Inspiration Award - To a woman who, regardless of her practice area or type of practice, inspires others by her commitment and passion to her work. Awardees: Jeanette Acosta & Misty M. Sanford
Student of Inspiration Award – To a male or female law student who inspires others through their commitment and passion to their legal studies, extracurricular activities or to a particular cause. Awardee: Brittany K. Anderson
TIM Initiative Award – To a man who is an active champion for women’s advancement in the legal profession. Ms. JD launched The Incredible Men (TIM) Initiative in 2014 to celebrate men who not only value equality and diversity in the profession, but earnestly and enthusiastically support women and women’s initiatives. Awardee: Bob Sims
To celebrate the honorees, we are giving individuals and organizations the opportunity to congratulate one or all of the winners.
Powerpoint slides, which will display throughout the cocktail hour portion of the awards ceremony, can be purchased for $250. The slide should be designed by your organization, may congratulate one or all of the honorees, and will appear before over 150 guests who are expected to join Ms. JD at the awards ceremony. Slides may be purchased by clicking here.
Those wishing to offer a personal congratulations to an individual honoree may purchase congratulations cards. Congratulations cards will be incorporated into the décor for the event and all cards that specifically mention a particular honoree's name will be presented to her/him as a memento of their award. Congratulations cards are $25 and may be purchased by clicking here.
To purchase tickets and join us, in person, as we give these inspirational women and men their awards, please click here.
Meet our Awardees
Brittany K. Anderson
Brittany is in her last year at WMU Cooley Law School; however, she is not a traditional law student. She is dedicated to her studies, focused, maintains a full-time day job, and attends classes in the evenings. She is a determined, fierce leader focused on community and personal growth and development. One of her proudest accomplishments is when she created an internship program for minority and low-income students. Currently, she is a mentor, a member of Phi Delta Phi and serves as a Governor on The Florida Bar YLD Law School Division. She is also a single parent raising an 8-year-old daughter, who is gifted in her own right.
Betty Francisco is an entrepreneur, business executive, attorney and community leader. Currently, Betty is the General Counsel at Compass Working Capital where she serves as the organization’s chief legal advisor, responsible for overseeing all aspects of the organization’s legal affairs. As an attorney, she has over 17 years of experience advising health clubs, life sciences, and technology companies in the areas of legal, compliance, risk management, operations, and human resources. Most recently, Betty served as the CEO and Founder of FitNation Ventures, a business and legal consulting practice focused on advising health and fitness companies, and which launched Reimagine Play, a startup that offers fitness programming for children and families in Greater Boston. Previously, she served as EVP, General Counsel for Sports Club/LA and Reebok Sports Club/NY, a fitness brand acquired by Equinox Fitness. Betty began her legal career as a Senior Business Law Associate at Edwards Wildman, one of Boston’s largest law firms representing start-ups, corporations and investors. Betty is also an investor with Pipeline Angels, a network of new and seasoned women investors focused on creating capital for women social entrepreneurs.
Betty is also a dedicated community leader who has been involved with a number of non-profit and civic leadership organizations. She is the co-founder of Latina Circle, a Boston-based network that is advancing Latina leaders across industries into positions of power and influence, and which recently launched the Amplify Latinx initiative to increase Latino civic engagement and political representation. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of Roxbury Community College, the Board of Directors of the Greater Boston YMCA, the Board of Directors of Boston Educational Development Foundation, and the Board of Corporators of Eastern Bank. She serves as an advisory member for the Boston Women’s Commission under Mayor Martin Walsh. She is also a member of the Advisory Council for The Capital Network, Project 99 and Bentley University’s School of Arts and Sciences. Betty obtained her J.D. and M.B.A. from Northeastern University, and her B.A. in History from Bard College.
Major Nancy J. Lewis
MAJ Nancy J. Lewis is an International Operations Officer at the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (DIILS). She is primarily responsible for providing international military legal education, including Human Rights and Humanitarian Law programs, around the world. As an International Operational Officer, she works extensively with military and civilian leaders in foreign countries, performing engagements under the umbrella of US Security Cooperation. She also plans and executes large legal training events held around the globe with numerous participants and instructors. MAJ Lewis has 23 years of experience in military service, including enlisted time as a Military Police Office and an undercover narcotics investigator in the Criminal Investigations Division, and as an officer in the Judge Advocate General Corp working in the areas of Administrative Law, Contract and Fiscal Law, and International Law, among others. Some of her staff tours include duty as Chief, Contract and Fiscal Law at Camp Eggers, Afghanistan where she presented contract and fiscal law advice to the NATO Training Mission- Afghanistan/Combined Security Transition Command- Afghanistan, a 3-star command under the International Security Assistance Force/US Forces- Afghanistan in June 2013; Administrative and Contract Law Attorney and the sole attorney on the ground advising an expeditionary contracting team for Operation Unified Response during the 2010 Haiti earthquake in January 2010; Prosecutor, Baghdad, Iraq, where she successfully prosecuted over 50 insurgents in the Central Criminal Court of Iraq in 2005. In addition to her work at DIILS, MAJ Lewis has dedicated her life to helping others, in both her personal and professional capacity. A few highlights include initiating a community volunteer organization named Volunteer Community Relations while deployed to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, volunteering in communities located in India and Tanzania, and also being a significant team member in strategic legal engagements in Yunnan Province, People's Republic of China, as well as a legal advisor and mentor to the Young Alaka'i Leader Development Program that included travel through Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Japan. Nancy received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania where she graduated summa cum laude. In 2003 she received her Juris Doctorate from Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, Delaware; and in 2012 received her LL.M Master of Law from the Judge Advocate General Legal Service Center, Charlottesville, Virginia. Nancy is a Bar Member of the US Supreme Court, US Court of Federal Claims, and New Jersey Bar Association
Evangeline M. Mitchell
Evangeline M. Mitchell has utilized her experiences as a first-generation college and law school graduate and her legal training to become a passionate social entrepreneur with a heart for empowering aspiring lawyers and increasing diversity in law schools and in the legal profession. She is the founder and executive director of National Pre-Law Diversity Initiatives, Inc., a federally-recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit educational and charitable organization. Their mission is to connect diverse aspiring lawyers to game-changing information, resources and networking opportunities to help them become more excellent, competitive and strategic law school applicants, law students and lawyers - as well as conscientious leaders and community servants. Evangeline has been organizing conferences since 2005 and has impacted the lives of thousands of future law students. Evangeline is also the founder of Hope's Promise Publishing and has also authored, edited and published books geared to helping African American and minority students in getting into law school, succeeding in law school and passing the bar exam, which she makes available free of charge. In addition, she has recently founded a media production company, Relentless Visionary Films LLC, as another outlet to share the stories and wisdom of minority law students and lawyers on the path to lawyerhood. She is now in the pre-production stages of her first two major projects including Becoming Black Lawyers: African Americans and the Law School Experience (which starts filming in March) and The Black Lawyers Legacy Project (which starts filming in August).
Evangeline has been recognized for her efforts by receiving the National Bar Association and IMPACT's 40 Under 40 Nation's Best Advocates Award, the National Black MBA Association Leadership Empowerment in Law Award, the National Black Law Students Association Sadie T.M. Alexander Award, the National Black Law Students Association Legacy of NBLSA Award, the Houston Lawyers Association Roberson L. King Excellence in Education Award, Who's Who in Black Houston, and the Top 50 Black Lawyers of Houston Trailblazer Award. Evangeline earned degrees from Prairie View A&M University, the University of Iowa College of Law and the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas and is a Texas Bar Foundation Fellow. A native Houstonian, she currently resides in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma with her husband Michael and two children, Nyla and Michael II.
Quinnipiac University School of Law Women's Law Society
Quinnipiac University Women's Law Society (WLS) became active in 2016. In just a short time, WLS became a prominent actor on campus that was able to garner interest on issues of equality and women in the law through approachable events and discussions that they opened to the entire campus community. Each year, the Women's Law Society hosts its hallmark event, a panel discussion on women in the law. WLS strives to provide Quinnipiac with a diverse panel that tackles hard questions, in which the panelists often share their own struggles and how they overcame them. Topics for the panel have also included intersectionality, gender bias and sexual assault, the gender wage gap, and how men can be allies to women in the legal profession. In the past two years, the panel has grown from a small gathering to an event that fills Quinnipiac's main event room. Aside from the panel, WLS hosts conversations on women in law throughout the year and creates a space where law students can come together to discuss their concerns partners with Quinnipiac's other affinity groups to highlight and support diversity in the legal profession. Quinnipiac Women's Law Society is an affiliate of Ms. JD's National Women Law Student's Organization and sends a group of female law students to the Ms. JD Conference each year. Most notably, the Women's Law Society is dedicated to supporting women in the legal profession and promoting diversity through its all-inclusive approach.
Leslie Richards-Yellen is Director of Inclusion – Americas at Hogan & Lovells US LLP. She previously served as Hinshaw & Culbertson's Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, in addition to managing her public finance practice. Ms. Richards-Yellen has over 30 years of experience as in-house counsel and in private practice. Previously, Ms. Richards-Yellen was Associate General Counsel with The Vanguard Group, where she provided legal services and analysis for the Fixed Income Group. Ms. Richards-Yellen currently serves as the Immediate Past President of the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL). Ms. Richards-Yellen sits on the Boards of NAWL, the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, the Cornell Black Lawyers Alumni Network, as well as Scenic Hudson. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession. Ms. Richards-Yellen was a member of the National Association of Bond Lawyers’ Steering Committee, was appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism (ISCCP), served as the Chair of the ISCCP's Diversity Committee, and chaired the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms. Ms. Richards-Yellen received the Chicago Bar Association’s Vanguard Award, which honors individuals who have made the law and the legal profession more accessible and reflective of the community at large.
Eneida is a nationally recognized leader, champion and connector. For over a decade, she has been a risk-taking entrepreneur, providing a breadth of legal services for her clients through the legal practice she founded in Boston, MA. She is a licensed psychologist and attorney, and her practice is focused around estate law, real estate & business transactions. Eneida has served in prominent leadership roles on the American Bar Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, and the Massachusetts Bar Association. She currently serves on the HOPE National Taskforce, a distinguished team of Latina trailblazers tasked with increasing Latina leadership representation at every level of public service across the nation. She also serves on Big Sister of Boston’s Board of Directors and is a founding member of its Diversity Council. Eneida concurrently serves on the National Hispanic Advisory Council of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, developing public policy initiatives to increase Hispanic mentors nationwide. More recently, she was appointed to the Board of Corporators of Eastern Bank, the oldest and largest mutual bank in America.In 2012 Eneida co-founded the Latina Circle, a non-profit social venture focused on developing Latina executive leaders in Boston. The Latina Circle hosts quarterly “Cafecitos”, which provide its members with meaningful networking and business partnering opportunities, and its focus is to promote women to positions of influence and power. In 2017, Latina Circle launched its Amplify LatinX initiative. This initiative aims to significantly increase the representation of Latinos in elected and appointed positions, on government boards and commissions, on corporate and non - profit boards as well as in C - suite level positions.Eneida is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a distinction limited to one percent of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction. Among other notable distinctions, she has been recognized by Latino Leaders Magazine as 1 of the 25 Most Influential Latino Lawyers in the United States, and by PowerMeter as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Individuals for Latinos in Massachusetts. In 2017, Eneida was selected as a Scholar of the Aspen Institute’s Ideas Festival. She is admitted to practice law in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Massachusetts Federal District Court, First Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of the United States.
Misty M. Sanford
Misty M. Sanford is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson. Her sophisticated and broad-based real estate and land use transactional practice involves all aspects of real estate, with an emphasis on purchase and sale, finance (representing borrowers in development, construction and permanent loans for all asset types), portfolio investments, leasing and environmental issues. Ms. Sanford’s practice also focuses on real estate development and land use planning, including California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance and obtaining entitlements from local planning agencies. Ms. Sanford has been recognized as an “Up and Coming” real estate attorney by Chambers USA and a “Rising Star Attorney of the Year” by the Los Angeles Business Journal. She has been recognized by the Daily Journal among the Top 40 Lawyers Under 40 in California and as one of California’s Top 50 Development Lawyers. Ms. Sanford is also a recipient of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Real Property Section’s Outstanding Young Lawyer Award.
Ms. Sanford is a mayoral appointee to the City of Los Angeles Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners, which directly oversees operations, programming and maintenance of over 400 parks and 175 recreation centers within the city. Ms. Sanford is a founder and former chair of the board of directors of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, a nonprofit that converts blighted parcels of land into neighborhood parks, gardens and community centers. She is also founder and treasurer of For People of Color, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to empowering students of color to attend law school and become attorneys. In addition, Ms. Sanford co-chairs the firm's MTO Fellows Program, an innovative program that assists college graduates of diverse backgrounds who plan to attend law school. Ms. Sanford graduated from UCLA School of Law, where she completed the program in Public Interest Law and Policy, chaired the Public Interest Law Foundation and was a Hagman Land Use and Planning Scholar.
Bob Sims is an experienced trial lawyer who has represented businesses and individuals in numerous criminal and civil proceedings around the country and throughout the world. His practice focuses on white collar criminal defense and internal investigations, US export controls and sanctions, FCPA compliance and investigations, and complex commercial litigation. He represents clients in criminal, civil, and administrative proceedings conducted by the Department of Justice, OFAC, the Department of Commerce, the EC, and state and local authorities. Bob is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Maryland and served as a Senior Adviser at the U.S. State Department during the Clinton Administration. He earned his JD from Columbia University School of Law and his BA from Harvard University.