Interview and article prepared for the Philadelphia Business Journal, as filed last week, without edits, to run in last Friday’s edition. American law firms have not always had black female attorneys. Some don’t have any today.Nichole L. Williams, an associate in the Haddonfield, N.J. office of Archer & Greiner, is one of particular note and promise.
Last month, Williams, of Blue Bell, was selected for membership in the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, a prestigious professional organization for women of color.
“The organization has an incredble reputation,” said Williams, 29. “I wanted to be a part of that.”
The Coalition formed in 1971 in New York City and has rapidly expanded beyond its now symbolic name. Today, the group numbers some 7,000 members in 24 states and Washington, D.C.
With her membership in the organization’s Pennsylvania chapter came a leadership role, as Williams took on co-chair responsibilities of the public relations committee. She is charged with promoting the group’s signature event, the Madame C.J. Walker Awards luncheon and economic development seminar to be held on March 1. Little more than two weeks later, in her capacity as board member of UrbanPromise, a nonprofit that offers activities for youth in Camden, N.J., she is hosting a fundraising bowling event with Andre Iguodala from the Philadelphia 76ers at Lucky Strike Lanes at 13th and Chestnut Streets on March 18.
Oh, and she is a lawyer, too, one with a goal in mind.
“In this role as a black female attorney, I take it as my reponsibility to speak for those who don’t have a voice themselves,” she said. “To serve as a role model.”
She concentrates her practice in corporate law and joined her firm’s sports and entertainment practice group in August. There, too, she is representing underrepresented groups, as the only female and the only associate member. She doesn’t seem worried. Williams will continue her drive to service and find strength in an organization full of successful people who had plenty of reasons not to be.
“As a young, black, female attorney, I wanted to surround myself with women who were doing incredible things” Williams said. “I’ve done it.”