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LawMakers have made significant and influential contributions to the legal field and include lawyers working in the public interest, for the government, and in the corporate realm. Judges, hearing officers, law professors, and deans of law schools are also included in this category.

James Posey

Corporate lawyer James Posey was born in 1948 in Beaumont, Texas. He enrolled at Lamar University before leaving to join the United States Air Force, where he served as a combat crewmember. Following his military service, he earned his B.A. degree in American history in 1972 from the University of Kansas. Posey went on to obtain his J.D. degree in 1975 from the University of Kansas School of Law.

Posey first worked in Atlantic Richfield’s (ARCO) land department in Dallas, Texas. The next year, ARCO transferred him to Denver, Colorado. He later left ARCO and joined Worldwide Energy Corporation, a small oil and gas company. When ARCO began developing its Kuparuk River Field in Alaska, Posey was recruited and rehired to go to work there for the company. He worked for ARCO for more than fifteen years, retiring in 1996 to serve as Commissioner at Alaska Public Utilities Commission for the State of Alaska until July 1999. In 2000, Anchorage Mayor George Wuerch appointed him director of the Municipality of Anchorage Cultural and Recreational Services Department. He was responsible for oversight of the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson-Center, the Anchorage Municipal Library System, Parks and Beautification, Sports and Recreation, and Chugiak/Eagle River Parks and Recreation. He held this position from July of 2000 to February of 2002. Posey was then named general manager of Municipal Light and Power (ML&P) for the Municipality of Anchorage from February of 2002 to January of 2014. In 2014, Posey founded the consultancy Posey Alaska LLC. From 2017 to 2018, he served as the Commissioner of Baseball for the Alaska Baseball League.

Posey has served as a member of the State of Alaska Renewable Energy Fund Advisory Committee and on the boards of the American Public Power Association, Northwest Public Power Association, Alaska Power Association and the Anchorage Community Land Trust. He also does work with the nonprofit Anchorage’s Promise, and was profiled in the Alaska Business Monthly in April of 2014.

Posey resides in Alaska with his wife, Sandi Posey. They have five children.

James Posey was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 2, 2020.

Accession Number

A2020.012

Interview Date

3/2/2020

Last Name

Posey

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

James

HM ID

POS01

Favorite Season

Winter

Favorite Vacation Destination

Alaska

Favorite Quote

Life's Too Short To Interact With Difficult People

Favorite Food

Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Chicken, and Fish

Short Description

Corporate lawyer James Posey (1948 - ) served as a commissioner for the Alaska Public Utilities Commission before becoming general manager of Municipal Light and Power from 2002 until 2014, when he founded Posey Alaska LLC.

Favorite Color

Blue

James L. Hudson

Lawyer James L. Hudson was born on November 6, 1939 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Augustine Lagarde and James Hudson. He received his B.A. degree in 1961 from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia and his J.D. degree in 1965 from Boston University School of Law.

In 1966, Hudson joined the firm Rhyne & Rhyne in Washington, D.C. He then worked as a research fellow at The Urban Institute from 1968 until 1970. In 1970, Hudson co-founded the law firm Hudson Leftwich where he served as a senior partner. The firm later became Hudson, Leftwich & Davenport in 1972, and he represented various municipalities including Detroit, New Orleans, Oakland and Kansas City. Hudson also served as finance counsel to the District of Columbia from 1974 to 1982. In 1985, he was named chairman at JAH Development Company and JLH Partners LLC.

Hudson has served on numerous boards throughout his career. He was a member of the Carter-Mondale Steering Committee of Washington, D.C. in 1976, was appointed to the board of the District of Columbia National Capital Revitalization Corporation by Mayor Anthony Williams in May of 2003; and, in 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Hudson as the United States executive director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. In 2013, Hudson was selected to lead the Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair Lecture Series at Howard University; and, in 2013, he served as the Holden Lecturer at Jackson State University. Hudson also was a member of the District of Columbia Tax Revision Commission, was chairman of the Morehouse College Board of Trustees, and served on the boards of the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art, the Georgetown Day School, the District of Columbia General Hospital, the Municipal Finance Forum of Washington, the District of Columbia National Bank, and Carson Products, Inc.

In 2017, Hudson was recognized at the Morehouse University 133rd Commencement where he was conferred the title “Chairman Emeritus” with a special black academic chair, and received the College’s 150th anniversary sesquicentennial medallion.

James L. Hudson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 22, 2020.

Accession Number

A2020.005

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/22/2020

Last Name

Hudson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Lagarde

Occupation
Schools

Morehouse College

Boston University School of Law

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Baton Rouge

HM ID

HUD08

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Charleston, South Carolina

Birth Date

11/6/1939

Birth Place Term
Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Lawyer James L. Hudson (1939- ) co-founded the firm Hudson Leftwich in 1970 before becoming chairman of JAH Development Company and JLH Partners LLC in 1985.

Employment

Law and Judicial Systems of Nations

Rhyne & Rhyne

National Institute of Municipal Law Officers Law Review

The Urban Institute

Hudson Leftwich & Davenport

Senator Edmund Muskie’s Presidential Campaign

Walter E. Washington Mayoral

Campaign.

District of Columbia Government

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

Favorite Color

Earth Tones

Benjamin F. Wilson

Lawyer Benjamin F. Wilson was born on June 29, 1951 in Bloomington, Indiana to Anna and Harrison B. Wilson, Jr. He graduated from the Jackson State College Laboratory School in Jackson, Mississippi in 1965, and the Wilbraham Academy in Wilbraham, Massachusetts in 1969. Wilson earned his B.A. degree in history in 1973 from Dartmouth College, and his J.D. degree with honors in 1976 from Harvard Law School.

Wilson began his career as an associate at the Atlanta, Georgia law firm King & Spalding in 1976. He then joined the civil division of the U.S. Department of Justice in 1979 where he handled commercial litigation matters. Wilson was later hired by Rose, Schmidt, Chapman, Duff, and Hasley in 1982 as an associate where he focused on civil litigation and was promoted to partner in 1983. Wilson subsequently joined Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. in November of 1986 where he served as lead counsel in numerous complex environmental litigation and regulatory matters for major consumer product corporations, retailers, oil and gas companies, municipalities, as well as developers. He was named managing partner of the firm in 2008 and chairman of Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. in 2017. Wilson also served as an adjunct professor of environmental law at the Howard University School of Law where he also co-founded the Howard Energy and Environmental Law Society.

Wilson has served on many boards throughout his career, including as chair of the Environmental Law Institute, on the board of directors of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, the board of trustees of Dartmouth College, as secretary on the board of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, and as chairman of the Environmental, Energy, and Public Utilities Law section of the National Bar Association from 1987 to 1998.

Wilson has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession in 2014, the Washington Bar Association’s Charles Hamilton Houston Medallion of Merit in 2016, and the Presidential Award from the National Bar Association in 2019.

Benjamin F. Wilson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 24, 2020.

Accession Number

A2020.007

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/24/2020

Last Name

Wilson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Francis

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Jackson State College Laboratory School

Wilbraham & Monson Academy

Dartmouth College

Harvard Law School

First Name

Benjamin

Birth City, State, Country

Bloomington

HM ID

WIL97

Favorite Season

Spring and Fall

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Outer Banks of North Carolina

Favorite Quote

It's Not What Happens To You In Life, It's How You Choose To Respond and Difficult Situations Reveal Character

Birth Date

6/29/1951

Birth Place Term
Favorite Food

Spaghetti

Short Description

Lawyer Benjamin Wilson (1951- ) joined Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. in 1986 where he was later named managing partner in 2008 and chairman in 2017.

Employment

King & Spalding

U.S. Department of Justice

Rose, Schmidt, Chapman, Duff & Hasley

Beveridge & Diamond

Favorite Color

Green

Charles R. Lawrence III

Professor Charles R. Lawrence III was born on May 4, 1943 in New York City. He attended Spring Valley public schools in New York; and, in 1965, graduated with his B.A. degree from Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania. In 1969, he received his J.D. degree from Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut.

From 1969 to 1970, Lawrence served as an attorney and research associate at the Harvard Center for Law and Education an as an assistant professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. From 1970 to 1972, he was director and principal of the Highland Park Free School in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1972, Lawrence was hired as a senior attorney at Public Advocates in San Francisco, California where he also served as a professor of law at the University of San Francisco School of Law from 1974 to 1986. During this time he also served as a visiting professor at Harvard Law School from 1979 to 1980, the University of California at Berkeley School of Law from 1981 to 1982, and the UCLA School of Law in 1986. He worked as a tenured professor at Stanford Law School from 1986 to 1993 and at Georgetown University Law Center from 1993 to 2012. During this time, Lawrence also briefly served as a visiting professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law from 1991 to 1992, and at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa from 2004 to 2005. Lawrence later joined the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa’s William S. Richardson School of Law in 2008 where he served as professor of law and Centennial University Professor. During his career, Lawrence specialized in antidiscrimination law, equal protection, and critical race theory. He has co-authored three books: The Bakke Case: The Politics of Inequality (1979), Words That Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech, and The First Amendment (1993), and We Won't Go Back: Making the Case for Affirmative Action (1997).

Lawrence served as a member of the District of Columbia Board of Education, National Public Radio, and several other public interest boards.

During his career, Lawrence received numerous awards, including the University of San Francisco School of Law's Most Distinguished Professor Award in 1978, the John Bingham Hurlburt Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Society of American Law Teachers National Teaching Award in 2003. He was also awarded honorary doctorates from Haverford College in 2000, Georgetown University Law Center in 2017, and Nelson Mandela University in 2019.

Charles R. Lawrence III was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 9, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.135

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/9/2019

Last Name

Lawrence

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Radford

Occupation
Schools

Dalton School

English Church School

South Main Street School

Spring Valley High School

Haverford College

Yale Law School

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

LAW08

Favorite Season

Fall and Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Love You

Speakers Bureau Region State

Hawaii

Birth Date

5/4/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Honolulu

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken, Fried Catfish, and Ahi

Short Description

Law professor Charles R. Lawrence III (1943- ) has served as Centennial University Professor and professor of law at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa William S. Richardson School of Law since 2008. He has held tenured positions at the University of San Francisco School of Law, Stanford Law School, and Georgetown University Law Center.

Employment

Highland Park Free School

Harvard University Graduate School of Education

Harvard Center for Law and Education

Public Advocates

University of San Francisco School of Law

Harvard Law School

University of California Berkeley School of Law

University of Los Angeles School of Law

Stanford Law School

University of Southern California Law School

Hastie-Lawrence Associates

Georgetown University Law Center

University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Favorite Color

Brown

The Honorable Sandra A. Simms

Judge Sandra A. Simms was born on July 26, 1948 in Chicago, Illinois to Vera and Gerald Nuckolls, Sr. She graduated from Hyde Park High School before attending and graduating from the University of Illinois at Chicago with her B.A. degree in political science and sociology. Simms later obtained her J.D. degree from DePaul University College of Law in 1978.

Simms worked as a flight attendant for United Airlines from 1972 until 1977 when she entered DePaul University College of Law. After graduating with her J.D. degree in 1978, Simms and her husband, Hank, moved to Hawaii. In 1980, Simms was hired as a clerk for Yoshimi Hayashi, chief judge of the newly created Hawaii State Intermediate Court of Appeals. She remained here until 1982 when she was made deputy corporation counsel for the city and county of Honolulu. In this capacity, she served as legal counsel to various city agencies and commissions including the police commission, the civil service commission, public works, the fire department, and the family support division. Simms was also hired as a staff attorney for the department of the Attorney General’s Office of Information and Practices. In 1991, Simms became the first African American female judge in Hawaii upon her appointment to the District Court of the First Circuit. Three years later, she was appointed Circuit Court Judge for the First Judicial Circuit by Governor John David Waiheʻe, III. Simms retired as a circuit court judge in 2004. In 2009, she became an adjunct lecturer in the criminal justice program at Chaminade University. She published Tales from the Bench: Essays on Life and Justice in 2012.

Simms is a member of Soroptimist International of Waikiki, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Hawaii State Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the African American Lawyers Association of Hawaii, and Links Incorporated, of which she was president. She also received a number of governmental appointments, including to the State Council on Mental Health and to the board of directors of Mental Health America of Hawaii.

Simms and her husband reside in Hawaii and have three adult children, Sharon, Richard, and Vera.

The Honorable Sandra A. Simms was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 11, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.138

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/11/2019

Last Name

Simms

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Arlene

Schools

Hyde Park Academy High School

University of Illinois at Chicago

DePaul University College of Law

William W. Carter Elementary School

Betsy Ross Elementary School

Haven School

First Name

Sandra

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

SIM15

Favorite Season

All Seasons Except Winter

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Don't View Today Through The Lens Of Yesterday

Speakers Bureau Region State

Hawaii

Birth Date

6/26/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Honolulu

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

Judge Sandra A. Simms (1948- ) was the first African American female judge in Hawaii upon being appointed to the First Circuit’s District Court in 1991.

Employment

United Airlines

Hawaii State Intermediate Court of Appeals

City/County of Honolulu

Attorney General; Office of Information & Practices

Hawaii First Circuit District Court

Hawaii First Circuit Circuit Court

Chaminade University

Favorite Color

Red

The Honorable Fernando J. Gaitan, Jr.

Judge Fernando Gaitan, Jr. was born on August 22, 1948 to Fernando, Sr. and Betty Gaitan in Kansas City, Kansas. He attended Northeast Junior High School, and graduated from Sumner High School in 1966. He attended Kansas City Kansas Community College and Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas. He obtained his B.S. degree in biology and psychology from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas in 1970. Gaitan earned his J.D. degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law in 1974.

Following law school, Gaitan went to work as in-house counsel for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company from 1974 to 1980. Appointed trial judge of the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri, he served from 1980 to 1986. In 1986, Gaitan became the first African American appointee to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District. Appointed by Governor John Ashcroft, he served from 1986 to 1991. Gaitan was nominated by President George H. W. Bush to a seat on the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri and was confirmed by the Senate in 1991. From 1997 to 2003, he served as member of the Federal-State Jurisdiction Committee of the Judicial Conference. In 2007, Gaitan became Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, and served a seven-year term thorough 2014. He took senior status to Senior Judge in 2014.

Gaitan has served as member of the Eighth Circuit Judicial Council, the Judicial Conference Federal-State Jurisdiction Committee and Committee on the Administration of Bankruptcy System. He also served on the boards of the Kansas City Science Museum, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, St. Luke’s Hospital, and the De La Salle Alternative School, as chair. Gaitan served as an advisory board member and vice-chair for the Kansas City Crime Commission’s “Second Chance” Foundation, as well as an adjunct professor and member of the Board of Trustees for the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.

Gaitan received the Alumnus of the Year Award from UMKC, the Outstanding Alumnus Award from Pittsburg State University, The William Jewell College Yates Medallion, the Difference Maker Award from the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, the Centurion Leadership Award from the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and the Reason to Believe Award from the Kansas City, Kansas School District. He was also inducted into the Missouri Walk of Fame.

Fernando Gaitin, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 9, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.127

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/9/2019

Last Name

Gaitan

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Joe

Schools

Kelling Elementary School

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Northeast Junior High School

Charles L. Sumner High School

Kansas City Junior College at Sumner

Donnelly College

Pittsburg State University

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law

First Name

Fernando

Birth City, State, Country

Kansas City

HM ID

GAI04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Miami Beach

Favorite Quote

None

Speakers Bureau Region State

Missouri

Birth Date

8/22/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Kansas City

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Mexican Food

Short Description

Judge Fernando Gaitan, Jr. (1948- ) was the first African American appointee to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District in 1986. He joined the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri in 1991, and became Chief Judge in 2007 and Senior Judge in 2014.

Employment

Southwestern Bell Telephone Company

Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri

Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District

United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri

Favorite Color

Blue

The Honorable Jon R. Gray

Judge Jon R. Gray was born on November 16, 1951 in Little Rock, Arkansas to Mai H. Gray and Reverend C. Jarrett Gray, Sr. After graduating from Paseo High School in Kansas City, Missouri in 1969, Gray received his B.A. degree in American Studies from Grinnell College in 1973. He went on to receive his J.D. degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law in 1976.

After graduating from law school, Gray was appointed assistant Jackson County Counselor and established a solo law practice, before joining the firm of Gray Payne & Roque as a principal and partner. He served as a Democratic Attorney for the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners from 1981 to 1986 and as a chair of the Liquor Control Board of Review of Kansas City, Missouri. In 1986, Governor John Ashcroft appointed him circuit judge in the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit of Missouri. He served a term as the Administrative Judge of the Family Court of Jackson County and as a special judge of the Missouri Supreme Court. He also taught at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Emory University School of Law, and the Missouri Judicial College. In 2007, Gray retired from the circuit court and joined Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP as a partner in its Kansas City office, where he served as chair of the firm’s Professional Development Committee.

Gray served on the board of trustees of Southern Methodist University from 1988 until 2000. In 2007, he served a one year term as chair of the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association; and, in 2008, he joined the American Arbitration Association as a member of its panel of commercial arbitrators. Governor Jay Nixon appointed Gray to serve as a member of the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority in 2009, and as a member of the Missouri Citizens’ Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials in 2014. An active member of The United Methodist Church, Gray was elected to serve an eight year term as a member of its Judicial Council, and as a delegate to its General Conferences in 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004. Judge Gray holds membership in The Missouri Bar, the National Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Jackson County Bar Association, the Association of Missouri Mediators, and the FINRA panel of arbitrators. He is admitted to practice before the Missouri Supreme Court, the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Gray received the Difference Maker Award from the Urban League of Greater Kansas City in 2002, the Lewis W. Clymer Award from the Jackson County Bar in 2007, and the Spurgeon Smithson Award from the Missouri Bar Association in 2014. In 2018, he was honored with the Missouri Legal Icon Award from Missouri Lawyers Publications and the Raymond Pace Alexander Award from the National Bar Judicial Council.

The Honorable Jon R. Gray was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 6, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.122

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/6/2019

Last Name

Gray

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Reginald

Occupation
Schools

Wendell Phillips Elem. Magnet

Park Elementary School

Northeast Junior High School

Paseo High School

Grinnell College

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law

Wendell Phillips Elementary Magnet

First Name

Jon

Birth City, State, Country

Little Rock

HM ID

GRA19

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Do All The Good You Can, In All The Ways That You Can, For All The People That You Can, In All The Places That You Can, As Long As Ever You Can - John Wesley

Speakers Bureau Region State

Missouri

Birth Date

11/16/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Kansas City

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Desserts, Barbecue, and Vegetables

Short Description

Judge Jon R. Gray (1951- ) served as circuit judge in the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit of Missouri from 1986 to 2007.

Employment

Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP

Sixteenth Judicial Circuit of Missouri

Gray Payne & Roque

Favorite Color

Blue

Maurice Watson

Lawyer Maurice Watson was born on January 13, 1958 in Kansas City, Missouri to Christene and George Watson. He attended Barstow School and was the first African American to graduate from there in 1976. Watson then attended Harvard University where he graduated cum laude and received his B.A. degree in social studies in 1980 before earning his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1984.

After graduating from Harvard University in 1980, Watson worked in the legal department at Hallmark Cards, Inc. until 1981 when he entered Harvard Law School. Upon receiving his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1984, Watson was hired as an aide for Senator John Danforth (R-MO) where he worked with civil rights, healthcare, and education issues. He remained here until 1987 when he returned to Kansas City, Missouri to serve as an associate at Blackwell Sanders, working on civil rights and education issues. Here, he would later become partner and relationship manager for the Kansas City Public School system. In 2012, Watson was named chairman of the board of Husch Blackwell, making him the first African American to head a major law firm in Missouri and the third to do so in the country. He remained as chairman until 2018 when he co-founded Credo Philanthropy Advisors and became of counsel to Husch Blackwell.

Watson has served on numerous boards throughout his career, including as president of the board of trustees for Barstow School from 1989 to 1996, chairman of the board of directors for Children’s Mercy Hospital from 1993 to 2007 and vice chair of ther board of trustees from 2002 to 2007, and secretary of the board of trustees for the National Association of Independent Schools from 1995 to 2003. He has also been a member of the African American Managing Partners Network, the Jackson County Bar Association, the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, and the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association.

Watson also received numerous awards, including the 2007 Missouri Hospital Association Excellence in Governance Award, the NAACP Kansas City, Missouri Chapter’s Velma E. Woodson Outstanding Leadership Award in 2012, the Urban League of Greater Kansas City Difference Maker of the Year Award in 2012, Kansas City Business Journal’s Power 100 recognition from 2014 to 2017, the Missouri Lawyers Weekly’s 2018 Law Firm Leader Award, and the African American Managing Partners Network’s 2018 Managing Partner of the Year Award.

Watson resides in Kansas City, Missouri.

Maurice Watson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 4, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.120

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/4/2019

Last Name

Watson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Alvin

Occupation
Schools

George Washington Carver School

George Melcher Elementary School

Southwest High School

The Barstow School

Harvard University

Harvard Law School

First Name

Maurice

HM ID

WAT21

Favorite Season

Spring

Favorite Vacation Destination

London

Favorite Quote

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Speakers Bureau Region State

Missouri

Birth Date

1/13/1958

Speakers Bureau Region City

Kansas City

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Lawyer Maurice Watson (1958- ) was the first African American to head a major law firm in Missouri and the third to do so in the country after being named chairman of Husch Blackwell in 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Employment

Hallmark Cards, Inc.

Blackwell Sanders Matheny Weary & Lombardi

Lord Lloyd & Bissell

Senator John Danforth (R-MO)

Blackwell Sanders

Husch Blackwell Sanders LLP

Husch Blackwell

Credo Philanthropy Advisors

Favorite Color

Purple

Kofi Appenteng

Lawyer Kofi Appenteng was born on June 14, 1957 in Accra, Ghana to Felicia and Samuel Appenteng. He attended Gateway School and Aldenham School in England and later immigrated to the United States in 1977, where he attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. There, he was a member of the men’s soccer team and participated in track and field. Appenteng received his B.A. degree from Wesleyan University in 1981 and his J.D. degree from Columbia University School of Law in New York City in 1984.

After graduation, Appenteng was hired by the law firm of Webster & Sheffield as an associate. In 1991, he joined Thacher Proffitt & Wood LLP, where he specialized in merger and acquisitions, private placements, corporate governance, mortgage finance transactions, and not-for-profit law. Appenteng was promoted to partner in 1994, where he advised foreign and domestic individuals and companies on matters related to corporate governance, securities law compliance, acquisitions, corporate finance, regulatory compliance and crisis management. He then became CEO and director of Constant Capital Ghana Limited from 2008 to 2014. In 2014, Appenteng served as senior counsel at Dentons and became chair of the board of directors for the Ford Foundation. In 2016, he became president of the Africa-America Institute.

He served on Wesleyan University’s Board of Trustees from 1990 to 2006, and chaired the presidential search committee that recommended Michael S. Roth as the sixteenth president of Wesleyan University in 2007. He also served as non-executive director at Intravenous Infusions Limited and joined the board of directors of the Ford Foundation in 2007. He was later appointed to the board of directors at the International Center for Transitional Justice in 2015. He also served on the International Advisory Board of IE University, Spain and on the board of Instituto de Empresa Fund, Inc., Panbros Salt Industries Limited, the University of Cape Town Fund and the World Scout Fund.

Appenteng received the Baldwin Medal in 2007, the highest honor bestowed by the Wesleyan Alumni Association for service to the university and to society, and was inducted into the Wesleyan Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009. In 2013, Appenteng was named a “Great American Immigrant” by the Carnegie Corporation.

Kofi Appenteng was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 25, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.019

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/25/2019

Last Name

Appenteng

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

John Boakye

Occupation
Schools

The Gateway School

Little Hamden Manor Preparatory School

Aldenham School

Wesleyan University

Columbia Law School

First Name

Kofi

Birth City, State, Country

Accra

HM ID

APP01

Favorite Season

Fall

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean, Jamaica

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/14/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

Ghana

Favorite Food

FuFu and Goat Soup

Short Description

Lawyer Kofi Appenteng (1957 - ) served as partner at Thacher Proffitt & Wood LLP, senior counsel at Dentons, chairman of the Ford Foundation’s board, and president of the Africa-America Institute.

Employment

Webster & Sheffield

Thatcher, Profitt & Wood LLP

Constant Capital Limited

Dentons

Africa-America Institute

Favorite Color

Blue

Michael A. Lawson

Lawyer Michael A. Lawson was born on August 8, 1953 in Little Rock, Arkansas to Ruth Ellen Jones and Milton Anderson Lawson. He received his B.A. degree in political science and economics in 1975 from Loyola Marymount University, in Los Angeles, California, and his J.D. degree from Harvard
Law School, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Lawson began his law career as a staff attorney for the U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, in Washington, D.C. In 1980, he joined Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP, in Los Angeles, California, where he specialized in merger and acquisition transactions, bankruptcy, and litigation. Later, Lawson became a partner at the firm, where he worked for thirty-one years until 2011. In 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Lawson to serve as U.S. Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. Based in Montreal, Canada, Lawson served in this role from 2014 to 2017, coordinating and regulating international air travel. In 2018, Lawson was named president and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League.

From 2004 to 2014, Luster served as vice chair of the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County’s board of directors; and, from 2005 to 2011, he served as a member of the Board of Airport Commissioners (BOAC) for Los Angeles World Airports. In 2011, California Governor Jerry Brown appointed Luster to the California State Teachers Retirement System (CALSTRS) Board of Trustees, the second largest retirement system in the United States, where he served until 2014. In addition, he served as a trustee of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia and Loyola Marymount University of Los Angeles. He was also a board director and former chairman of the Constitutional Rights Foundation, and a board director of the Advancement Project and the Music Center Foundation.

Lawson was the recipient of the Strickland Excellence Award from the Loyola Marymount University African American Alumni Association in 2010. He was also recognized by Chambers USA as one of the nation's “Leading Lawyers for Business.”

Lawson and his wife, Mattie McFadden-Lawson, have two adult children, Michael Jr. and Jonathan.

Michael A. Lawson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 8, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.014

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/8/2019

Last Name

Lawson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

A.

Occupation
Schools

Gibbs Magnet Elementary School

Manhattan Place Elementary School

Henry Clay Junior High School

Westchester High School

Loyola Marymount University

Harvard Law School

First Name

Michael

Birth City, State, Country

Little Rock

HM ID

LAW07

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Any Place With Camping, Skiing, Or Beaches

Favorite Quote

If You Want To Get Something Done, Find A Busy Person

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

8/8/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Blueberry Cobbler

Short Description

Lawyer Michael A. Lawson (1953 - ) was a corporate lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom from 1980 to 2011, before serving as U.S. Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Employment

The Los Angeles Urban League

International Civil Aviation Organization

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, L.L.P.

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

Favorite Color

Blue