Board Members

Megan Lawson
Communications Chair:
Jasmine Anderson
Alessandra Givens
Social Media Chair:
Chambord Benton-Hayes
Suzette Barnes
Strategic Partnerships Coordinator:
Reanne Swafford-Harris
Candace B. Neal
Law School Liaison:
Courtney Cornwell
Membership Coordinator:
Jessica Dabiri
Immediate Past President:
Michelle O. Stewart

President – Megan Lawson

Lawson is a Managing Associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP 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. At Orrick, she is a member of the diversity committee, the summer associate committee and the committee for Orrick’s Diversity & Inclusion Day in Silicon Valley. 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. Back to Top

Vice-President – Alessandra Givens

Givens is a litigator in the financial service litigation group at McGuireWoods LLP in San Francisco. A native of North Carolina, Alessandra 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, Alessandra spent two years as a paralegal 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. Back to Top

Treasurer – Suzette Barnes

Barnes is a managing associate in Orrick’s San Francisco office and a member of the White Collar, Investigations, Securities Litigation & Compliance Group. Her practice focuses on the representation of major financial institutions, corporations, and individuals in securities and complex commercial actions and internal investigations. Additionally, Suzette devotes a portion of her practice to providing pro bono services to veterans seeking VA benefits, homeless individuals seeking the resolution of open criminal warrants, and low income individuals seeking criminal record remedies (including expungements) and occupational licenses. 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 practiced general, commercial and probate litigation, and handled mandamus actions. Back to Top

Secretary – Candace B. Neal

Neal is a native of Bakersfield, California, 2012 graduate of University of Berkeley, School of Law, a lover of all things Bay Area and a rising star in Real Estate Transactional law.  Ms. Neal is currently a mid-level Associate at in Reed Smith’s U.S. Real Estate Group. Her practice includes representing private clients in a wide array of commercial and residential real estate transactions including leasing, purchase and sales, construction, condemnation and land use and corporate acquisitions and dispositions.  Ms. Neal also recently became a licensed Real Estate Broker by the California Bureau of Real Estate. Before her transition to real estate law, Ms. Neal was an associate in Reed Smith’s Complex Litigation Group.  Ms. Neal is a Board Member of the Center for Youth Development Through Law that hosts a Summer Legal Fellowship program at Berkeley Law. Ms. Neal is a member and former Board member of the Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Inc. Back to Top

Membership Coordinator – Jessica Dabiri

Dabiri is an Associate in the Corporate and Securities group at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.  She received her law degree from UC Hastings, where she was a board member of the Black Law Students Association and Moot Court Team, and a Senior Production Editor for the Hastings Law JournalBack to Top

Communications Chair – Jasmine Anderson

Anderson is an Associate at Lafayette & Kumagai LLP. Her current practice includes all aspects of civil defense litigation, with an emphasis on employment matters.  Ms. Anderson has defended claims involving discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination and has extensive experience litigating single-plaintiff and wage & hour cases.​Back to Top

Social Media Chair – Chambord Benton-Hayes

Benton-Hayes is an associate at Olgetree Deakins. Chambord specializes in the defense and counseling of employers in all aspects of labor and employment litigation. She also handles constitutional law and catastrophic injury litigation matters. Her clients include public entities, universities, hospitals, and even small businesses. 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. Back to Top

Strategic Partnerships Coordinator – Reanne Swafford-Harris

Swafford-Harris is an associate in the San Francisco office of Sheppard Mullin, LLP.  Reanne represents employers in all aspects of employment-related matters in state and federal courts. Her practice includes defending employers against claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, and wage and hour class and collective action disputes.  Reanne additionally counsels employers on a wide range of employment issues, including employee handbooks, retail workers’ rights, and wage and hour compliance.  Prior to joining Sheppard Mullin, Reanne practiced as an associate at Seyfarth Shaw, LLP.  Reanne obtained her J.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2015, she is an avid runner and enjoys Saturday morning workouts with her husband and Labrador.” Back to Top

Law School Liaison – Courtney Cornwell

Cornwell is an associate in the San Francisco office of Reed Smith LLP. Courtney’s practice focuses on healthcare transactional and regulatory matters, labor and employment, and commercial litigation. Courtney’s healthcare work has included complex health care regulatory, business transactions and enforcement matters for health care providers and life science companies. With respect to labor and employment and commercial litigation, her experience has ranged from single plaintiff matters alleging discrimination and overtime claims to agency charges and investigations as well as various aspects of pre-trial procedure. Courtney is also active in the firm’s pro bono practice. She has represented clients referred to the firm by the East Bay Community Law Center as well as minors through the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and petition for guardianship procedures along side the Legal Services for Children organization. Courtney received her undergraduate degree in Communications from Pepperdine University in 2011 and received her J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 2014. Back to Top

Immediate Past President – Michelle O. Stewart

Michelle O. Stewart is an Associate in the Corporate Group at Covington & Burling LLP.  Her practice includes a broad range of corporate transactions, including mergers & acquisitions, private and public securities offerings, venture capital finance, corporate formation and governance, and other general corporate representation. Michelle received her law degree from the University of Chicago in 2010, where she was on the Executive Board of the Black Law Students Association. Michelle received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with minors in Economics and Chinese from Duke University in 2007.  Michelle speaks Mandarin at a comfortable conversational level and often brings her language skills and broad international perspective to her legal solutions.  When not at work, Michelle serves as the Campus Pastor of the Palo Alto campus of VIVE church, loves cooking up a storm with her husband, singing and dancing with her daughters or laughing at her labradoodle’s antics. Back to Top