Welcome to the
Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter
National Bar Association
Revitalizing Our Purpose
Valeria Obi, Esq.
It is with the utmost honor that I begin my tenure as President of the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter National Bar Association. Having served on this executive board for the past few years, I truly admire Virgil Hawkins’ rich history and look forward to contributing to it. I can assure you that my work ethic is strong and my desire to want to see Virgil Hawkins flourish is even stronger. I thank you all for trusting me with this endeavor and look forward to an amazing year. Our theme for this upcoming year is “Revitalizing Our Purpose” which will focus on re-establishing our purpose in today’s times while also being proactive with strategic planning tailored towards our unique needs.
As an organization we must consider where do we fit in, in today’s times? We are in a unique position where our affiliates are thriving on their own which we love to see, but often Virgil Hawkins gets forgotten about. Our membership is steady but how do we attract more members, especially the younger attorneys entering the profession who have no idea who we are. Being a statewide organization creates a bit of a difficult challenge of connecting with our current members so how do we combat that? In response to these sentiments, my hope is to assist with more branding and visibility to assist in making our presence more notable throughout the state and implementing new programming to attract and retain our members.
I plan to focus on accomplishing this in five ways:
1. Re-engaging our Affiliate Chapters
Virgil Hawkins is fortunate to now have 16 affiliate chapters throughout the state, each providing amazing programming to their members. As a past president of one of our affiliate chapters, the George Edgecomb Bar Association, I would have loved to see us all connect a bit more with one another. That is why we will host our inaugural Affiliate President’s Retreat and follow up meetings throughout the year so that we stay connected with each other, bounce ideas off each other, create a support system for one another and provide useful tools to ensure our leaders have a strong year. In addition, we will do a better job of recognizing the leaders of these organizations as well as their events.
2. Assist in Relaunching the Latimer-Hawkins Florida Chapter National Bar Association Judicial Council
In the past few years, we have seen the number of Black members of the judiciary grow, and so we believe it is the perfect time to assist in re-launching the Latimer-Hawkins Florida Chapter National Bar Association Judicial Council. Through this Council we hope to bridge the gap between our members and the judiciary and help them connect with one another as well.
3. Re-establish our Young Lawyers Committee
The state of Florida continuously produces more and more attorneys each year and we want to make sure that we are doing an efficient job of recruiting new members to the organization. That is why it is vital for us to not only do a better job of recruiting young lawyers but retaining them as members as well. We will have a Young Lawyers Chair this year who will provide programming discussing issues that are pertinent to young lawyers such as a Hiring Managers Symposium. Through this event, we hope to hear from actual decision makers in firms and government agencies to assist our young lawyers and law students in their careers. There will also be additional CLEs addressing other concerns young lawyers face. I’m also excited that for the first time ever Virgil Hawkins will have a seat on the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors. Through these efforts we hope to see our membership grow and pull in new future leaders of Virgil Hawkins.
4. Create Past Presidents Council
As the needs of the organization change each year, its important for us to look at how we’ve done things in the past so that we know how to move forward in the future. My hope is that through creating a Past Presidents Council, we can identify the growing needs of the organization and create a solid plan to keep us progressing forward. The legacy of Virgil Hawkins leadership is extensive so its important to tap into these resources to reach our maximum potential. We are also optimistic that this will assist in re-engaging our Past Presidents with the organization.
5. Create Past Presidents Council
This year I’d like to build our connection back up with the National Bar Association. We are an affiliate with voting rights, and I just want to ensure that we do a better job of staying engaged with them and passing on news from the NBA to our members. Past leaders of Virgil Hawkins have done a great job of building the relationship with the NBA and I want to make sure we maintain it properly.
As you can see, we have an ambitious year ahead of us but with your support I know it will all come to fruition. I’m excited about the new programs we plan to implement this year and look forward to your participation.
I want to thank you all once again for trusting me to lead such an esteemed organization. I know this will be an outstanding year!
Valeria Obi, Esq.
- Wed, Jun 14ZoomJun 14, 12:00 PM EDT – Jun 15, 1:00 PM EDTZoomJoin us for our final business meeting of the bar year! In addition to conducting business on behalf of the organization, this meeting will also serve as our elections meeting. Dues paid members interested in serving on the Executive Board should send a statement of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Fri, Jun 23Boca RatonJun 23, 12:00 PM – 1:30 PMBoca Raton, 501 E Camino Real, Boca Raton, FL 33432, USAJoin us for our annual Luncheon to celebrate all things relating to diversity! This is a joint luncheon hosted by the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, Florida Hispanic Bar Association, the Florida Bar Standing Committee on Diversity & Inclusion and Virgil Hawkins.
- Sat, Jun 24Boca RatonJun 24, 10:00 AM – Jun 25, 12:00 PMBoca Raton, 501 E Camino Real, Boca Raton, FL 33432, USAEach year, the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter National Bar Association hosts an Annual Scholarship & Awards Celebration to honor our scholarship recipients and various members who have made outstanding strides in the legal profession. Our next Celebration will take place on Saturday, June 24, 2023,
BECOME A MEMBER OF THE VIRGIL HAWKINS FLORIDA CHAPTER NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION
VHFCNBA is the statewide organization for Black attorneys in Florida. We serve as the umbrella organization to 16 affiliate chapters. The organization began in the 1950s with a group of African American lawyers who were members of the Chi Epsilon Legal Fraternity that mercilessly fought against injustice in Florida. With the inclusion of African American female lawyers in the 1960’s, the organization became a State affiliate chapter of the National Bar Association and changed its name to the Florida Chapter National Bar Association. Since that time, the VHFCNBA has made a significant mark on the NBA. The VHFCNBA has been the catalyst for the establishment of local, affiliate Black bar associations throughout Florida.