Our History

The Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association (GSCBWLA), formerly the National Bar Association Women Lawyers Division Dade County Chapter, was formed in 1985.  The purpose of this association shall be to address the concerns of our community with an emphasis on the legal, social, economic and political needs of the Black community, and to address the professional development of Black women lawyers, and its members, including continuing legal education and the pursuit of professional excellence.  Read the July 1985 Florida Bar News article on GSCBWLA’s formation.

For over thirty years, the association has been a network of attorneys dedicated to community service and the professional development of its members. The association has placed a strong emphasis on community service through its community seminars, free neighborhood legal clinics and programs educating and empowering youth and the mentorship of law students. The association is also known for its support of its members’ growth and development within the legal profession. With this support, our members have achieved many “firsts” within Florida as lawyers within law firms, corporations, government agencies and the judiciary.

In 2005, the association voted to be renamed in honor of community activist Gwendolyn Sawyer Cherry, who was the first Black female attorney to practice in Dade County and the first Black female legislator in the State of Florida. Throughout the association’s existence, it has grown and its reach has expanded. Although it began as a Dade County bar association, GSCBWLA currently represents over 350 men and women law students, lawyers and judges throughout the State of Florida.


Dianne Saulney Gaines
Carolyn Y. Howard
Greer E. Davis
Latricia C. Donley
Vera E. Gilford
Melvia Bailey Green
Marilyn Holifield
Cynthia Johnson-Stacks
Knovack Gramby Jones
Leah A. Simms
Jan A. Templeman
Valeria Bland Thomas

Past Presidents

1985-1987     Dianne Saulney Smith

1987-1989     Cynthia Johnson

1989-1991     Cynthia A. Everett

1991-1992     Carolyn Y. Howard

1992-1994     Lisa B. Hogan

1994-1996     Latricia C. Donley

1996-1997     Candace Duff

1997-1999     Knovack Gramby Jones

1999-2001     Darlene Y. Bell-Alexander

2001-2003     Shirlyon McWhorter

2003-2004     Marvelle McIntrye-Hall

2004-2005     Detra Shaw Wilder

2005-2006     S. Nicky Mitchell-Pope

2006-2007     Erica N. Wright

2007-2008     Kishásha B. Sharp

2008-2009     Marva L. Wiley

2009-2010     Flora Jackson-Holmes

2010-2011     Cheryl D. Linton Robinson

2011-2012     Kymberlee Curry Smith

2012-2013     Olanike Adebayo

2013-2014     Nexcy De La Rosa Monroe

2014-2015     Cynthia Henry Duval

2015-2017     Loreal A. Arscott

2017-2018     Nikki Lewis Simon

2018-2019     Melba V. Pearson

2019-2020     Brendalyn Edwards

2020-2021 Sheena Benjamin-Wise

2021-2022 Nakia Ruffin

2022-2023.    Michele Samaroo

Upcoming events

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