PRESIDENTIAL COMMITTEES

STANDING COMMITTEE CHAIRS

 

ADMINISTRATION & FACILITIES 
Linnes Finney, Jr., Chair (NBA Past President) 
Linnes Finney, Jr., Esq. is a member of Greenspoon Marder’s Personal Injury Group in Port St. Lucie, Fla. His practice is concentrated in the areas of Personal Injury, Product Liability, Commercial Litigation, Police Misconduct, and General Civil Litigation. Mr. Finney earned his J.D. from the University of Florida, where he served as President of the Black Law Students Association and earned the UF College of Law Student Leadership Award. Mr. Finney is a member of the Florida Bar Association and past chairman of Judicial Nominations and Procedures Committee. He has also served his state in the capacity of chairman and member of the Florida Supreme Court and the 19th Judicial Circuit’s Nominating Committees. He a served on and served as chair of the judicial nominating committees for the Florida Supreme Court (1996-2000) and the 19th Judicial Circuit (1992-1996). Finney currently serves as the Southern Province Polemarch of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Finney has been a loyal and dedicated member of the National Bar Association since 1980, when he joined as a law student. Since that time, he has become a life member and has served in numerous capacities within the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter of the National Bar, the National Bar Institute and within the National Bar. He has served in many appointed and elected positions within the NBA and the NBI, where he served as a board member for over 10 years. In 2006, Finney was inaugurated as the 64th President of the National Bar Association and his bar year of 2007-2008 has been historically acclaimed as one of the best bar years ever for the organization. In 2012, he received the C. Francis Stradford Award, the highest award given by the Association. 

AUDIT 
Rasul M. Raheem, Chair

During his 28 years in the financial industry Rasul Raheem has provided legal counsel and guidance to senior management on credit issues, restructuring and recovery strategies, reputational risk, treasury services, bank compliance policy, and regulatory issues. Prior to his present position, he was in the legal departments of Michigan National Bank and LaSalle Bank Corporation where he provided advice and counsel to senior management in the commercial lending, regulatory risk, and compliance groups. He has two published federal court letter of credit decisions in his favor, National Union Fire Insurance Company, et al v Standard Federal Bank, 309 F. Supp. 2d 960 (E.D. Mich. 2004), and BCM Electronics v LaSalle Bank, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12773, 59 U.C.C. Rep. Serv. 2d 280 (N.D. III. 2006). Rasul taught as an adjunct law school professor, teaching a course in Banking Regulations and Financial Institutions Law. Currently, Rasul is a Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel with the Bank of America Legal Department. 

A graduate of the University of Michigan, where he initiated into Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Rasul received both his J.D. and LL.M. in Corporate and Finance Law from Wayne State University Law School. Following law school, Rasul was in private practice in Detroit, Michigan handling commercial litigation matters in state, federal and bankruptcy courts.

Rasul is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the National Bar Association, the Oakland County Bar Association, the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc, and was a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute. In addition to the Michigan Bar, Rasul is admitted to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States. He has been on the Board of Directors of the Straker Bar Association since 2010, and was its President in 2013-2014. Rasul is the current President of the Straker Bar Foundation. He has been on the National Bar Association Board of Governors, 2013-2014, and on the NBA President’s Corporate Advisory Committee 2014-2015. Rasul has been a member of the NBA Commercial Law Section’s Executive Committee since 2013. He is also a hearing panelist for the State of Michigan Attorney Discipline Board.  


AWARDS 
Hon. Joyce London Alexander-Ford, Chair


BUDGET 
Tracie Woods, Chair 
Tracie J. Woods is currently the General Counsel for the Southern University System and the Southern University A&M College Board of Supervisors. Tracie also serves as Assistant Professor of Legal Writing and Analysis at the Southern University Law Center. Tracie is also President and CEO of 360businessolutions, which provides financial reporting, budgeting, human resources and payroll services to non-profits. Prior to joining Southern University, Tracie was Special Assistant for Legal Affairs at City College in New York and served as General Counsel for both West Insurance Group and WES Health Systems in Philadelphia PA. Tracie has a BS degree in Accounting from Southern University in Baton Rouge, an MBA in Finance from Clark-Atlanta University in Atlanta Georgia and JD from Indiana University in Bloomington Indiana. 

CONSTITUTION & BYLAWS 
Bernice L. Walker, Chair


CONVENTION & MEETING 
Hon. Allen J. Webster, Jr., Co-Chair (NBA Past President) 
Judge Allen J. Webster, Jr. was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. At age two, he moved to South Central Los Angeles attending public and parochial schools. After graduating from Centennial High School in Compton, he attended Compton College and Pepperdine University receiving a B.S. Degree in Business Administration in 1963. After a brief stint in the military, he commenced working for the Bank of America as a loan officer. After two years, he became a deputy probation officer for the County of Los Angeles. He enrolled in the evening division at Southwestern University School of Law receiving a Juris Doctorate Degree in 1971. In 1972 he started practicing law as an associate at English Square Law Center. From 1973 to 1985 he was a partner in the firm of Hairston, Webster and Johnson. He practiced law as a sole practitioner while developing business as a named partner at Whitaker, Curls, Levine and Webster. In June, 1995 he became a commissioner for the Compton Judicial District and in April 2001 was appointed a judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court by Governor Gray Davis. He presides over a long cause felony trial court and is a former Assistant Supervising Judge for the South Central Judicial District. Allen has been very active in legal and community activities. He was President of the Langston Bar Association from 1982-1985; President of the California Association of Black Lawyers in 1986 and President of the National Bar Association from 1992-1993. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including Southwestern Alumnus of the Year Award 1994; National Bar Association Wiley Branton Award 2006 and induction into the Hall of Fame for the Langston Bar Association and National Bar Association 2010 and 2012 respectively. 

U. Lawrence Boze, Co-Chair (NBA Past President) 
Attorney U. Lawrence Bozé graduated from Phyllis Wheatley High School in 1967. From there, Bozé went on to attend the University of Houston on a football scholarship, where he earned his B.S. degree in 1973. In 1978, Bozé became the first student to receive a master’s in finance degree and a Juris Doctorate from Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Texas Southern University in their joint degree program; he graduated Summa Cum Laude and was valedictorian of both programs. Bozé served as the bankruptcy counsel for Chevron U.S.A./Gulf Oil Corporation from 1985 to 1987. As vice president/bankruptcy counsel for Allied Bankshares, Inc., Bozé formulated the bankruptcy section of Allied Banks of Texas. Later, Bozé founded U. Lawrence Bozé and Associates, which specializes in commercial litigation, probate law, oil and gas law, and real estate law. In addition, Bozé served as a closing attorney and tort litigator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and is an AMI certified mediator. In 1994, Bozé became the first black fee attorney for Fidelity National Title. Active in the National Bar Association (NBA) since 1987, Bozé served as the president of the affiliate, Houston Lawyers Association, in 1987. In 1991, Bozé founded and became the first president of the Texas Association of African American Lawyers. Bozé was elected the NBA’s 54th President in 1996. He served as a State Bar Examiner for the Texas Board of Law Examiners from 1997- 2009 and was Vice-Chair during 2003-2009. Bozé is a recipient of the NAACP Distinguished Service to the Houston Community Award. He was named by Ebony Magazine as one of 100 Most Influential African American in the U.S. for 1997. He has been featured since 2004 as an attorney on the HistoryMakers.com. 

ELECTIONS 
Craig Gibbs, Chair 
Craig Gibbs is the head of the Law Office of Craig Gibbs, a Jacksonville, Florida firm that concentrates on plaintiff’s personal injury law. He received his Juris Doctor degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio in 1976, where he similarly, earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1973. He spent his junior year abroad at the University of Lancaster, Lancashire, England under the auspices of Case’s Jr. Year Abroad Program. Admitted to the Florida Bar in 1987, attorney Gibbs has served the Florida Bar in various capacities. From 2000-07, he was a member of the Florida Bar’s Membership Benefits’ Committee and served on the Workers Compensation Rules Committee from 1998-2006. A charter member of the Equal Opportunities Law Section in 1999, he remains a member. From 2011-12, he served as Chair of the Bar’s Trial Lawyers’ Section, having been a member of that section’s Executive Council from 2005 to 2013. He has also served on the 4th Circuit’s Grievance Committee from 2004-08, serving as its Chair from 2006-08, as well as on the Rules of Judicial Administration Committee from 2008-present. member of many legal organizations, attorney Gibbs is a life member of the National Bar Association, 1988-present; the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, 1987-present; the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter National Bar Association from 1987-present, where he served as its President from 2000-01; the Florida Justice Association, 1991-present; the DWPerkins Bar Association, 1987-present where he served as Chair for two terms from 1997-1999; and the Jacksonville Bar Association, 1998-present. 

AD HOC COMMITTEES

 

AMICUS BRIEF COMMITTEE 
The committee will handle the operational tasks of implementing the National Bar Association’s amicus strategy.
Tillman J. Breckenridge, Chair | Reed Smith LLP | Pamela Palmer | Henry Gyden | Vanessa Pratt | Athena Taite | Samuel Walker | LeRoy Pernell
AMICUS REQUEST FORM

ANNUAL LINNES FINNEY, JR. NBA YOUTH DAY COMMITTEE 
Held during the Annual Convention, this day-long program provides high school students with a chance to learn about careers in the legal profession. The goal of this program is to increase the number of diverse students applying to and being admitted to our nation’s law schools by providing them with resources and knowledge about what it takes to become a lawyer. Participants attend various workshops on the application/admissions process, trying cases, the legal profession options and will receive and discuss the NBA’s publication entitled, “How the Law Treats You Differently When You Turn 18.” The students will also participate in mock trial competitions. The program culminates with an awards presentation.
Vanessa Pratt, Co-Chair | Melvin Felton II, Co-Chair | Donald Isaac | Charlyn Stanberry | Rachael Johnson | Charis Johnson | Jawan Finley | John Walker-Turner | Kent Lollis | Linnes Finney, Jr. (NBA Past President)
 
CURRENT ISSUES COMMITTEE 
The committee will work with the National Bar Association’s Regions and Affiliates to identify and address hot topics in each of their respective regions and across the United States. It will partner with the NPursuit of Justice Project, whose mission is to bring light to public servants who betray the public trust they are sworn to protect, governmental and public institutions that support or fail to rectify racists and sexist policies and practices, and laws that are unjust. It is setting up strategic alliances with HBCU law school clinics across the US to research issues and provide position papers on issues identified.
Eartha Jean Johnson, Chair | Antoy Bell  | Lonnie Johnson | Barbara Kaye Miller | Monica Dula | Valencia Rainey | Tierra Willams

DIVERSITY PIPELINE TASK FORCE COMMITTEE 
This committee is responsible for planning and implementing programming which will increase diversity in the legal profession and assist law students with making a successful transition to the practice of law. During this bar, this task force was charged with the following three initiatives: i) Pilot program: NBA Law Student Rep at 12-13 law schools across the country; ii) developing a Bridge the Gap Seminar for newly admitted attorneys; and iii) planning a collegiate Mock Trial Competition.
Larry Fields, Chair | Philip G. Hampton, II, Vice-Chair | Sherri Cunningham, Vice-Chair | Alvin Benton | Perry Cameron | Carlos Moore | Teresa Metcalf Beasley | Cynthia Hawkins DeBose | Marylin Pierre | John Nussbaumer | Kimberly Ford | Carmen-Nicole Cox 

DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DRUM MAJOR FOR JUSTICE COMPETITION COMMITTEE 
Organizes a competition designed to motivate high school seniors to excel in education. The Competition encourages students to express their views on a pre-selected topic and focuses on the ability of the students to communicate verbally and in writing. The competition is also designed to give young people experience in public speaking and provides an opportunity for them to obtain scholarship funds to continue their education at a college or university. The competition begins at the NBA local affiliate level and includes a written essay. Students advance to the NBA regional level and one student from each of the 12 Regions advances to the national competition held during the NBA’s Annual Convention.
Andrea Evans, Chair | Sonya Armfield | Aziza Botchway | Robert Simmons | Debra Davis %2