Earlier this month, the Prince William County Bar Association’s (“PWCBA”) “Raising the Bar” committee received accolades from the American Bar Association in an article detailing local bar associations’ efforts to combat racial injustice across the country. This nationwide recognition for “Raising the Bar” – a committee which is meaningfully contributing to conversations about judicial inaccessibility and inequity – is thanks largely to the leadership of former PWCBA President Donna Dougherty, Esq. and members of the PWCBA who supported and advocated for the creation of this committee.
What is the “Raising the Bar” Committee?
In January 2021, Donna reached out to Felisha Hardy, Esq., a criminal lawyer and fellow PWCBA bar member, regarding hurtful and racist comments that had been exchanged on the PWCBA’s Listserv. Donna informed Felisha that she planned to create an Ad Hoc committee, which any members of the PWCBA who were interested in finding ways for the PWCBA to address issues of access to justice for minorities and women in the Prince William County legal community were invited to join.
Over the next few months, Donna and Felisha, along with members of the Ad Hoc committee, which included attorneys and Prince William County Judges, developed a proposed new permanent subcommittee committee to tackle these issues. Donna and Felisha presented to the PWCBA the culmination of the Ad Hoc committee’s work, which was a new committee called “Raising the Bar.” They planned for this committee to work with the local judiciary, law enforcement officers, and community leaders to eliminate bias, both through educational programs – like diversity-specific CLEs – and through open conversations and discussion groups. Then in September 2021, the PWCBA overwhelmingly passed a proposed constitutional amendment adopting “Raising the Bar” as a permanent committee of the Bar Association. In this vote, the PWCBA convincingly committed to addressing these issues throughout Prince William’s judicial system.
Committed to Judicial Accessibility and Equality
Donna is so proud of the creation of the “Raising the Bar” committee and knows that it can be used to establish confidence in the Prince William judicial system by advocating for impartial treatment, regardless of demographic or socioeconomic status.
“Our community is working hard to make justice a reality for everyone,” Donna said. “I’m proud that attorneys across the nation will look at our county as a model.”
Donna Dougherty and the entire Family Law Group are committed to equality in the judiciary system and ensuring that these injustices are addressed at every level. For fair and just representation, give Family Law Group a call at (703) 552-5072 today!