Alison Smith, a partner at the law firm of Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman (WSHC+B), was named the 2023 Woman of the Year by the National Diversity Council. She will receive her award on March 15, 2023, at the annual South Florida Women in Leadership Symposium. Her legal practice focuses on labor and employment and municipal, administrative, and regulatory issues. She represents several cities in South Florida and both private and public entities in lawsuits brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII, the Florida Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and other labor and employment laws. Smith has also established programs in South Florida to inspire young people to achieve their goals. She has also received numerous awards for her support of the South Florida communities.
Smith was born in New York but returned to Jamaica with her parents when she was just one month old. Her father, Donald Smith, was an attorney who had a practice in Black River in Mandeville, Manchester, and she grew up there with her sisters. Following her graduation from Manchester High School in 1996, she migrated to the United States but regards herself as a Jamaican. She is proud of her heritage, she told the Jamaica Observer and considers herself an unofficial ambassador for Jamaica. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology with a minor in legal studies before Smith attending Shepard Broad College of Law at Nova Southeastern University, graduating magna cum laude
She was the first Black woman to become a partner at Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman and also made history when she became the first Black woman to serve as president of the Broward Bar Association in Florida since its founding in 1925.
Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman was founded in 1991 to meet the need in Florida’s legal sector for a boutique firm dedicated to a small number of integrated practice areas. In its 30 years of existence, the firm continues its history of success with focused practice groups, teamwork, and a strong commitment to its clients.
The National Diversity Council is the first non-profit organization to combine the private, public and non-profit sectors for discussions of the many dimensions and benefits of a multicultural environment. The national council currently comprises state and regional councils, the National Women’s Council, and the Healthcare Diversity Council.