June 20, 2012 — Four George Washington University Law School alumni have been selected by the National Bar Association and IMPACT as this year’s “Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40”: Tremayne Bunaugh (J.D. ‘01), Rodney Pratt (J.D. ‘01), Annamaria Steward-Dymond (J.D. ’99), and Erek Barron (J.D. ’99).
The National Bar Association (NBA) is the world’s largest and oldest organization of attorneys of color and IMPACT is a DC-based civic engagement organization. The partnership between the two has been recognizing the top 40 African American lawyers under the age of 40 for the last three years. This year’s honorees will be honored July 15 at the NBA’s 87th Annual Convention in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace.
According to honoree Rodney Pratt, an Assistant General Counsel for NIKE, Inc., the recognition is an important accomplishment at this stage in his career. “It is encouraging to know I am putting to good use the skills and community commitment I learned at GW,” he said.
Each of the honorees credits GW Law as being a major influence on his or her legal career and success.
Honoree Erek Barron, Counsel at Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, LLP, said that four students out of 40 nominees coming from GW Law “says a lot for the strength of our school.”
Honoree Annamaria Steward-Dymond, Associate Dean of Students at the University of the District of Columnia’s David A. Clarke School of Law, echoed Erek’s sentiment. “The fact that 10 percent of the Top 40 Under 40 awardees are George Washington University Law School graduates is a testament to the skills, drive, and commitment to service that the school instills in us,” she said.
Other law schools also had multiple honorees but according to Will Wilder (J.D. ’06), a member of the NBA’s host committee, four nominees is “on the high side,” he said.
The criteria, according to Associate Dean for Trial Advocacy Alfreda Robinson, is: “You have to basically be a superstar, these are young lawyers who are at the top of the profession.”
The honorees each attribute a great deal of their success to their involvement in the Law School’s Black Law Student Association (BLSA), which maintains close ties between alumni and works to instill a sense of community service. “Alumni will tell you that they have very close ties to BLSA,” said Associate Dean Robinson (J.D. ’78), an active advisor of the organization.
Honoree Tremayne Bunaugh, Counsel to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics, has dedicated time to mentoring students through BLSA, assisting with resumes, cover letters, and general guidance. “Ultimately I knew this was an obligation of mine,” he said.
Several honorees will be specially honored at the awards ceremony in July. One will be recognized as the Nation’s Best Advocate of the Year while other honorees will be chosen for Excellence in Leadership, Excellence in Service, Excellence in Activism, and Excellence in Innovation.
This is not GW Law’s first year to have multiple “40 Lawyers Under 40” honorees. Last year saw three alumni honored among the Top 40: Angelia Wade (J.D. '02), Kimberly Reddick (J.D. '96), and Andrea Hence Evans (J.D. ’02), who took home the honor of Nation’s Best Advocate for the year.
GW Law and BLSA will be hosting an alumni reception during the NBA Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. Please visit the GW Law Office of Alumni Relations for more on the July 16 event.
For more information on these awards, please visit the Nation's Best Advocates website.