While some lawyers are still trying to figure out how to incorporate social media into their work, others are ahead of the curve. Some attorneys are using Facebook to offer updates on legal happenings and promote their work and others opt to solely nurture relationships and contacts on LinkedIn.
Many attorneys are now discovering the benefits of using Twitter as a way of offering legal analysis, discussing the news of the day, engaging in meaningful dialogue, promoting their work, and staying on top of ongoing developments in the legal profession.
Here’s our list of some of the black lawyers who are tweeting things of interest to us and maintaining a commanding presence in social media.
Note: We are well aware that many of the lawyers listed below would easily fit under multiple categories; however for the purposes of this list, we listed the individuals in the areas we felt were appropriate.
By the way, did we get this list right? Who else should be on this list? We are looking forward to your feedback and suggestions!
Aisha Richard Lewis (@aisha1908), Public Defender, NYC
@aisha1908 is a top-notch public defender, and an unapologetic advocate, who was once listed by the site “For Harriet” as one of the most inspiring black women on Twitter.
Benjamin L. Crump (@attorneycrump), Civil Rights Lawyer, Tallahassee, FL
@attorneycrump is the litigator representing the family of Trayvon Martin, while simultaneously representing the interests of many more by keeping Trayvon’s story in the public consciousness and ensuring that America has an honest discussion about race, the law, equity and justice.
Sheryll Cashin (@SheryllCashin), Professor, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC
@sheryllcashin authored the book “The Agitators Daughter” chronicling her firsthand experience with the Civil Rights movement. Now as a professor, Cashin leads regular discussions on race relations, economics, domestic policy and about how the intersection of those areas should lead to discussions about inequality, and the law.
Paula Edgar (@PaulaEdgar), Career Services Professional, Diversity Advocate & Pop Culture Commentator, NYC
@paulaedgar is a modern day renaissance woman – As a career services professional counseling aspiring lawyers on how to find success in their chosen profession, Edgar also wears several other hats. The longtime diversity advocate is also an avid writer, and pop culture connoisseur often relied upon to offer her take on pop culture news.
Darren Hutchinson (@dissentingj), Professor, American University, Washington College of Law, Washington, DC
@dissentingj is a respected law professor and prolific blogger. Darren Hutchinson blogs at Dissenting Justice and also shares his insights on Twitter. His is a unique voice, as he analyzes stories about crime, culture, and politics.
Cynthia Nance (@Nancecy), Professor, University of Arkansas School of Law, Fayetteville, AR
@nancecy is the Twitter handle of law professor Cynthia Nance, also known as “The Dean.” She may be one of few law deans past or present to keep an active profile on Twitter. A respected lawyer whose teaching areas include employment law and poverty law, Professor Nance is the first woman and first African-American dean of the University of Arkansas Law School. Nance also discusses gender, civil rights, and business among other topics.
Imani Perry (@imaniperry), Professor, Center for African American Studies, and Faculty Associate, Program in Law and Public Affairs, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
@imaniperry is a respected African-American studies scholar whose work is compelling and unique. Perry is a well-regarded professor in Princeton’s African-American Studies department, armed with a law degree and a doctorate in history. Her doctoral dissertation was entitled, “Dusky Justice: Race in U.S. Law and Literature 1878-1914,” and she explores law and society through a cultural lens.
Chris J. Tyson (@chrisjtyson), Professor, Louisiana State University Law Center, Baton Rouge, LA
@chrisjtyson is one of a growing number of young academics who seeks to make a difference. Tyson teaches law in his native Louisiana while commentating on issues involving urban affairs, race, and justice across the country. The new father also chronicling his experiences as a dad.
Keith Boykin (@keithboykin), Political Strategist & Commentator, NYC
@keithboykin has already transitioned from White House aide to political strategist and commentator. Boykin is an acclaimed author and CNBC contributor who has also hosted programs for BET, and edited the news site “The Daily Voice.” He is also one of the steady voices in the on-line movement seeking justice for Trayvon Martin.
Renee Chenault-Fattah (@ReneeCFattah), Anchor, WCAU-TV, Philadelphia
@reneecfattah is a respected journalist who also happens to be a lawyer. One of Philadelphia’s most respected news anchors, Fattah worked as an associate at a law firm and clerked for a federal appeals court judge before achieving her dream of working in the newsroom as a broadcast journalist. Fattah reports on a wide array of topics in one of the top media markets.
Carolyn Edgar (@carolynedgar), Corporate Attorney, Writer & Commentator, NYC
@carolynedgar has a unique voice which she shares both on Twitter and on her blog, “Notes of a Lawyer, Writer & Single Mom” about a wide array of topics. As she puts it, “I practice law to pay the bills and write for love and sanity.” Her perspective is both frank and funny, and her readers are fortunate to get a peek inside her world.
Star Jones, (@StarJonesEsq) NBC News Legal Commentator, NYC
@starjoneseq could easily be called one of “The Original” not only because there’s only one of her, but also because she is a role model for many who aspire to be television legal commentators. Throughout the course of her career, the former prosecutor served as a co-host of “The View”, as a host of several shows on Court TV, and as a legal analyst for NBC News, a role she recently resumed.
Sunny Hostin (@SunnyHostin) CNN Legal Commentator , NYC
@sunnyhostin is a multimedia journalist. Avid T.V. watchers can catch Sunny Hostin breaking down some of the most interesting legal stories in the news on CNN, and HLN, or may have seen her filling in on the anchor desk at ABC News. Hostin juggles her roles ably, always striving to pique the curiosity of viewers, and leave them better informed.
Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC), Legal Blogger, Above the Law, NYC
@elienyc is curious, insightful, independent-minded, intriguing, entertaining, and witty – the perfect mix for a blogger. Mystal is one of the lead writers for the go to legal blog, Above the Law. The sense of humor, sarcasm, and candor Mystal expresses in his posts make them can’t miss.
Ryan Smith (@ryansmithtv) Anchor, TruTV
@ryansmithtv takes viewers “In Session” as an anchor for Tru TV. The respected sports and entertainment attorney draws on his varied experiences to report on and analyze the legal stories which are front and center for the American public. He has more recently covered a wide array of stories from the Casey Anthony trial, to the Penn State sex abuse scandal, and now the case of Trayvon Martin.
Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris), Attorney General, State of California
@kamalaharris is regarded by some to be the female “Barack Obama.” She is like the president a biracial, highly educated attorney, who is also charismatic and unapologetically bold. Attorney General Harris is respected and well liked by leaders in her home state of California, and the same is true of leaders on the national scene. Any way you slice it she is a rising political star – depending on whom you ask she’ll be either a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court or the future Governor of California.
Marc Morial (@MarcMorial), Former Mayor, New Orleans & President, National Urban League
@marcmorial is a second-generation attorney, politician, and civil rights leader. Morial and his father both served as mayor of the city of New Orleans, establishing distinct legacies as they led one of America’s most beloved cities. While he has followed in his father’s footsteps, he has certainly blazed his own path. In his current role as the President of the National Urban League, Morial works to ensure that the quality of life is better for people in cities all across America.
Deval Patrick (@devalpatrick), Governor, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
@devalpatrick is the first African-American to serve as the governor of the Massachusetts. Now in his second term, at the time of his election he was just the second African-American to be elected to his state’s highest office since reconstruction.
Cory Booker (@corybooker), Mayor, Newark, NJ
@corybooker has been dubbed “the mayor of Twitter”. His social media prowess speaks to what many government leaders say leaders should be – accessible, available, accountable, and transparent. Booker doesn’t just keep the citizens of Newark informed about city services, he offers inspirational tweets, and engages in a discussion of politics and national issues at large.
Hill Harper (@hillharper) Actor & Activist
@hillharper is a well-known actor, a best-selling author, and an activist. Harper’s gone from being a Harvard Law classmate of President Obama to being an actor working with some of film and T.V.’s biggest stars. Not only has he won acclaim for his acting, but also for his books which help to motivate young people to make good life choices.
Judge Glenda Hatchett (@JudgeGHatchett), Television Personality
@judgeghatchett is best known for her television show “Judge Hatchett,” where she regularly doled out tough love and reality checks with what can only be described as a southern grace. Hatchett, a former juvenile court judge, has a soft spot in her heart for young people, but is all about using this her current platform to uplift, inspire, and encourage whoever is in need.
Robinne Lee (@robinnelee), Actress, Writer, Producer
Movie fans may recognize @robinnelee for her big screen roles in “Hitch”, “Seven Pounds”, “Deliver Us From Eva”, or her small-screen turn in Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne,” but many may not know that she is an Ivy League trained lawyer. If her fans were jurors they’d no doubt approve of her following her heart and her passion for acting.
Judy Smith (@JudySmith_ ), Former Deputy White House Press Secretary, Crisis Management Consultant, Television Producer
@judysmith_ is the inspiration for one of the most talked about characters on T.V., Olivia Pope in the new hit ABC show “Scandal” starring Kerry Washington. Smith a graduate of American University’s Washington College of Law went from being a deputy White House press secretary to being the go to crisis communications strategist in Washington. Now a character in her likeness is keeping viewers plenty intrigued about with her resourceful fixes to major problems.
Judge Lynn Toler (@RealJudgeLynn), Television Personality, Author
@realjudgelynn may don black a robe but her life’s story is proof positive that she doesn’t sit on high unaware of the realities of life. Toler is a success story, but her success didn’t come without struggles. She’s talked openly about her family history of mental health problems which ranged from her father’s battle with bipolar disorder, to her own fight with depression. Toler shares her experiences as a T.V. judge, mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend.
Joe Briggs (@JoeBriggsEsq), Public Policy Counsel, NFL Players Association
@joebriggsesq is one of the co-founders of IMPACT, a group committed to helping improve the level of civic engagement and economic and political empowerment of young people. Given his high-profile day job with the NFL Players Association you could say Briggs has two 9 to 5’s which aren’t at all 9 to 5’s. Briggs is fine with working so hard if it means being a solution-oriented taskmaster who’s helping to uplift and inspire the 21 to 40 set.
Nakia Hansen (@KiaJD), Director of Social Strategy, The College Board
@kiajd has one of the coolest jobs ever as she gets paid to stay engaged on social media. The lawyer turned social media strategist who’s also a graduate student has a unique background, which allows her to weigh in on almost any issue. Perhaps best described as fun, fierce, and focused, her timeline is one of those many have bookmarked.
Angela Rye (@angela_rye), Executive Director & General Counsel, The Congressional Black Caucus @angela_rye is a force to be reckoned with in the halls of Capitol Hill. Rye currently serves as the executive director and general counsel for The Congressional Black Caucus. Helping to marshal the collective efforts of dozens of members of Congress is no easy task, but she is trusted, respected, and relied upon for her vision and consensus-building abilities. In the midst of some of the most important political debates of our time, Rye makes time to inform and engage using social media.
Midwin Charles (@midwincharles) Attorney, Legal Analyst & Radio Host @midwincharles is a litigator who runs her own boutique law firm and is also an up and coming legal analyst and radio host. Charles has a growing fan base is often seen offering her insights on HLN’s Nancy Grace Show and Showbiz Tonight on CNN Headline News.
The Pipeline Builders
Lisa Bonner (@lisabonner) Managing Partner and Founder Bonner Law P.C. & Executive Director, Black Women Entertainment Lawyers @lisabonner’s law firm provides counsel for large media companies, film distribution companies, and music, television and film producers, artists and writers. Her career as an entertainment lawyer also makes her the ideal person to serve as the executive director of the Black Women Entertainment Lawyer (BWEL) an organization that provides support for black women lawyers whose careers make them active in the areas of sports, entertainment, and media law.
Laurie N. Robinson (@laurienrobinson) Senior Vice President & Assistant General Counsel, CBS Corporation & Founder & CEO, Corporate Counsel Women of Color @laurienrobinson is a respected inside counsel who knows firsthand of the competitiveness of the front office. Her organization Corporate Counsel Women of Color helps to support the women of color taking on the role of in-house attorney for corporations throughout the U.S., Canada and globally. Not only is it about supporting the women already there, but also getting more women into those spots, and letting law students and junior attorneys know such opportunities exist.
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