Jamaican-Born Lawyer Becomes First Black Woman Elected as President of Broward County Bar Association

Jamaican-Born Lawyer Becomes First Black Woman Elected as President of Broward County Bar Association Alison Smith

Alison F. Smith, Esq., an attorney at Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Berman, has been elected president of the Broward County Bar Association (BCBA) in Florida. She will be the first woman of color to serve as the organization’s president in its nearly 100-year history.

Smith said she was “excited” about her new role and considers it a “privilege and an honor” to represent the BCBA, which was founded in 1925. She said she is taking the position as president with “utmost seriousness” and is “humbled” about the opportunity to lead the organization.

Alison Smith was sworn in as Broward County Bar Association President-elect on July 2, 2021. She will officially take on the role in 2022. A member of the BCBA, she has previously served as Chair of the Government Law Section, Co-Chair of the Bench and Bar Convention, and Secretary and Treasurer on the Executive Committee. She was also instrumental in the development of a BCBA program called “Ignite Your Passion” in partnership with Broward College. The program focuses on pairing minority students with experienced professionals who can offer them guidance, support, and encouragement.

According to Braulio Rosa, the BCBA Executive Director who has known Smith for nearly ten years, Alison Smith is “a smart, thoughtful and energetic leader” who understands that a Bar Association must manage a balance of business and service.

Mitch Burnstein, the Managing Director of Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman, said lawyers in Broward County will be well served by Alison Smith’s commitment and passion at the BCBA and those who work with her have seen her apply the same level of commitment and passion when serving her clients.

In her role as president, Smith will be in charge of an organization comprising almost 4,000 members, 19 practice sections, 19 committees, and three affiliate organizations, which include the Association of South Florida Mediators and Arbitrators, the Collaborative Family Law Professionals of South Florida, and the North Dade Bar Association.

Smith grew up in Jamaica and knew early on that she wanted to be a lawyer. Her father practiced criminal defense law, and her sister became a lawyer as well. Shortly after she moved to the United States, she became the valedictorian of her law class at Nova Southeastern University. She graduated magna cum laude from the Shepard Broad College of Law at the University. Before law school, she earned a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Legal Studies at Nova Southeastern University.

She became the first Black woman to be named partner at her Hollywood, Florida, law firm, which had been in business for a quarter of a century. As an attorney, she advises municipalities on labor issues, litigating when necessary. Smith has also influenced the legal community in her role as president of the Caribbean Bar Association of South Florida. She is on the board of directors for Legal Aid and is a member of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.

Her legal practice is focused on labor & employment, municipal, appellate, and administrative and regulatory matters.

Photo information: Broward County Bar Association, LinkedIn

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Stephanie Korney