History

The Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA) is a unified, citywide association of Black and other minority lawyers in the New York metropolitan area, with members in all five boroughs. Founded on July 5, 1984, the Metropolitan Black Bar Association was created from the merger of the Harlem Lawyers Association and the Bedford Stuyvesant Lawyers Association. The Harlem Lawyers Association, founded in 1921, was known as one of the oldest black bar associations and led by pioneers such a Cora Thomasina Walker, its first female president. The Bedford Stuyvesant Lawyers Association was founded in 1933. As one of the largest organizations of Black attorneys in New York State, the MBBA continues the rich legacy of its two predecessor organizations by providing a voice for Black legal professionals in the communities it serves. In 2017, the Bronx Black Bar Association merged with the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, strengthening our reach and impact in the borough.. Today, the MBBA is comprised of mostly Black and minority attorneys in large and small law firms, solo practitioners, all levels of government, academia, corporations, financial institutions, not-for-profit organizations and the judiciary. The MBBA is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit corporation duly formed under the laws of New York state and the Federal government. Friends of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, Inc. (Friends of the MBBA) is the charitable arm of MBBA and duly organized as a 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions made to Friends of the MBBA are deductible to the fullest extent of state and Federal laws. As an affiliate of the National Bar Association , the MBBA is an active participant in a community of practicing Black lawyers, judges and law students in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Mission

The purpose of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association is to:

  • Aid the progress of the legal profession generally, and in particular, to aid the progress of Black and other minorities in the profession;
  • Advance the theory and practice of law and its allied fields;
  • Enhance the status of the lawyer, and in particular, Black and other minority lawyers;
  • Encourage research and the preparation of papers, documents and reports on legal issues affecting the citywide Black community;
  • Endeavor to maintain technical and cultural standards for the legal right to practice law and to require high standards of ethical practice by members of the profession;
  • Foster the study of law and encourage the personal and professional development of young lawyers and law students;
  • Cooperate with other legal societies and groups; and
  • Advance public relations with governmental agencies, lawyers of other nations, and the public in general.