By Hope Caldwell
Hope Caldwell, an Assistant City Solicitor with the City of Philadelphia and a member of the ABA YLD Membership Board, can be contacted at .
Berry’s involvement and leadership at the local bar level and community as well as within the American Bar Association has lead to her next great accolade—receiving the ABA Young Lawyers Division’s 2008 “Outstanding Young Lawyer Award.” The award, in its second year, is given to an ABA YLD member who exhibits professional excellence, service to the profession and the bar, and service to community and/or who has a reputation for the advancement of legal ethics and professional responsibility.
Berry has provided many examples of each of those attributes in her career, including the creation of a successful solo practice, Law Office of Youshea A. Berry PLLC, focusing on real estate law and small business/corporate law. She has volunteered for many positions within the ABA, including the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division, where she was a Diversity Fellow as well as a vice-chair to a subcommittee.
“One of the most amazing parts of being in the ABA is the support and mentorship possibilities and the leadership potential that others have seen in me, especially as liaison to Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility,” Berry said.
What set Berry apart from the other national applicants for the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award, though, is her involvement in her community within Washington, D.C., and its surrounding areas.
As Omar Muhammad, Director of Morgan State University’s Entrepreneurial Development and Assistance Center, stated in his recommendation of Berry, “She shares her knowledge and experience in the legal field by volunteering, speaking engagements, and providing legal advice to help other entrepreneurs to succeed.” He explained how she displayed her spirit and commitment to helping entrepreneurs beyond her own community by volunteering for a two-month program, Operation Crossroads Africa, in Ghana.
Further, Berry’s focus on the importance of community service has lead her to volunteering with DC Cares, Habitat for Humanity, Girls on the Run, Girls Scouts of the U.S.A., and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, just to name a few.
Following law school at Emory University School of Law, where she was a Presidential Scholar, Berry worked as congressional fellow for a congressman in Washington, D.C., and then became a staff attorney for the Community Law Center in Baltimore. In 2005, just three years after graduating, she opened her own practice that she still manages while organizing bar association and CLE events and pro bono opportunities. She juggles all of this while also being a new mom to Coreah, 1, and a wife to husband, Steve Rollins. She points to a great exercise in teamwork between her and her husband in order to keep everything in line.
She said she knows the old saying that you should not mix business with pleasure, but she finds that mixture to be beneficial when she can get out and play basketball with the Lady Lawyers Basketball League ( The league comprises more than 300 lawyers and their friends and provides Berry an outlet for networking and exercise.
“You might not have enough time to do everything, but you can find enough events and activities to mix with the objectives you have,” Berry said. Her career and volunteerism are a testament to that.
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