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September 15, 2021 Feature

Meet the Jefferson B. Fordham Award Winners

Keynote Presenter

The Rev. Dr. Janette C. Wilson-Howard Esq.

The Reverend Wilson-Howard is Senior Advisor to Rev. Jesse L Jackson Sr. and National Executive Director of PUSH For Excellence; she has worked with PUSH as a volunteer and/or staff member since she graduated from law school in 1980. Additionally, Reverend Wilson-Howard is the Senior Pastor of Fernwood United Methodist Church in Chicago. She began her career as a chemist, transitioned to the legal profession and finally to Christian ministry. In 1971. Dr. Wilson received her BS in chemistry from MacMurray College. Four years later, she earned a MA in Environmental Science/Planning from Governor’s State University, and in 1980, received her JD from the John Marshall Law School and was admitted to the Illinois Bar the same year. Dr. Wilson accepted the call to the ministry in 1994, and was awarded a Doctorate of Divinity from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio in May of 1997. She was ordained in September 1997.

Her employment record is as diverse as her educational background. Dr. Wilson has taught at every grade level, served as an environmental chemist, a pump engineer, trial lawyer (for 15 years), hosted a weekly cable television broadcast (for 25 years), administered a union-based medical center (for 8 years) and has been engaged in the struggle for civil and human rights all of her life. Dr. Wilson developed the first public school Interfaith Community Partnership for the Chicago Public Schools system (CPS), and was later employed as the Manager of School Climate for CPS. She organized the volunteer legal clinic for the National Rainbow PUSH Coalition Inc. and became its first volunteer director. Prior to her employment with CPS, Dr. Wilson was the Acting General Counsel for Chicago State University. Prior to that, she was Executive Director of Operation PUSH. She has been Associate Pastor for a number of congregations, and was the first African American female Dean of the Doctor of Ministry Program for United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. She has spent most of her adult life as a civil rights advocate.

Daniel J. Curtin, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award

Charles W. Thompson, Jr., International Municipal Lawyers Association, Rockville, MD

Mr.Thompson is Executive Director and General Counsel of the International Municipal Lawyers Association. Prior to being appointed to this position, he was the Montgomery County, MD, County Attorney from 1995–2006. For the previous 17 years, Mr. Thompson was County Attorney for Carroll County, MD. He received a BA in history from Virginia Military Institute and his JD from the University of Baltimore School of Law, where he served as Recent Developments Editor of the Law Review. He serves on and served as Chairman of the State and Local Government Law Section of the Maryland State Bar Association, and serves on and served as Chairman of that Association’s Committee on Ethics. Thompson is an adjunct professor at George Washington University. As County Attorney for Montgomery County, his office received the ABA’s Hodson Award in 1997 for best public law offices in America. In 2011, Thompson received the ABA Section of State and Local Government Law Advocacy Award.

Advocacy Award

Jamila Jefferson-Jones, Wayne State University, Detroit

Ms. Jefferson-Jones is a professor at Wayne State University, where she is Associate Director for Property, Equity and Justice at the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights. Previously, Ms. Jefferson-Jones was on faculty at the University of Missouri Kansas City, and was Interim Director of the Black Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences. Ms. Jefferson-Jones writes about property and wealth attainment by communities and groups on the margins of society. She uses critical race methodologies to interrogate the ways in which members of favored racialized groups seek to exclude racial and ethnic minorities from public and private spaces, including through the use, or threat of, police action to enforce racial segregation and racist notions of supremacy. Her recent article on the subject, #LivingWhileBlack: Blackness As Nuisance, was published in the American University Law Review and featured in the New York Times.

Ms. Jefferson-Jones is a recognized expert on the housing segment of the sharing economy, particularly on discrimination in that sector. She served a two-year term on the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Standing Committee on Recruitment and Retention of Minority Law Teachers and Students. She has chaired and served on law faculty and university-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion committees, and has been faculty advisor to the Black Law Students Association. Ms. Jefferson-Jones graduated from Harvard Law School and Harvard College.

Up & Comer Award

Christopher W. Carlson, Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP, Richmond, VA

Mr. Carlson represents clients in regulatory, civil, and criminal investigations and litigation as a member of his firm’s State Attorneys General practice and Enforcement Actions & Investigations team. He is a former judicial law clerk to the Hon. David A. Faber of the United States District Court. He also served as a federal law clerk for the Southern District of West Virginia, and served as West Virginia Assistant Attorney General. Before joining Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP, Mr. Carlson served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the West Virginia Attorney General, where he litigated consumer protection actions involving state and federal laws prohibiting unfair or deceptive business practices related to debt collection, pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles, landlord-tenant issues, and student loans. His experience handling multistate litigations and settlements, adapting to evolving regulations, and complex arguments has laid the foundation for Carlson’s ability to advise clients confidently and effectively.

Law Office Accomplishment

Nevada Office of the Attorney General Policy Research Team, Carson City, NV

Attorney General Aaron D. Ford heads the Nevada Office of the Attorney General. One of his top priorities for the office is criminal justice reform and the mission: “Our Job is Justice.” The Policy Research Team reflects this priority. Christine Jones Brady, Second Assistant Attorney General, is the head of the Policy Research Team. The Policy Research Team is a diverse, interdisciplinary, ad hoc team that formed in 2020 after the team members voiced their concerns to Ford following the deaths of Breonna Taylor in Louisville on March 13, 2020, and George Floyd in Minnesota on May 25, 2020.

The Policy Research Team consists of nine members. Its mission is to research and identify criminal justice issues in need of reform, suggest legislative and policy changes to effect meaningful reform in those areas, and review and provide substantive feedback on proposed legislation related to criminal justice reform.

Elizabeth Clark Young Lawyers

Monique Puentes, Murray, Morin & Herman, Tampa, FL

Ms. Puentes is a law clerk and paralegal at Murray, Morin & Herman in Tampa, FL. She co-chairs the Section’s Law Student Committee, and graduated from Florida Law School in Gainesville, Florida. Ms. Puentes also interned for Section member and Chair of our Membership Committee, Michael Kamprath, at the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority in Tampa.

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