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).

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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.

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2017 Joint Minority Bar Association Annual Holiday Party

NSMBA Newly Elected Officers - 2018 - 2020

The results are in!

NSMBA elected the following to the Executive Board for the 2018 - 2020 term.

President - Valissa Turner Howard
First Vice President - Brandon D. Cox
Second Vice President - Lon'Cherie' Billingsley
Treasurer - Lola Garcia Prignitz
Membership Secretary - Ludgy LaRochelle
Recorder - Donna Marjean Davis Reddix

Thanks to Karrie Howard for serving the Bar Association as Recorder for the last two years. Your wonderful ideas and humor will truly be missed!

Also, special thanks to our Community Partner of the Year - Tucker Ellis - for hosting our General Body Meeting and Elections!

If you have any ideas or would like to lead an initiative please reach out to someone on the Executive board! We are looking forward to an exciting and productive two years!