Black History Month offers an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the important contributions of African Americans throughout history. This year, NALA is honoring the significance of Black history in the legal profession by recognizing the contributions of paralegals and the impact they have had on the advancement of justice and equality in the United States. NALA is striving to emphasize the importance of Black History Month in bringing attention to the diverse and important roles that paralegals play in the legal profession. By acknowledging the accomplishments of African Americans in the legal profession, NALA is honoring the legacies of hardworking paralegals and their dedication to the pursuit of justice and equality.

The Importance of Black History in the Legal Profession

Black History Month is a time to celebrate the many contributions of African Americans to the fabric of our society. From the significant contributions of mathematician Katherine Johnson to the incredible athletic feats of Jackie Robinson, African Americans have contributed greatly to the advancement of society. Furthermore, African Americans have also played an important role in the legal profession, which has been diverse and inclusive throughout its history and one of the most progressive fields in terms of advancing equality in the United States. Despite the strides that have been made, there is still room for improvement. There are many important issues facing the legal profession that must be resolved, such as the underrepresentation of ethnic minorities.

Recognizing Trailblazing Black Legal Professionals

NALA’s vision is ensuring paralegals are known and valued as an integral part of the legal ecosystem. Black legal professionals are a crucial aspect of that vision. NALA recognizes the significant impact they have had and continue to have on bringing about justice and equity in the United States.

Macon Bolling Allen was the first licensed Black attorney in the United States in the 1840s. A few decades later, Charlotte Ray became the first Black female attorney in the 1870s. Charles Houston helped dismantle Jim Crow laws and found the National Bar Association in 1925. Thurgood Marshall was instrumental in ending legal segregation as the first Black Supreme Court Justice in 1967.

Bryan Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative in 1989 to provide legal representation to prisoners who may have been wrongly convicted. In 1991, Clarence Thomas became the second Black Supreme Court Justice. More recently, Ketanji Brown Jackson was appointed to the Supreme Court as the first Black female justice in 2022.

The Importance of Black History Month in Honoring the Legacies of Hardworking Paralegals

NALA represents paralegals nationwide of all colors and backgrounds. One way we bring these people together is through our webinars. We discuss a variety of topics, including issues facing the paralegal profession. We are committed to doing our part to expand the profession to include more diverse representation. It is important to honor the legacies of paralegals who work hard every day to make the United States a better country. Paralegals played a part in striking down discriminatory laws and procedures, therefore allowing Black people to join in the profession and continue fighting for justice and equality. This month and always, NALA recognizes the important contributions of Black professionals to the legal atmosphere.