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Dean Edley, Five Alumni Honored as Influential US Black Lawyers

OBABL Power 100

By Andrew Cohen

Dean Christopher Edley, Jr., and five Berkeley Law graduates were named to an inaugural Power 100 list of the nation’s most influential African-American attorneys by On Being a Black Lawyer (OBABL). The social media firm produces newsletters, events, and online platforms to engage African-American legal professionals.

In addition to Edley, the Power 100 includes Paula Boggs ’84, Marcelyn Cox ’89, Dannye Holley ’71, Billy Hunter ’70, and Eva Paterson ’75. OBABL’s editorial team worked with advisers for months researching prospective candidates. Those chosen were honored Feb. 29 during a reception at The Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C.

On Being a Black Lawyer published “The Power 100 Special Edition” online in February, in honor of Black History Month. The publication recognizes black lawyers in government, business, and academia; from Fortune 500 companies and law firms to nonprofits and universities. The list includes executives, deans, law firm partners, and social engineers.

Noteworthy achievements of the Power 100

Christopher Edley joined Berkeley Law as its dean in 2004 after teaching at Harvard Law School for 23 years. A veteran of two tours of White House service and twice that many presidential campaigns, Edley has played a central role in national politics for more than three decades. In 2011, he was appointed co-chair of the U.S. Department of Education’s 28-member Equity & Excellence Commission. The commission is tasked with obtaining public input into ways the federal government can increase educational opportunity by improving school funding equity.

Paula Boggs leads Starbucks’ Law and Corporate Affairs Department as its executive vice president, general counsel, and secretary. She will soon retire from Starbucks to join Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. She’s had a multifaceted career as a U.S. army officer, White House staff attorney, trial lawyer, and legal partner. In 2010, Boggs was appointed to the White House Council for Community Solutions.

Marcelyn Cox is president of the National Association for Law Placement, a nonprofit that seeks to improve recruitment, retention, and professional development for law students and lawyers. She is also assistant dean of career development at the University of Miami School of Law.

Dannye Holley is the dean of Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law, where he has been a faculty member for 34 years. The school was founded to educate African Americans, and its current student body is about 50 percent African American and 25 percent Hispanic, among other ethnic groups.

Billy Hunter, executive director of the National Basketball Association Players Association since 1996, was a key negotiator during 2011 meetings that led to the league’s collective bargaining agreement. He also formed and still directs the Women’s National Basketball Players Association, the first major U.S. sports union to represent female athletes.

Eva Paterson is the co-founder and president of the Equal Justice Society, which seeks to change the law through progressive legal theory, public policy, and practice. She previously spent 13 years as executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and nearly two decades as chair of the California Coalition for Civil Rights.

On Being a Black Lawyer was established in 2008 to report news of import to black legal professionals. It has received recognition from the American Bar Association and The National Black Law Student Association.