April 24, 2024

Northern Virginia Black Attorneys' Association Named 2024 Bar Association of the Year

The Northern Virginia Black Attorneys' Association (NOVABAA) has been named the 2024 Bar Association of the Year by the Virginia State Bar Conference of Local and Specialty Bar Associations (CLSBA).

NOVABAA was founded in 1983 as an association that would allow African American attorneys to gather and push one another to advance professionally and support one another personally. The association works to promote issues that are important to the African American legal community and to improve professional opportunities for members and the broader legal community.

A group of NOVABAA members.


NOVABAA’s leadership includes the following: Rex Flynn of The Flynn Law Firm, PLLC, president; Lindsay Powell of Wilson Elser, vice president; Madison Gibbs of Bynum & Jenkins, secretary; and Chidinma Harley of Pervaiz & Harley, PLLC, treasurer.

President Flynn nominated NOVABAA by highlighting the association’s focus on doing activities that align at the intersection of members’ interests and the needs of the local community. To this end, NOVABAA raised $11,000 in scholarship money for African American law students at George Mason University, with the first disbursement of funds being awarded to three students during the association’s Black History Month Brunch. Additionally, NOVABAA partnered with the Prince William County Bar Association for the inaugural JUSTice Like Me program, which focused on serving underserved and minority high school students with the goal of exposing these students to careers within the court system. For this program, NOVABAA won a 2022 Award of Merit alongside other co-sponsoring organizations.

The association also hosts a myriad of cultural and educational events throughout the year, including celebrations focused on championing African American legal heroes during Black History Month and Juneteenth. In an effort to remember its own history and impact, NOVABAA hosted a discussion last year entitled “The History of NOVABAA,” where founding members recalled what the practice of law was like for Black lawyers prior to the association’s inception. Moreover, NOVABAA partnered this past February with the Fairfax County Circuit Court and the Fairfax Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section to participate in the American Bar Association’s 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge. Participants in the challenge were assigned readings on racial justice and later met to discuss their thoughts on the readings in small groups. The challenge was the subject of VSB President Chidi I. James’ April 2024 column in Virginia Lawyer and received a 2024 Award of Merit from the CLSBA.

NOVABAA provides meaningful and relevant professional development opportunities for its members. In addition to having a professional photographer take headshots for its members, NOVABAA co-sponsored a discussion panel, “The Road to the Judiciary,” for members interested in a career as a judge and set up group admission ceremonies for members to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia as well as the United States Supreme Court. Furthermore, the association facilitates numerous CLE opportunities throughout the year, many of which are led by its own members.

Last year, the association marked its 40th anniversary with a celebration at the Salamander Middleburg Resort & Spa, where founding members of NOVABAA were given Lifetime Service Awards and Chief Justice S. Bernard Goodwyn of the Supreme Court of Virginia gave a keynote address.

The CLSBA will present the 2024 Bar Association of the Year Award at its Annual Meeting and Awards Breakfast on May 31 at the Hilton Garden Inn Virginia Beach Oceanfront.