President – Chambord Benton-Hayes
Chambord is a senior associate in the San Francisco office of Ogletree Deakins. Her employment litigation practice focuses on the representation of employers and management in state and federal courts. Chambord handles class actions as well as employment law claims for discrimination, retaliation, harassment, sexual harassment, and wrongful termination. She also represents employers before various administrative agencies including the DFEH, DLSE, DOL, EEOC and WCAB. Chambord regularly provides trainings to her clients and their employees on sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. Chambord is also a motivational speaker for non-profits, high schools, and community organizations. A native of San Francisco, Chambord received her B.A. in both Politics and Philosophy from University of San Francisco in 2007. She then received her J.D. from University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 2010. While at UC Hastings, she served as the co-president of the Black Law Students Association, which received the Organization of the Year Award.
Vice President – Suzette Barnes
Suzette Barnes is a senior associate in Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s San Francisco office and a member of Orrick’s Complex Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group. Her practice focuses on the representation of major financial institutions, corporations, and individuals in complex commercial and securities actions, regulatory investigations, and internal investigations. Additionally, Suzette devotes a portion of her practice to providing pro bono services to asylum seekers, veterans seeking VA benefits, homeless individuals seeking the resolution of open warrants, and low income individuals seeking criminal record remedies (including expungements). At Orrick, Suzette serves as the co-chair of the San Francisco office’s Diversity Committee and has previously served on the firm’s Summer Associate Committee, Lateral Committee, and the committee for Orrick’s annual Diversity & Inclusion Day.
In addition to serving on BWLNC’s Board, Suzette is a current Board member for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (“LCCR”), one of the Bay Area’s preeminent non-profit organizations working to protect and promote the dignity and self-determination of people of color, immigrants and low-income people in California. Suzette was the recipient of LCCR’s Keta Taylor Colby Award in 2015, served as a Pathfinder for the Leadership Counsel for Legal Diversity in 2016, and was recently chosen as one of the National Black Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40 for 2019.
Prior to joining Orrick, Suzette was a litigation fellow in the Office of General Counsel for the Regents of the University of California, where she litigated commercial, probate and mandamus actions. Suzette received Bachelors of Arts (with honors) in both Economics and East Asian Language and Literature (with a specialization in Japanese) from the University of Florida in 2007, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in Spring 2006. In 2010, she received her Juris Doctor (with honors) from the University of California, Hastings, where she served as a Board member for the Hastings Black Law Student Association, and as a Senior Articles Editor for the Hastings Business Law Journal.
Treasurer – Alessandra “Ally” Givens
Ally is a litigator in the financial service litigation group at McGuireWoods LLP in San Francisco. A native of North Carolina, Ally attended The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received a B.A. in Women’s Studies and a B.A. in Afro-American Studies. After graduation, Ally spent two years as a paralegal assistant before attend attending The George Washington University Law School, where she was Senior Articles Editor of the Forum on Law, Economics, and Finance Journal and President of Corporate Business Law Society.
Membership Coordinator – Liku Madoshi
Liku Madoshi is an associate attorney at the law firm Bledsoe, Diestel, Treppa & Crane, in San Francisco, CA. She graduated magna cum laude from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and received her bachelor’s degree in Organizational Communication Studies with a minor in philosophy from California State University, Sacramento. She has three academic publications to date: “The Development of Trust in African American Voting Behavior” (2014); “Policing the Police: Racial Implicit Bias & Limiting Police Discretion to Use Military Gear Against Protestors” (2017); and Mind on Lock: The Impact of Incarceration on Black Mental Health. Her academic inter- ests lie in social justice, specifically, as it pertains to the systemic oppression of Black people. Ms. Madoshi loves to stay active in her community. She is currently a volunteer for the Coalition of Black Excellence and a member of the Charles Houston Bar Association. In August 2019, Ms. Madoshi launch her company Tryb LLC with the purpose of building community among Black women in the Bay Area so they can find ways to be a resource to one another.
Communications Chair – Mahal Montoya
Mahal is a civil rights lawyer with a sharp focus on cannabis law. She began her law practice in 2014, having spent the previous fourteen years as a law clerk, educator, and paralegal specialist for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Her law practice integrates her passion for civil rights and her support for entrepreneurs. She spends her time counseling entrepreneurs about civil rights, business, and corporate law.Mahal was born in Vallejo, and after a series of family tragedies enrolled herself in the tenth grade at Oakland Technical High School. She was legally emancipated as a minor the following spring.
These childhood experiences inspired her to become an attorney and in her law practice, to work on family law issues.While an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, Mahal was a representative on the Ethnic Studies Fifth Account Committee. This experience taught Mahal the importance of working with entrepreneurs within a framework to achieve desired goals.
Mahal is focused on mastering the cannabis regulatory process at the local, state, and federal levels to best serve her clients’ needs. Mahal received a full academic scholarship to study law at the University of Iowa after earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from UC Berkeley. She was a graduate legal research assistant to Law Professor Adrien Wing with her work writing “Global Critical Race Feminism: An International Reader.” As a woman of color, Mahal has personally experienced implicit and explicit sexism and racism in academia, in the workplace, and in life. Her civil rights practice was born from an instinct to survive and navigate the white male patriarchy that is America.
Community Service Chair – Lauren Peebles
Lauren N. Peebles is the founder of The Law Office of Lauren N. Peebles. She was admitted to the State Bar of California after obtaining her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Oregon School of Law. Prior to law school, Lauren received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley. During law school, Lauren clerked for the Honorable Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon.
Lauren has a diverse legal resume including asbestos litigation, landlord-tenant law, personal injury, criminal defense, and civil litigation. Her firm specializes in Estate Planning (wills and trusts) and Probate.
Lauren received the BWOPA/TILE HerStory Empowers Award in 2016 and the Lawyers of Distinction award for Estate Planning (an award reserved for the top 10% of attorneys in the U.S.) in 2017, 2018 and again in 2019.
Lauren is admitted to practice law before all courts of the State of California. She is a member of the California State Bar Trusts & Estates Section, the California Association of Black Lawyers, the East Bay Trusts & Estate Lawyers, and serves on the Executive Committee of Black Women Lawyers of Northern California. She previously served on executive committees of the Alameda County Bar Association’s Trust & Estates and Barristers sections.
Lauren is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®. She serves locally, regionally and on international executive committees of the Sorority.
Social Media Chair – Kayla Grundy
Kayla is a managing associate in Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe’s award-winning labor and employment practice. To prevent individual discrimination or harassment allegations from spiraling into class actions, Kayla finds innovative solutions to quickly and quietly resolve such matters. She applies that same finesse when handling highly sensitive trade secret matters, which also require quick and decisive action to preserve her client’s reputation.
In addition to resolving problems before they escalate, Kayla also helps clients succeed in litigation when necessary whether in state or federal court, or in administrative actions against the government.
Prior to joining Orrick, Kayla participated in Berkeley Law’s Death Penalty Clinic, a clinic designed to enable law students to provide high-level, supervised representation to clients facing capital punishment. Through her work in the clinic, and through similar pro bono work in her legal practice, Kayla received hands on experience in appellate litigation and investigations.
Strategic Partnerships Coordinator – Bethanie Barnes
Bethanie Ella Barnes is Employment Counsel at Slack Technologies, Inc. in San Francisco. Originally from Los Angeles, she began her legal career in Southern California as an employment defense attorney and also devoted her time to serving on philanthropic boards and supporting local non-profit organizations. Bethanie graduated from Howard University magna cum laude, with a B.A. in Political Science. After graduation, she joined Teach for America in Atlanta, where she taught first grade for two years. Thereafter, Bethanie attended Emory University School of Law where she served as the Executive Symposium Editor of the Emory International Law Review and graduated with honors.
Law School Liaison – Racquel Martin
Racquel is an associate in the San Francisco Office of O’Melveny and Myers, where she utilizes her analytical, critical thinking, and problem solving skills to assist public and private clients with all aspects of employment law and litigation, including mergers and acquisitions; compliance with local, state, and federal employment statutes; and employment-related disputes involving discrimination, retaliation, harassment, wrongful termination, wage and hour, FMLA, worker’s compensation, and non-compete issues. Prior to joining O’Melveny, Racquel practiced labor and employment law at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings in Nashville, Tennessee.
Racquel is an active member of the National Employment Law Council, where she served as an Academy Fellow for 2019. A native of Tennessee, Racquel received her B.A. in Public Policy from Vanderbilt University and her J.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Law. While at UT, Racquel served as an Articles Editor of the Tennessee Law Review, a Research Editor for Transactions: The Tennessee Journal of Business Law, the President of the Black Law Students Association, the Project Supervisor for Street Law, and a member of the American Inn of Court.
Immediate Past President – Megan Lawson
Megan is an attorney at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher where she defends companies in all aspects of employment law and litigation, including class action, multi-plaintiff and single plaintiff lawsuits under California and federal law. Megan is also an active member of the National Employment Law Council (NELC), where she served as an Academy Fellow for 2016 and 2017, and a Leadership Council for Legal Diversity (LCLD) Pathfinder for 2017. Megan attended Northwestern University School of Law, where she was the Executive Editor of the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, President of the Black Law Students Association, Co-chair of the Class of 2013 Graduation Committee and a student associate for the MacArthur Justice Center and the Investor Protection Complex Civil Litigation Centers at Bluhm Legal Clinic.