New York Bar, NBA women forum sign pact to empower women in legal profession
The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) through its Women-in-Law Section and Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA) Women Forum has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, (MOU) in a bid to achieve its common goal of empowering women in the profession by exchanging information as it relates to women’s rights and mentoring women lawyers amongst others.
The pact will involve the joint implementation of initiatives to advance and empower women in the legal profession and all women under the law, for success.
The MOU between the two associations was signed during a virtual ceremony.
“It is my honour to continue to expand upon NYSBA’s ambitious plan to connect and create relationships with bar associations and legal organizations around the world. During these uncertain times, I believe that alliances such as this are more important and meaningful than ever.
“The NBA Women Forum and NYSBA’s Women in Law Section will work together to advance women in the profession, recognize the importance of women’s issues around the world, and exchange information and materials as they relate to women’s legal rights,” said NYSBA President, Scott Karson.
He said the NYSBA is the largest voluntary state bar association in the US, adding that since 1876, NYSBA has helped shape the development of law, educate and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and community guidance.
Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN), President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) congratulated chairperson, NBAWF, Oluyemisi Bamgbose and her team for making the occasion happen.
Usoro explained that Nigeria, which has the largest economy and population in Africa is a good place to have the collaboration, especially as it has population of women and children.
He assured that the prospects for commercial and transactional law practice are great and the collaboration will benefit the two associations.
“Nigerian lawyers number over 125,000. The profession used to be largely male dominated but that has changed now. In recent years, Nigeria has had a female Chief Justice and is one of the best the country has produced. The federal court of Appeal is preceded over by a female justice and she took over from another female justice.
“The profession has continued to encourage gender balance. Oluyemisi Bamgbose, the chairperson of NBAWF is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. She has the intellect and drive. In the past couple of months, she has proved that women are not only behind the men to support them but are also in front of them. She has piloted the forum to a point where we are all signing the MOU today.
“The NBAWF was dormant for some years but when I came into office, I revived it because I know women play a viral role in productivity and efficiency. The NBAWF look forward to learning a lot from the Women in Law NYSBA,” Usoro said.
Terri Mazur, chairperson Women in Law, NYSBA said it was such a honour to participate in the MOU signing, adding that NYSBA is excited and proud about this. Mazur said the collaboration is quite exciting as it looks forward to working with NBAWF.
“Issues affecting women are discussed here. Gender equality issues, domestic voilence and several other issues have been addressed over the years. We have grown tremendously in a space of two years. We are pleased to add Nigeria to our International membership.
“We advance women issues all over the world. We also develop educational and informative programmes for women. Some of these programmes are educational advancement programmes in legal profession, programmes for women mediators, arbitrators and women judiciaries. We have several awards which recognises women lawyers that are exceptional and women who have made contributions in addressing issues around women,” she said.
Bamgbose, Chairperson, NBAWF said her group is one of the fora inaugurated by NBA in December 2006 to empower female lawyers but sadly the forum had not been active for some years.
She however disclosed that the
forum was revived by Usoro, the current NBA president who in September 2019 inaugurated the new leadership of the NBAWF.
She said the resuscitation of the forum was done along with Usoro’s vision to increase active participation of women in NBA and to empower and equip women in the legal profession.
She said the aim of the forum is also in line with the sustainability development goal to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls globally.
“With this forum, we have been able to establish a working group to tackle domestic voilence and work-life balance as it partains to female lawyers. We promote mentorship programmes for female lawyers. Today is a very significant day and we believe the outcome of this MOU will be very impactful and long lasting,” Bamgbose said.
The incoming NBA president, Olumide Akpata, gave credit to Usoro and his team for reviving the forum.
Akpata said the opportunities of such great collaborations potend a lot assured that under his watch everything must be done to ensure women take centre stage.
“This is also important for me. I will support the NBAWF and I am sure those elected with me will ensure this is done. One thing that is important for our women is capacity building and we will achieve this,” Akpata said.
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