From the moment she entered law school, Kisha A. Brown was asked by family and friends to make legal referrals. The requests persisted through her 15-year career as a civil rights attorney.
“Most people don’t really know lawyers or have them in their network — especially for Black people,” Brown said in an interview.
As she moved from job to job — with stops that included working for top Maryland political officials, like former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D) and former state Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D), along with advocacy and lobbying work in Annapolis — Brown began to think more about how Black people could connect with Black lawyers, and vice-versa.
It has become a full-time pursuit.
The result is a new organization she’s calling Justis Connection. After three years of laying the groundwork while working other jobs and “bootstrapping,” in Brown’s words, she launched Justis Connection earlier this year. Already, she has built a database of about 950 Black lawyers across multiple disciplines in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. — and she hopes to have national listings well under way by the end of the year.
“I’m really hoping this shifts how people get access to justice,” Brown said.
The concept is a no-brainer for Brown, who lives in College Park, and the attorneys she’s working with. About 5% of the nation’s lawyers are Black, she said. But many times, when Black people are looking for legal representation, they’re almost automatically inclined to turn to a white lawyer.
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SOURCE: Maryland Matters, Josh Kurtz