President – Suzette (Suzy) Barnes
Suzette Barnes is a Vice President of Wealth Management Litigation for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, a leading global financial services firm that provides a range of investment banking, asset management and wealth management services.
Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Suzette was a senior associate in Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s Complex Litigation and Dispute Resolution group. Her practice focused on the representation of major financial services institutions, corporations and individuals in securities and complex commercial actions, regulatory investigations, and internal investigations. While at Orrick, Suzette served as the co-chair of the San Francisco office’s Diversity Committee and a member of the firm’s African American Attorney Affinity Group. She also devoted a portion of her practice to providing pro bono services to asylum seekers, veterans, homeless individuals seeking the resolution of open warrants, and individuals seeking criminal record remedies (including expungements).
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.
In addition to serving as President of the Black Lawyers Association of Northern California, Suzette also serves as Board Secretary and Membership Committee Chair of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, 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 marginalized communities in California. Suzette has also received a number of honors, accolades, and awards during her career, including the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Keta Taylor Colby Award and “Top 40 Under 40.”
A native of Jamaica, Suzette spent her childhood between Kingston, Jamaica and South Florida. In 2010, she graduated with Bachelors of Arts in Economics and Japanese from the University of Florida. She graduated with a Juris Doctor from the University of California- Hastings College of the Law in 2010.
Vice President – Alessandra (Ally) Givens
Ally Givens is an associate in King & Spalding’s Trial & Global Disputes practice group. 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 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.
Treasurer – Bethanie Barnes
Bethanie is Corporate Counsel, Employment at Airtable, where she leads all employment legal matters for the company. Prior to Airtable, Bethanie was senior employment counsel at Slack Technologies, Inc. and a Bethanie was an employment defense litigator in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Outside of work, Bethanie devotes her time to serving on philanthropic boards and supporting local non-profit organizations. She is an alumna of Howard University and Emory University School of Law.
Strategic Partnership Coordinator – Kristin Williams
Kristin Williams is an attorney with Greenberg Traurig, LLP. Her practice focuses primarily on litigating a variety of civil matter. Kristin has participated in multiple trials, arbitrations, judicial reference proceedings, and mediations.
Kristin received her JD from UC Hastings in 2016, and BAs in Sociology and Public Relations from the University of Oklahoma in 2012.
In addition to her work with BWLNC, Kristin serves on the Board of Directors of Health Outreach Partners, a non-profit which seeks to build strong, effective, and sustainable grassroots health models by partnering with local community-based organizations across the country. Kristin is the Chair of the American Heart Association’s Bay Area Young Professionals where she regularly advocates for policies that promote heart health, and speaks on behalf of heart disease survivors. She is also a member of the UC Hastings Board of Governors.
Law School Liaison – Roza Patterson
Roza is an associate at the law firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Her practice at Orrick includes employment law, litigation, and a diverse pro bono practice. In 2021, Roza was selected as an Orrick Racial, Social and Economic Justice Fellow at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley. At the Law Foundation, she is spending a year working full-time to help advance the rights of under-represented individuals and families in Santa Clara County by providing free legal representation and advice on housing-related matters, such as unlawful evictions, discrimination, and poor housing conditions. In the Fall 2021, Roza served as an adjunct lecturer at UC Davis School of Law where she taught a writing course to 3Ls.
Roza graduated with her JD from the University of California Davis School of Law in 2018. Prior to law school, she graduated with a Master of Science in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 2013, Roza earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science, Human Rights, and Communication Studies from Southern Methodist University, graduating summa cum laude.
Membership Coordinator – Racquel Martin
Racquel Martin is a labor & employment/litigation associate in the San Francisco office of O’Melveny & Myers, where she utilizes her analytical, critical thinking, and problem solving skills to assist public and private employers with all aspects of labor and employment matters, including workplace investigations; employment agreements; employment handbook/policy review; compliance with local, state, and federal employment statutes; and employment-related disputes involving harassment, discrimination, retaliation, hostile work environment, wage and hour, FMLA, WARN, non-competition, and non-solicitation claims. She also maintains an active pro bono practice, focusing on employment issues impacting non-profit organizations, racial justice, immigration litigation, and criminal justice reform. At O’Melveny, Racquel serves as the chair of the Diversity Employee Network in San Francisco and a member of the San Francisco Employment and Associate & Counsel Advisory Committees. She is also a member of the firm’s Racial Justice Associate & Counsel Advisory Committee.
In addition to her service at her firm and to BWLNC, Racquel is an active member of the National Employment Law Council, where she served as an NELC Academy Fellow in 2019 and 2020; the Bar Association of San Francisco; Charles Houston Bar Association; the Tennessee Alliance for Black Lawyers; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (Berkeley Bay Area Alumnae Chapter); UT Law’s Alumni Council; and the Association of Vanderbilt Black Alumni.
A native of Tennessee, Racquel earned her B.A. in Public Policy with a minor in Spanish from Vanderbilt University and her Juris Doctorate, summa cum laude, from the University of Tennessee College of Law. While at UT, Racquel served as an Articles Editor for the Tennessee Law Review, a Research Editor for Transactions: The Tennessee Journal of Business Law, the President of the Black Law Students Association, and the Project Supervisor for Street Law. She was also an extern with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Tennessee. Prior to practicing law in California, Racquel practiced law for three years in Tennessee as a labor and employment attorney at an AmLaw 200 firm.
Fundraising Chair – Adrieannette Ciccone
Adrieannette Ciccone is an urban planner turned lawyer. Her practice consists of consumer protection litigation, where she defends the legal rights of those facing debt collection lawsuits, real estate and land use litigation, commercial litigation and civil rights litigation.
Adrieannette is active in the legal community and since being barred in 2014, and from 2014 to 2020, she served on the ACBA Barrister’s Executive Committee. Adrieannette also served on the Charles Houston Bar Association Board from 2016-2019; was selected by the National Bar Association as one of the Nation’s Best Advocates Under 40 in 2016; has been on the California Association of Black Lawyers Board since 2017; was selected as an Executive Committee Member of the Litigation Section of the California Lawyers Association; is the West Coast Chair of the Cornell Black Lawyers Alumni Network; was selected to serve as the Black Women Lawyers of Northern California’s Fundraising Chair for 2021; and most impactful of 2020, co-founded and serves as a Co-Chair of the California Lawyers Association Racial Justice Committee. Adrieannette received the Unity Award from the Minority Bar Coalition for 2019 and 2020. Adrieannette was honored to receive the Alameda County Bar Association Distinguished Service Award for a Barrister from Alameda County Bar Association in 2021. Adrieannette is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
Adrieannette knew she wanted to be a lawyer in the second grade. Even at such a young age she knew that lawyers are well respected, hard workers that have an important role in society. Over the years Adrieannette has given back to the community through countless hours of volunteer service. On the Barristers Ex Comm she’s coordinated a multitude of beneficial programs including the Barristers Dine with a Judge Series, Annual Barristers Judges Social, and Barristers Mentorship Programs. This year Adrieannette has served on the Racial Justice and Equity Committee; in partnership with Charles Houston Bar Association; and has coordinated meaningful and impactful racial justice programming. She has been integral in facilitating partnerships amongst ACBA and the California Lawyers Association Racial Justice Committee, Charles Houston Bar Association, and California Association of Black Lawyers.
Social Media Chair – Lauren Burrus-Fikes
Lauren Burrus-Fikes is a Deputy Public Defender at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. Lauren has been committed to social justice and public service since she was a young child.
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Lauren received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with a double minor in African American Studies and Justice Studies from San Jose State University. Thereafter, Lauren obtained her Juris Doctorate from Thomas Jefferson School of Law where she served as the Vice President of the Black Law Students Association.
While in law school and shortly after graduation Lauren interned with both the San Diego and San Francisco Offices of the Public Defender. Lauren’s passion is advocating and defending the rights of others, especially those from a lower socioeconomic background.
Lauren is an active member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated, Charles Houston Bar Association, and Black Women Lawyers Association of Northern California. In addition to the aforementioned, Lauren is also a member of the Racial Justice Committee and the Black Affinity Group at the Public Defender’s Office.
Ms. Burrus-Fikes is very active in her community. She is the co-director of the Royal Behavior Academy (a youth mentorship program), volunteers with House of Loving Hands (a non-profit organization that assists women who are victims of domestic violence), she serves on the scholarship review committee for the Peralta Colleges, she owns her own lash line, and she blogs about her weight loss journey. While dreams are free and easy to create, results take sacrifice.
Communications Chair – Kayla Delgado Grundy
Kayla is a Senior 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.
Event Consultant – 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.
Immediate Past President – Chambord Benton-Hayes
Chambord V. Benton-Hayes is a former BWLNC President (2020 – 2021). She is the Founder and Principal of Benton Employment Law Group, a Plaintiff’s employment firm in Oakland, California. She litigates complex single plaintiff and class actions in state and federal courts including allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, wage & hour violations, and employment-related torts.
Chambord takes great pleasure in oral advocacy. She represents parties in all aspects of litigation from the inception of a case through trial, and even before the Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District. She has trained thousands of executives, managers, doctors, attorneys, and employees on ADA compliance, anti-harassment and discrimination, and other labor and employment law issues. Chambord has received numerous accolades including “Super Lawyers”, “Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch”, and “40 under 40”.
A San Francisco native, she received her B.A. in both Politics and Philosophy, cum laude, from University of San Francisco in 2007. She received her J.D. from University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 2010. She served as an extern in both state and federal courts, first with Hon. Teri Jackson, Judge of the San Francisco County Superior Court, and then with Hon. Maria-Elena James, Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court, Northern District of California. While at UC Hastings, she served as the co-president of the Black Law Students Association, which received the “Organization of the Year Award”.