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Singleton B. McAllister

Attorney Singleton McAllister was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 25, 1952. Her mother, Ann Elizabeth Hughes, was a teacher, and her father, James Winford Alphonso McAllister, an attorney. McAllister attended the University of Maryland, College Park, where she earned her B.A. in government and politics in 1975. In 1980 she attended Howard University as a graduate student in political science with focuses in international relations and public administration. McAllister then attended the Howard University School of Law, earning her J.D. degree in 1984.

In 1975, McAllister began her professional career as a legislative assistant to U.S. Representative Parren J. Mitchell of Maryland. She left Mitchell’s offices in 1978 to become assistant director of the lobbying group, TransAfrica. The following year, she returned to Congress as the legislative director to Representative William H. Gray of Pennsylvania. After earning her J.D., McAllister worked as a teaching assistant at Howard University, and in 1984, she became a law clerk to U.S. Federal District Court Judge Jack Tanner. In 1986, McAllister was hired as senior counsel to the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Budget, where she worked with a variety of Congressional committees. She then went to work “of counsel” to a number of law firms.

In 1996, McAllister was named general counsel to the United States Agency for International Development, and in 2001, she became a partner in the firm of Patton Boggs LLP. In 2003, McAllister left to become a partner with Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP, where she focused on public law, policy strategies and corporate diversity counseling. From July 2005 to October 2007 McAllister worked as partner in the law firm of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C. She then partner in the Washington D.C. office of the law firm LeClair & Ryan LLP since October 2007.

McAllister has received numerous awards, including the 2,000 Notable American Women Award, the Most Distinguished Member Award from Women in Government Relations and, in 2000, she was named a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. She has also served on the board of directors of the International Human Rights Law Group, Howard University Hospital and is currently the Director of Alliant Energy and United Rentals, Inc.

McAllister was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 22, 2003.

Accession Number

A2003.279

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/22/2003

Last Name

McAllister

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

B.

Organizations
Schools

Mordecai Gist Public School

Lamell Junior High School

Northwestern High School

Howard University School of Law

University of Maryland

First Name

Singleton

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

MCA02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Favorite Quote

Live Every Minute To The Fullest And The Hours Will Take Care Of Themselves.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

3/25/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Government relations lawyer Singleton B. McAllister (1952 - ) served as senior counsel to the House of Representatives Committee on the Budget, was named senior counsel to the United States Agency for International Development, and become a partner at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP, where she focuses on public law, policy strategies and corporate diversity counseling.

Employment

United States House of Representatives

Transafrica

Howard University School of Law

United States Agency for International Development

Squire Patton Boggs

Judge Jack E. Tanner

House Committee on the Budget

Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP

Mickey Leland Congressional Office

Reed Smith

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Singleton B. McAllister's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Singleton B. McAllister lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Singleton B. McAllister describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Singleton B. McAllister describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Singleton B. McAllister describes her mother's personality, education, and how she met McAllister's father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Singleton B. McAllister describes her father's personality and career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Singleton B. McAllister discusses her first memories of racism and interracial schools in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Singleton B. McAllister describes her childhood personality and interests

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Singleton B. McAllister lists the schools she attended in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Singleton B. McAllister remembers influential teachers from grade school

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Singleton B. McAllister lists her favorite subjects in school

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Singleton B. McAllister describes hearing about the Civil Rights Movement as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Singleton B. McAllister reflects upon attending Lamell Junior High School in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Singleton B. McAllister explains her experience with white flight and memories from Northwestern Senior High School in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Singleton B. McAllister reflects upon how her high school teacher influenced her interest in history

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Singleton B. McAllister talks about the events surrounding Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Singleton B. McAllister explains how her interest in law developed

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Singleton B. McAllister recalls her involvement on campus life and influential figures while at the University of Maryland, College Park

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Singleton B. McAllister remembers the director of African American studies at University of Maryland, College Park

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Singleton B. McAllister explains the impact DeWayne Wickham had on her career

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Singleton B. McAllister details the attitude of the student body at the University of Maryland, College Park

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Singleton B. McAllister discusses the work of HistoryMaker the Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III and her involvement

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Singleton B. McAllister talks about the efficacy of the Congressional Black Caucus in the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Singleton B. McAllister discusses the formation and early days of TransAfrica

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Singleton B. McAllister reminisces over the cohesion of the African American community regarding African issues in the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Singleton B. McAllister explains her work under the African Development Foundation

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Singleton B. McAllister discusses her professional experiences while attending Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Singleton B. McAllister talks about her work as a clerk under Judge Jack E. Tanner

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Singleton B. McAllister describes her experience on the House Budget Committee

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Singleton B. McAllister recalls her lobbying efforts in support of the Health Security Act

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Singleton B. McAllister reflects on why her lobbying was unsuccessful in promoting the Health Security Act

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Singleton B. McAllister talks about how she promoted minority participation as general counsel in USAID

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Singleton B. McAllister talks about her career path after leaving USAID

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Singleton B. McAllister describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Singleton B. McAllister reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Singleton B. McAllister describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Singleton B. McAllister narrates her photographs

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Singleton B. McAllister explains the impact DeWayne Wickham had on her career
Singleton B. McAllister talks about her career path after leaving USAID
Transcript
Okay. Was Mary Frances Barry at the University of Maryland [College Park, College Park, Maryland] then?$$Yeah, Dr. Barry, yeah, yeah. DeWayne Wickham.$$Okay.$$Yeah, DeWayne Wickham. As a matter of fact, DeWayne Wickham was a person who had a real impact on my--in my direction of going into the political arena. When I was at the University of Maryland, I had to do an intern--I did an internship, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Internship Program when they had that; and [HM the Honorable] Parren [J.] Mitchell [III], who was the member of Congress who represented Baltimore--Seventh Congressional District who, as a matter of fact, lived around the corner from us when we were growing up; my dad knew him very well--was a member from Baltimore, and DeWayne Wickham said, "Well, why don't you do an internship of Parren Mitchell?" 'Cause I needed to have a internship to earn my political science--for my degree, and DeWayne did talk to Parren, and I knew Parren, and he was very instrumental in my getting my internship that summer, working for Parren my third year at University of Maryland; and soon thereafter, after I finished my internship with Parren, he offered me a job as a legislative assistant because my plan was to go to law school right outta undergrad. So Wickham was very active; he's a--played a pivotal part; he's an editori--in fact--read--you know the name DeWayne Wickham? He does a lotta cop--he does--he writes for--he's a writer; he's written a few books, and he also is--does an editorial for USA Today; very, very accomplished gentleman. And DeWayne--did I ever thank DeWayne for that? But I'll have to let him--I think I have--for that--opening up that door for me.$What have you done for the last three years?$$I've been--well, truth be told, my candidate won but he's not in the White House (laughter). And so I--I hung with AID [USAID, United States Agency for International Development] at that time because I was told I was being considered for an ambassadorial appointment in the next adminis--Democratic administration; but what happened was it didn't happen, as far as Democrats getting control of the White House. And the Type A personality that I am, and as you heard about my history, things kind of always landed, and I wasn't prepared for that move; and then my husband, the way he is, he said, "Listen, you don't have to work." He says, "Why don't you (unclear) take off for a few months?" And I'm like, "Gee, novel idea," you know. He thought it--you know, it be one month and I'd be ready to go back to work. I was like havin' a ball (laughter) for months, you know--working out, you know, takin' care of the house, you know, doin' all that stuff that you never get a chance to do. And then, one day I got a call from a headhunter that wanted me to consider a corporate board position for Alliant Energy, which is the major utility for Madison, Wiscon--well, Wisconsin and Iowa, and their--well, it was another great opportunity to be on a board of directors of a major utility. But one of the things in their bylaws specified is that you must be employed and--obviously, so you can bring value add-up from whatever outside job you're doing to the, to the corporate board. So I said, "Gee, I'd better find a job," you see now, these aren't opportunities you get every day. And as fate should have it, I was just lucky; I got three different job offers--one was to head up a major trade association here in Washington, one was to head up the Women's Bureau over at the DNC, and another was with the law firm. And with all the kinds of things that I've been involved with, I just felt the law firm provided me the exposure and experience to kinda do a lotta different kinda stuff; not just be pigeonholed in one or two different areas. So I decided to take a partnership at Patton Boggs [Squire Patton Boggs]; and just recently, I took a partnership and was heavily recruited with Sonnenschein, Nath and Rosenthal [Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP] where I'm--I've been a partner there for the last couple of months. Also, I'm in the Public Policy Group at Sonnenschein, and I now develop--have developed and a practice head of a new group called a Corporate Diversity Practice Group--$$Okay.$$--and what that basically means, 'cause I gotta talk to New York Times about this later today, is the Corporate Diversity Practice Group is a way of recognizing what the 2000 Census has shown us, that corporate America has to change the way it does business. In corporate America--some of corporate America has gotten it, recognizing, you know, the integration of minorities in senior positions. Right now, for instance, you have--the general counsel of Sears is an African American woman; the general counsel of Starbucks, Paula Boggs, is an African American woman; the general counsel of Sara Lee is a male African American; general counsel of Coca-Cola, Deval Patrick. And, what's happening now in our community at this particular time, is diversity is, is becoming recognized, and the importance of diversity. And law firms on a whole, unfortunately, haven't gotten it. I mean I'm the only, right now, African American partner in my law firm; this is a firm that started in 1906, has nine major offices, but this firm gets it--where we realize that internally, we have to change diversity if we're going to go out and preach diversity at a corporate diversity level and assist corporations in that arena, and this corporate diversity area is a way in which they're--they're hoping in that--helping us to move forward there. And internally, this firm has, has been the fastest growing firm in Washington, D.C., and we're even doing more in diversity in the next coming months, so I feel very good about that.