Category Archives: section-committee-2

Legislation Committee

  • Responsible for looking over pending legislation for items which it thinks will have impact on the members of the Association or its natural constituency, and
  • After bringing the items and its recommendations before the Board and the Association, taking such action as the Board or the Association deems proper

Asha Smith, Chair

Asha Smith is a Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Society. Beginning her career in 2007, Asha represented indigent defendants as a Public Defender in the Criminal Defense Practice. Currently she represents New York City’s most vulnerable citizens as a Staff Attorney in the Housing Unit in the Civil Practice.

Asha received her law degree from New York Law School in 2007. She was  a member of the school’s Justice Action Center where she focused on Social Justice advocacy, with concentrations in Trial Advocacy, Criminal Justice, Immigration, and clinical studies in Mediation. Prior to attending law school, Asha simultaneously received a Master of Arts in Media Studies and a Master of Science of Teaching at the New School for Social Research.

A member of MBBA for a number of years, Asha is currently Chair of MBBA’s Judiciary Committee and Co-Chair of MBBA’s Legislation Committee. She looks forward to continued involvement with MBBA, its members and the community at large.

Dwayne Andrews, Chair

dwayne-andrewsAdvocating for clients in New York City, Albany and Washington, DC, Dwayne Andrews has worked for more than a decade as a lawyer and government relations professional, building on his experience as a Congressional aide in New York and the nation's capital. Dwayne has served as an associate general counsel and the head of government relations for a national education provider and currently represents a diverse mix of clients in the economic and real estate development and infrastructure sectors, as well as education, telecommunications and technology companies and organizations. Dwayne has participated in several panels at national and local conferences to discuss legal and policy issues.

Judicial Committee

Responsible for establishing criteria for judging the qualifications of judicial candidates; contacting, coordinating and holding interviews of the prospective candidates; and, e-mail and provide via other written communication the results of its findings

Asha Smith, Chair

Asha Smith is a Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Society. Beginning her career in 2007, Asha represented indigent defendants as a Public Defender in the Criminal Defense Practice. Currently she represents New York City’s most vulnerable citizens as a Staff Attorney in the Housing Unit in the Civil Practice.

Asha received her law degree from New York Law School in 2007. She was  a member of the school’s Justice Action Center where she focused on Social Justice advocacy, with concentrations in Trial Advocacy, Criminal Justice, Immigration, and clinical studies in Mediation. Prior to attending law school, Asha simultaneously received a Master of Arts in Media Studies and a Master of Science of Teaching at the New School for Social Research.

A member of MBBA for a number of years, Asha is currently Chair of MBBA’s Judiciary Committee and Co-Chair of MBBA’s Legislation Committee. She looks forward to continued involvement with MBBA, its members and the community at large.

Program Committee

Anta Cisse-Green, VP of Programming

Anta Cissé-Green is Associate General Counsel at NYU Langone Medical Center with primary responsibility for advising the development department with respect to agreements for gifts and bequests, trust and estate administration, not-for-profit legal and taxation issues and general contracting for activities of the development department at the Medical Center and the NYU School of Medicine.

Anta received her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School, summa cum laude, and her L.L.M. in Tax from NYU School of Law. Immediately prior to joining NYU Langone Medical Center in 2016, Anta was Senior Counsel at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in the firm’s private client services section of the tax group where she advised wealthy individuals on the development of tax efficient vehicles for the transfer of wealth, complex estate and trust administration issues, charitable planning strategies and the formation and governance of tax exempt organizations. Previously, Anta was an associate with Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and law clerk to the Honorable Lois Bloom, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York.
In 2016, Anta was named to the National Black Lawyers Top 100 Attorneys and a member of the Executive Committee for The National Advocates. In 2015, Anta was honored by the New York Law Journal as a “Lawyer Who Leads By Example” in recognition of her years of commitment to providing pro bono legal services to underrepresented New Yorkers. Anta was also named as a New York Metro Area Rising Star by Superlawyers in the area of tax and estate planning.

Anta is an active member of her community in her roles as Vice President of Programs for the Metropolitan Black Bar Association; member of the attorney advisory panel for the Planning and Estates Law Project for the City Bar Justice Center of the New York City Bar Association; member of the Advisory Council for the Foundation for Letters, Inc., a New York nonprofit organization that promotes improved college access through engagement with writing by providing urban schools with a range of literary-focused academic and enrichment programs; and member of the board of trustees for the Urban Resource Institute, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive, holistic, and supportive human services programs to empower individuals and families in the New York metropolitan area.

Tanisha McKnight, Secretary

Tanisha S. McKnight, Esq., is a graduate of Brooklyn Law School, 04’.  She began her legal career with The Legal Aid Society where she worked both in their Criminal Defense Division and Juvenile Rights Practice.  In 2009, Ms. McKnight became The Children’s Law Center of New York's (CLC) first Director of Paralegal and Volunteer Services.  In addition to managing the city-wide paralegal team, she practices law in a number of areas including custody, visitation, domestic violence and child protective proceedings.  She is also responsible for developing and managing CLC’s volunteer programs, which includes forming internship partnerships and recruitment with local high schools, universities and law schools, the development of CLC’s pro bono practice and law firm relationships.  Additionally, she supervises CLC’s Securing Seamless Education Services (SSES) education advocacy project and jointly manages CLC’s Broken Adoption Project.  She presents at schools, conferences and forums on the current issues facing family law practitioners and provides motivational talks to students considering entering the legal profession.  She was honored as one of the New York Law Journal’s Rising Stars of 2015.  


Membership Committee

Nadine Etienne-Bazile, VP of Membership

As an attorney in the Litigation Department, Nadine Etienne Bazile has a broad range of experience in litigation matters, including complex contractual litigation, labor and employment litigation, intellectual property, and white collar criminal defense.

Young Lawyers Section

  • Support young lawyers in their transition as a law school student to a practicing attorney by providing professional development, resources and networking opportunities
  • Section is committed to helping young lawyers reach their professional goals while simultaneously strengthening cohesion and retention within the legal community

Christopher Dor, Co-Chair

Christopher R. Dor is a Conflicts Officer in Weill Cornell Medicine's Human Research Compliance group.

Christopher oversees a network of doctors, scientists and research staff to identify and address real or apparent financial conflicts of interest at the intersection of research activities and personal financial interests. He ensures finical interests are managed appropriately and disclosed timely to support institutional compliance with applicable federal and state regulations, university policies and the Physicians Payments Sunshine Act. He also reviews business plans and licensing agreement documents pertaining to University employee startup company ventures.

Prior to his role with Weill Cornell Medicine, Christopher served as a New York State Excelsior Service Fellow under the Gov. Cuomo administration. The two year post-graduate fellowship placed him in the Office of the General Counsel for the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation of the State of New York. There Christopher focused on areas in labor & employment, real estate transactions, contracts and license agreements, as well as procurement.

He graduated from SUNY University at Buffalo’s College of Arts and Sciences in 2011, with a B.A. in Communication. He attended law school at Touro Law Center where he received his J.D. in 2015.

Claudy Bince, Co-Chair

Claudy Bince is an associate in the New York office of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. His practice focuses on corporate and financial transactions, particularly mergers and acquisitions.

Claudy received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Howard University School of Law, where he was valedictorian of his class, President of the Student Bar Association, Senior Notes & Comments Editor of the Howard Law Journal, and a Henry Ramsey Dean’s Fellow. He holds a B.A. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

In addition to serving as co-chair of the Young Lawyers Section of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, Claudy is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Darryl Barney, Secretary

Darryl Barney is a staff attorney in the Housing Unit of Staten Island Legal Services (SILS), where he focuses on tenants’ rights and eviction prevention. Prior to joining SILS, Darryl practiced foreclosure prevention as an associate at a small firm in Bronx, NY. Darryl received his B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Brooklyn College in 2012 and his J.D. from North Carolina Central University School of Law in 2015, where he was co-chair of the NCCU School of Law Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.

Darryl has been admitted to the New Jersey State Bar since 2015 and the New York State Bar since 2016. He has also been admitted to the Federal Bar of the United States District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York since 2017. Darryl is committed to intersectional public service and empowering and advocating for transformative change for marginalized communities. 

Asia Davis, Secretary

Sports & Entertainment Section

Focuses on domestic, international and regional issues dealing with the business and law of entertainment, art and sports law

Andrew Hannibal, Co-Chair

Jill Pilgrim, Co-Chair

Jill Pilgrim’s distinguished career includes decades of experience working in the legal, sports business and corporate environments, as an attorney, strategic business consultant, international consultant, arbitrator, entrepreneur, law professor, speaker, and published legal author. Pilgrim, principal owner of Pilgrim & Associates law firm, and Acting Executive Director & General Counsel of the Track & Field Athletes Association, Inc. (TFAA), has built a national reputation as a prominent business, sports and ADR lawyer and advisor.

In the fall of 2017, Ms. Pilgrim assumed the role of Acting Executive Director & General Counsel of TFAA.  In this capacity, she seeks to assist the professional athletes establish a sustainable organization that serves as the collective voice for, help improves working conditions for, professional track and field, road racing and race walking athletes.

As the former general counsel of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), Pilgrim rendered legal advice and handled matters ranging from corporate governance to dispute resolution, policy matters, protecting intellectual property rights, contractual relationships, member services and athlete eligibility. Prior to joining the LPGA, she spent eight-and-a-half years as general counsel and director of business affairs for USA Track & Field (USATF), the Olympic governing body for the sport of track and field, road racing and race walking.  At USATF Pilgrim’s responsibilities included rendering business and legal advice to Chief Executive Officer, President, Board of Directors and staff of USATF, and working collaboratively with the volunteer membership developing and implementing new business policies and practices.  As such, she was part of the management team that oversaw, planned, and conducted over 150 national championships and other programs and events annually.  

Pilgrim serves on the Division I National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Committee on Infractions.  She is an independent hearing officer for the New York State Gaming Commission, as well as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association (AAA) which, in addition to handling commercial disputes, handles domestic Olympic and sports disputes.  She is also the founder and President of the Center for the Protection of Athletes’ Rights, Inc. (CPAR), a nonprofit advocacy, education and legal service provider for low income members of the U.S. athletic community.

As an educator, Pilgrim taught “The Globalization of Sports” and “International & Comparative Sports Law” as an adjunct professor in the Columbia University School of Professional Studies & Instituto Superior de Derecho y Economía (ISDE) Companion Masters in Sports Management & Masters in Global Sports Law Program.  She previously developed and taught “The Olympic Games & the Law” course at the University of Miami School of Law; and taught “Legal Issues in Sports” for the New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies’ Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management Program.

Pilgrim’s legal career began as a tax and corporate associate at New York City law firms, including Willkie Farr & Gallagher and Cowan Liebowitz & Latman. In 1990, she established her own law private practice, Pilgrim & Associates, which she returned to after her respective tenures as general counsel at USATF and the LPGA.

Tara Enahoro, Secretary

Tara Peaches Enahoro is a newly admitted contract attorney that is transitioning into sports law.

She is a Miami, Florida native that graduated from St. John's University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with a minor in Sociology. She also, graduated from the University of Buckingham with a JD and Commercial and International Law LLM.

Tara is currently a part of the Nigerian Lawyer's Association, Sport's Lawyer's Association, NAACP and New York Urban League Young Professionals. Away from her practice, she is in the process of establishing a nonprofit with one of her Best friends; Sankofa: Rebuilding the West African Connection and is a mentor at Imentor.

Real Estate Section

Focuses on issues related to real property law, including ownership and use of property, commercial real estate transactions, leasing, development, financing, transfer, regulation, taxation and disposal of real property

Rob Thony, Co-Chair

Rob is an entertainment and real estate attorney at Robert Thony Law, PLLC. He works with artists, brands, content creators, and tech companies to develop, protect and license impactful art, multimedia and consumer products. He also helps buyers, sellers, and leasers of real estate with residential and commercial property agreements through negotiations, drafting and consultations for sale, lease and rental contracts. Rob is a graduate of Brooklyn Law School.

Yvette Dudley, Co-Chair

Kashima Loney, Secretary

As counsel in the National Division of Kensington Vanguard National Land Services, Kashima underwrites, clears, and closes commercial real estate acquisition and financing transactions throughout the United States. She brings pride, integrity and excellence to each transaction, large or small, urban or rural and strives at providing mutually beneficial results to all involved parties. Prior to joining the company, Kashima was National Transactions Counsel at New York Land Services, a direct underwriting division of Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company. Kashima began her work in the real estate industry in 2001 as a payoff clerk for Friedman, Krauss & Zlotolow, LLP. She subsequently worked as a real estate paralegal until her admission to the New York bar in 2012.

A proponent of pro bono, Kashima advises pro se clients on a myriad of issues with the New York County Lawyer's Association's Legal Counseling Project, and volunteers in the Landlord and Tenant Court. In October 2017, she was honored by The New York County Lawyer's Association, New York State Bar Association, and the Office of Justice Initiatives- New York State Civil Court for her service. In 2015 she accepted an invitation to guest lecture a Real Estate Transactions class at Baruch College.

A graduate of the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center at Touro College, Kashima was a staff member and published author of the Touro Law Review; the Essay’s Editor of the Touro International Law Review; and the Research Chair of the 2010-11 National Black Law Students Association Amicus Curiae Program. Kashima earned her B.A. from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and holds certificates in Dispute Resolution, International Commercial Law, and Financial Markets. She is also an active member of the New York State Bar Association, New York County Lawyer’s Association, and Metropolitan Black Bar Association.

Pipeline Section

Lisa Willis, Co-Chair

Lisa Willis is Trademark Of Counsel at Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton LLP.  Her practice focuses on domestic and international trademark matters.

Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Willis worked as an associate at an IP boutique and an international law firm based in New York City where she represented clients in all aspects of domestic and international trademark clearance prosecution, enforcement and litigation matters. Ms. Willis has experience in a variety of industries including fashion, sports and entertainment, cosmetics, technology and financial services. She has also litigated trade secrets, employment and general commercial matters.

Ms. Willis is a frequent lecturer on trademark law.  She has lectured at the AIPLA Annual Trademark Bootcamp, Parsons The New School of Design and New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies.  She is co-chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Fashion Law Committee.  Ms. Willis was recognized as a 2014, 2015 and 2016 New York “Rising Star” in the area of Intellectual Property by Super Lawyers magazine. She was named a 2016 and 2017 "IP Star" by Managing Intellectual Property magazine. She graduated from Harvard Law School in 2005.

Conway Ekpo, Co-Chair

Conway Ekpo is in-house counsel at Morgan Stanley where he is an Executive Director covering the firm's international Wealth Management business which has over $2.2 trillion in assets under management. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, he was in-house counsel at Bank of America Merrill Lynch where he was part of the legal team tasked with advising the bank's Global Wealth & Investment Management line of business. Conway is also an adjunct professor of law at Rutgers School of Law, where he teaches a course on New York civil procedure. Prior to transitioning in-house, Conway practiced financial services litigation as an associate at Hogan Lovells US LLP, Riker Danzig LLP and the New York office of Heller Ehrman LLP.

Conway was the recipient of the New York City Bar Association’s 2016 Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award, the Garden State Bar Association's 2016 Young Lawyer Award, and the Nigerian Lawyers Association’s 2016 Rising Star Award all in recognition for his efforts as a founding member of 1844. 1844 is a group of black male lawyers practicing in New York City in large law firms and in-house legal departments for Fortune 500 companies; the group’s name "1844" is in reference to the year that the first black person, Macon Bolling Allen, was admitted to practice law in America.

Conway was selected as a 2016 Fellow in the Council of Urban Professionals. He currently serves on the National and Northeast Advisory Boards as well as the National Moot Court Board of Advisors for the National Black Law Students Association and is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and the Prince Hall Masonic Lodge.

Conway earned his B.S. in architectural engineering at the University of Kansas and his J.D. at Rutgers School of Law where he was Managing Editor of the Rutgers Law Review.


Data Privacy & Cybersecurity Section

  • Explores the intersection of technology with the law specifically in the areas of computer security and the protection of sensitive information
  • Programs and format will be flexible in order to remain relevant, but will focus on computer security laws, data breach repercussions, Constitutional privacy implications, and the legal aspects of current or future technologies

Lawrence  Montle, Co-Chair

Lawrence Montle is currently the chief information security officer and privacy officer at the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF). He is responsible for the development and implementation of a comprehensive information security plan to improve and insure agency security levels. In this role, Mr. Montle oversees the recommendation and design of targeted strategies and initiatives to effectively assess risks, maintain the security of NYSIF’s proprietary data, and ensure its protection from unauthorized use. He also functions as a liaison to the Office of Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure Coordination, administering security training for agency staff and ensuring NYSIF's compliance with statewide security policies, privacy standards and controls.

Prior to joining NYSIF, Mr. Montle served as internal audit director for the Department of Financial Services, where he oversaw audits conducted by the New York State Comptroller’s office and other external entities, and monitored compliance and adherence to policy review and internal controls. Among other achievements, he implemented a comprehensive internal audit internship program to train and mentor students.

Mr. Montle’s previous positions include serving as information technology director at the New York Liquidation Bureau and working at Verizon as an IT auditor, systems engineer, and network engineer for over a decade. He holds certifications in information privacy (CIPP/US), fraud examination (CFE), information systems auditing (CISA) and is licensed to practice law in N.Y. and D.C. Mr. Montle received his MBA in finance and management from Fordham University and his JD from New York Law School. He obtained his undergraduate degree from New York University.

Taa Grays, Co-Chair

Jacques Sexton, Vice-Chair

Jacques is an eData attorney, certified in data protection and M&A, that integrates multi-business line corporate experience to provide growth- and risk- calibrated advice reflecting the responsibilities and opportunities of elite data stewardship.
He is admitted to practice law in New York and certified by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (CIPP/US). He has also been previously certified as a Mergers and Acquisition Advisor (CM&AA) by the Alliance of Mergers and Acquisition Advisors. Subject matters include Data Privacy and Cybersecurity, Anti-Money Laundering/Bank Secrecy Act compliance, and Cost of Insurance litigation (COI). Experience includes investigations, class-action defense, regulatory inquiry response, and compliance program assessment and development.
In addition to serving as Vice-Chair of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association Data Privacy & Cybersecurity Section, Jacques volunteers in numerous leadership capacities including the Council of Urban Professionals (CUP) Fellows Board Co-Chair and CUP Convening Faculty Member; My Brother’s Keeper My Sister’s Keeper (MBK/MSK) Steering Committee Member; and the Urban Assembly School of Law and Justice Volunteer and Advocate. Past service includes Advisor to the Executive Director, Board Member, and Committee Chair roles in the areas of governance, finance, and development for non-profit organizations on both coasts. In all roles, Jacques has developed and/or implemented strategic and tactical plans with measurable goals and concrete timelines.
Jacques received his J.D. from Howard University School of Law where he was a member of the Huver I. Brown Trial Advocacy team, and his B.A. from Morehouse College. He is a CUP Fellow and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.

Criminal Law Section

  • Provide timely and useful information relating to criminal justice and law enforcement matters to the community
  • Offer professional development opportunities for attorneys and respond to developing community concerns
  • Enhance communication and problem solving among attorneys and community members who regularly encounter issues relating to criminal law
  • Produce activities and programs that seek to ensure and promote criminal justice transparency, the public interest, and community well-being through leadership, advocacy, and education

Jeannie Elie, Co-Chair

Lenora Easter, Co-Chair

Lenora Easter is an experienced attorney who is licensed to practice in New York, Florida and with the United States Supreme Court.  A knowledgeable and fervent advocate, she believes that every client deserves the best legal defense possible regardless of their socio-economic status. 

Ms. Easter received her Juris Doctorate from Barry University School of Law and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Finance from the University of Central Florida. She has distinguished herself in both the Orlando and New York legal markets as a knowledgeable, competent, and proficient attorney specializing in criminal defense.

The eldest of three siblings, Ms. Easter was born and raised in the Bronx, New York in a family dedicated to law enforcement.  She knew from a young age that she wanted to be an attorney. Ms. Easter’s work in public interest law commenced with her internship at the Office of the Public Defender, Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida. Subsequently, she continued to explore her burgeoning zeal for social justice by interning with the Barry University School of Law Delinquency and Dependency Clinic, representing young teens in the Orlando juvenile justice system.

Upon passing the Florida State bar examination, Ms. Easter served as an Assistant Public Defender in the Public Defender’s Office. During her five year tenure, she represented hundreds of clients in traffic, misdemeanor and felony cases. She honed her litigation skills by participating as lead counsel and co-counsel in close to 30 jury trials.

Ms. Easter returned to her Bronx hometown where she now focuses her time, knowledge and experience in helping the people in her community at The Bronx Defenders, an organization dedicated to preserving the legal rights of indigent Bronxites through providing holistic defense. Her passionate pursuit of social justice extends beyond the courtroom walls.  She also volunteers her time in educating the community by speaking on panels, conducting "Know Your Rights" informational sessions for teens and adults, lobbying in Albany on key criminal justice reform bills, and participating in community events that seek to inform and help better the Bronx community. 

In 2017, she was nominated and selected as one of New York State's Top 40 Under 40 by the National Black Lawyers Association; an invitation only professional organization composed of outstanding black attorneys younger than 40.