The Honorable Benita Y. Pearson

Judge Pearson was appointed to serve as United States District Judge for the Northern District of Ohio by President Barack Obama on December 27, 2010, making her the first African American female to serve as a United States District Judge in the State of Ohio. Prior to her appointment as District Judge, Judge Pearson served the Northern District of Ohio as a Magistrate Judge following her appointment on August 29, 2008.

Judge Pearson’s service as a judicial officer was preceded by an eight-year tenure as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, litigation in private practice, and service as a Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable John M. Manos.

As an Assistant United States Attorney, Judge Pearson distinguished herself while prosecuting several high-profile cases, including Unites States v. Emmanuel Onunwor (prosecution of former sitting mayor of City of East Cleveland, Ohio, 2004), United States v. Nate Gray (prosecution of several public officials, including Chief of Staff and Director of Building Services, City of Houston, 2005), United States v. Norman Gore (prosecution of former supervisor, City of Cleveland, Water Division, 2005), United States v. Terrence Gasper (prosecution of former Chief Financial Officer, Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, 2006), and United States v. Mark Lay (prosecution of an investment advisor whose fraudulent activities caused the loss of over $200 million dollars held in trust for injured Ohio workers, 2007).

Judge Pearson earned her Juris Doctorate at Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. At her alma mater, she has taught Animal Law and Advanced Brief Writing.

Prior to earning a law degree, Judge Pearson worked as an accountant and remains a certified public accountant for the state of Ohio.

Judge Pearson’s professional and community activities have included serving on the Boards of Trustees for the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association Foundation, and the Eliza Bryant Village. She is President and founding member of the newly formed Nathaniel R. Jones Inn of Court.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Judge Pearson graduated from Hathaway Brown School, Cum Laude, and Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. 



President's Message

Dear NSMBA Members, Partners, and Sponsors,

It is with great pleasure, pride and excitement that I begin my term as President of the Norman S. Minor Bar Association (NSMBA).

read more >

The History of the Norman S. Minor Bar Association

The Norman S. Minor Bar Association (NSMBA) was founded in 1980 as Cleveland's first full-fledged African American bar association. It grew out of the merger of four African American professional groups and is named in honor of one of Cleveland's foremost trial attorneys, African American attorney Norman Selby Minor.

read more >

Save The Date - 2017 Trailblazer Luncheon

Upcoming Events

OCTOBER 27, 2017
Annual Trailblazer Luncheon
NOVEMBER 4, 2017
Legal Aid Brief Advice Clinic - Law in the Library
NOVEMBER 15, 2017
General Body Meeting, Election and Happy Hour
View full calendar >

NSMBA General Body Meeting and 2018 - 2020 Elections