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The ROchester Black bar Association



WHo WE Are



In 1994, attorneys Kendal Tyre, Jr., Don M. Wade and Margaret Williams conceptualized an organization that would not only provide a support network for African American lawyers in the greater Rochester community, but also tap into the resources and network of the National Bar Association (NBA). The NBA, the oldest and largest national association of predominately African-American lawyers and judges, had no affiliate chapter in Rochester at that time. In the fall of 1994, the vision of these attorneys was realized when the Rochester Black Bar Association (RBBA) was formally established.

OUR FIRST MEETING: On April 28, 1995, the RBBA held its first organizational meeting where many African-American attorneys in Monroe County gathered to determine long and short range goals and within the community. Later, drawing on the insight and wisdom of J. Richard Everett, Esq., the Honorable Roy Wheatley King and Rozetta Darby McDowell, Esq, icons in Rochester’s African American legal community, the RBBA’s leadership further expanded its efforts toward mentoring, legal education and community service.

COMMUNITY DISCUSSION: The RBBA hosted its first legal roundtable discussion, “Race and the Law,” in March of 1999. The seminar addressed issues of inequality in the judicial system and focused on approaches toward their resolution. One of the earliest and noteworthy community service endeavors undertaken by the RBBA was its Computers in the Community Initiative. In April of 1999, the RBBA provided computers to Rochester City Schools and Baden Street Settlement. This initiative culminated in a dedication ceremony at Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery. RBBA gained national attention when Clyde E. Bailey, Sr., RBBA Member and patent counsel at the Eastman Kodak Company, was elected as the 61st President of the NBA. In October of 2003, the RBBA hosted the NBA’s 15th Annual Wiley A. Branton Issues Symposium. In addition to hosting a reception for NBA representatives at Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery, the RBBA paid tribute to the Honorable Rueben K. Davis, the Honorable Charles K. Willis and J. Richard Everett, Esq. at the RBBA’s first annual Awards Scholarship Dinner.

OUR CONTINUED GROWTH: The RBBA established its presence internationally when a delegation of forty NBA attorneys including Mr. Bailey, RBBA past President T. Andrew Brown and Yohannes Assefa traveled to South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe in June of 2004 as part of an official delegation to southern Africa. The delegation attended the International Affiliate Meeting, where the NBA’s highest honor was bestowed upon Botswana’s President H.E., Festus Mogae for lifetime contributions to advancing the cause of democracy and human rights. The number of African American attorneys who live and work within the Rochester area has increased. The RBBA continues to address challenges these attorneys face by creating an environment of support for African American lawyers in the Rochester community.

   2018 leadership

Anthony Orphe'


Vice President of Programs

  • Ninteretse Jean Pierre

Vice President of Membership

  • Keana Williams


  • Adrian Neil


  • LaToya Lee


  • Lonnette Merriman




Becoming  A Member

Benefits of membership:

  • Access to a network of members of varied legal backgrounds
  • CLE courses
  • Networking with other bar associations, i.e. MCBA, GRAWA, and sections of the New York State Bar
  • Participating in community service projects
  • Low price membership dues ($50 + $2 processing fee)
  • Affiliation with National Bar Association



Harris Beach PLLC’s Associate Positions

Associate in Public Finance in Rochester, NY



Serve as counsel to clients in the public finance sector in variable rate and fixed rate tax-exempt and taxable financing transactions involving not-for-profit organizations and healthcare entities. Also serve as counsel to bond issuers, local development corporations, other municipal and quasi-municipal organizations, underwriters, and developers on all types of public finance and economic development transactions.


·         Represent lenders and borrowers in not-for-profit financing transactions involving secured loans, real estate financing, receivables and equipment financing, letters of credit, lines of credit, standby bond purchase agreements and ISDA swaps

·         Draft and review documentation for tax-exempt equipment lease-purchase financings

·         Work as bond counsel, issuer counsel, underwriter counsel or borrower counsel on tax-exempt and taxable revenue bond financing transactions through state and local bond issuers

·         Draft documentation for industrial development agency and local development corporation straight-lease and loan transactions; payment-in-lieu of tax agreements

·         Legal research and drafting of memoranda with regard to municipal finance and economic development matters


·         Prefer 1-3 years of legal experience in public finance matters or corporate or commercial real estate transactions

·         Governmental, tax or business financial background a plus

·         Must be admitted in New York

·         Must be able to function effectively in a fast-paced, dynamic team-oriented environment

·         Must possess a high level of flexibility and adaptability to provide support to numerous competing priorities as needed

·         Must have excellent research, writing skills and oral communication skills

·         Must be organized with excellent attention to detail

·         Ability to work with diverse personalities within various levels of the organization

·         Military experience a plus

Associate in Commercial Real Estate – Corporate in Ithaca, NY


Harris Beach seeks an attorney to support the firm’s commercial real estate and/or corporate practice groups out of its Ithaca, New York office. The attorney would work with members of these practice groups in representing clients in the following areas, among others: serving as outside closing counsel for regional lenders with active commercial lending departments; representing owners and developers of commercial real estate in leasing, acquisition, financing, and development transactions; assisting clients with land use, zoning, and related issues, serving as outside general counsel to a variety of small and mid-sized businesses; and assisting businesses with mergers and acquisitions.


·         3-6 years’ experience in real estate or corporate practice required; intellectual property or tax law experience a plus

·         Must have excellent research, writing and oral communication skills

·         Possess the ability to work with diverse personalities within various levels of the organization

·         Must be able to function effectively in an extremely busy, team oriented environment

·         Must be admitted in New York (or ability to waive in)

·         Military experience a plus





JANUARY 5, 2018

The Monroe County legal community lost a giant with the death of Judge Roy Wheatley King.  Judge King was a Rochester City Court Judge, and the first African-American attorney to work in the City Law Department.  He was a mentor and friend to us in the organization.  He is survived by his wife, Lucille, and his four children and many grandchildren.  He will be greatly missed.

Judge Roy Wheatley King

And Then They Came by Judge King.JPG

Judge king's labor of love

Judge King has worked tirelessly for years to make this dream a reality.  He wanted this legal community to know the rich history of African-American lawyers in Monroe County.  The book is complete.  Now, it is time to publish it.  You can join the RBBA in making this happen.  Please help us make this a legacy to be shared by this legal community for generations to come.

Teaching middle school students about the law

The Just Law program educates middle school students about the U.S. legal system. It is a collaborative effort to help middle school students in the Rochester City School District better understand the law and our country’s legal system.

The program explores the following topics: 

  • The concept of legal literacy;
  • The importance of school attendance;
  • The value of developing strong writing skills;
  • The significance of the written word in the court system;
  • Ways to express concerns, questions, desires and expectations relating to the court system;
  • An overview of the U.S. Judicial System;
  • Career opportunities within the courts.


J.U.S.T. stands for Justice, Understanding, and Societal Trust, and is a community outreach program initiated by N.Y. Supreme Court Justice Craig Doran, the administrative judge in the 7th Judicial District.

Judges will visit participating schools in the RCSD, where they will explain how the justice system works, as well as the role it plays in the Rochester community. Students will then have an opportunity to share their own perspectives on - - and experiences with - - the justice system.


L.A.W. stands for Literacy, Attendance, and Writing. 

This component of the program was initiated by Andre Langston, owner and general manager of radio station WDKX, and uses these three concepts to help improve student understanding of the court system.

The goal is for participating youth to develop research and analysis skills, gain a better understanding of the power of the written word and acquire a deeper appreciation for the value of education. School attendance will also be emphasized.

Please contact us for more information on how you can partner with RBBA in educating our youth.