African American attorneys have a long and storied history in Northern Virginia. Some of the first black lawyers in the state were admitted to practice in the 1800s, following the end of slavery. These early attorneys faced many challenges, both in terms of discrimination and lack of opportunities. However, they persevered and laid the foundation for future generations of black lawyers in Northern Virginia.
Over the years, black lawyers in Northern Virginia have made significant contributions to the legal profession and to the African American community. They have fought for civil rights, equality, and justice, often in the face of great opposition. Today, black lawyers continue to be at the forefront of the fight for social justice and equality.
Ms. Hasina A. Lewis – An African American Attorney
For many African American lawyers in Northern Virginia, the fight for justice is personal. Attorney Hasina A. Lewis is one of them.
As a native of Alexandria, Virginia, Ms. Hasina Lewis graduated from Mount Vernon High School with honors and went on to receive her Bachelor of Arts from Winston Salem State University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude.
Ms Hasina Lewsis earned her Juris Doctorate from Elon University School of Law. There, she was a North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys Scholarship Recipient, Class Representative, Vice-President of the Black Law Students Association and a member of Moot Court. Additionally, Ms. Hasina Lewis was a recipient of the Legal Writing & Communications Book Award and her article, “Cultivating Diversity in the Law School Classroom” was published in the January 2010 Young Lawyers Division of the North Carolina Bar Association Law Student Bulletin.
While in law school, Ms. Hasina Lewis worked as an intern at the Winston Salem Public Defenders Office and the Arlington & City of Falls Church Office of the Public Defender. She also served as law clerk for the Honorable Camille Banks-Payne of the 21st Judicial District.
Upon graduation, Ms. Lewis returned to Northern Virginia and worked as an Associate at an area law firm where she handled traffic and criminal misdemeanors in over ten counties in Northern Virginia. This experience gave her invaluable insight on the practices of the local jurisdictions.
A year later, she began her career at the Bugg Law Firm. While working with Attorney Dontae Bugg, Ms. Lewis continued her practice of serious criminal defense and family law. Attorney Hasina Lewis handled trials involving first degree murder, drug trafficking and malicious wounding. The experience she gained while at Bugg Law gave her the tools and confidence to handle more serious crimes individually and thus four years later, she started Lewis Law.
Over the past few years, the number of black lawyers in Northern Virginia has increased significantly. This is due to a variety of factors, including an increase in the number of African American students attending law school and an increase in the number of firms hiring black lawyers. While there is still a long way to go before blacks are proportionately represented in the legal profession, these trends are encouraging and suggest that progress is being made.