African-American Women “Firsts” in the Legal Profession

Diarra Joi Clemons, J.D. SAG-AFTRA received her Juris Doctor of Law (J.D.) degree from New York Law School, Undergraduate Degree (B.A.) from George Mason University and High School Diploma from an all-girls Catholic high school named St. Scholastica Academy in Evanston, IL. She has worked in Finance for Citibank, Morgan Stanley and Oppenheimer & Co. to name a few. She was also a Judicial Law Clerk while in law school.

She is currently a Legal Journalist for Ms. JD, Novelist of the novel memoir series, "Roses are Blue" and Vantage Advertising model advise and beauty blogger. She enjoys painting, reading, writing and exploring new cultures. Thank you for reading!

Dear Readers: 2018 has brought many changes to the women's legal profession including attorneys and JDs alike. This includes myself as a current new North Carolina resident who has a five year plan to take the bar exam for the first time. Now, I will be included in the UBE scoring scale. My comrades and I will be licensed in several states after taking one exam which is wonderful! This reigns true for all of the first time bar takers in 2018 and the short-term legal past. 

There are also many established attorneys paving the way for the future attorneys of America. The list below shows women attorneys who have exceled in government, military and legal groups demystifying the thoughts that the legal profession is only for men:

Crystal Bird Fauset - Women Legislator - 1938
Carolyn L. Robertson Payton - Women Head of Peace Corps - 1964
Shirley Chisholm - Women U.S. Representative - 1969
Patricia Harris - Woman Cabinet Officer - 1977
Carol Mosely Braun - Women U.S, Senator - 1992
Condoleeza Rice - Women Secretary of State - 2005
Loretta E. Lynch - Women U.S. Attorney General - 2015
Constance Baker Motley - First Black Woman Federal Judge - 1966
Paulette Brown - 1st African American Woman to be President on the ABA (American Bar Association)

After reading this list of legally entrepreneurial and professional women of color, any multi cultured law school student, JD or future attorney should feel inspired to reach for their dreams. I have become a novelist, legal journalist for Ms. JD and beauty blogger while maintaining a Financial Services job. While chasing your dreams, the road is tough, but law school students and JDs have all of the tools to make themselves an attorney of any race who pierces the corporate veil.

Feel free to reach back out to your law schools Alumni resources to maintain your career goals. A great way to add to your resume is to be a board member of the Alumni association at your law school and use their online database for career boosting positions as an attorney.

I hope this blog inspires the Ms. JD community.

Stay tuned for future updates! Written by Diarra Joi Clemons, J.D. SAG-AFTRA

This post has been brought to you by the Ms. JD Journalists. If you have suggestions for any topics that you think should be covered on Ms. JD, feel free to email your suggestions to contentdirector@ms-jd.org, and the Ms. JD Journalists will get right on it. ​

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