Annual Scholarship and Awards Banquet

A Brief History of the Banquet

Each year, hundreds turnout to support the important work of the The Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati (BLAC) Annual Scholarships & Award Banquet. Attendees attend to recommit to building relationships and embracing diversity, and recognize those making a difference in the legal profession, specifically with respect to issues impacting people of color. BLAC awards an individual or organization with our Distinguished Service Award to recognize their contributions and commitment to the Cincinnati community. 

In addition, BLAC awards the following scholarships to deserving law students:

    • Theodore M. Berry Scholarship, awarded to an African-American law student attending the University of Cincinnati in recognition of the former mayor’s political, civic and legal achievements.
    • William A. McClain Scholarship, awarded to an African-American Hamilton County resident attending any accredited law school who demonstrates leadership potential and dedication to the community. This scholarship is awarded jointly by the Cincinnati Bar Foundation and BLAC.
    • Jack Sherman, Jr. Scholarship, awarded to a worthy African-American law student attending the Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law. This scholarship is awarded jointly by BLAC and the Federal Bar Association, John W. Peck Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Chapter.
    • Shanda L. Spurlock Memorial Scholarship, awarded to an African-American law student attending the University of Cincinnati, NKU, or University of Dayton Law schools who demonstrates leadership potential and dedication to the community.  This scholarship is funded by Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP and administered by BLAC.
    • The Judge Nathaniel R. Jones Memorial Scholarship, awarded to an African American student attending either the University of Cincinnati College of Law or the Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law who has demonstrated a strong commitment to academic excellence and community service. The scholarship is awarded in conjunction with Procter & Gamble and the Cincinnati Bar Foundation.
Past Distinguished Service Award Recipients

Judge Jeffery P. Hopkins (2023)

Verna L. Williams, Esq. (2022)

Alphonse A. Gerhardstein, Esq. (2019)

The Honorable John A. West (2018)

Rodney J. Harris, Esq. (2017)

John J. Williams, Esq. (2016)

The Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati (2015)

Kenneth L. Parker, Esq. (2014)

The Honorable Cheryl D. Grant (2013)

YMCA of Greater Cincinnati (2012)

LaDonna Wallace Smith (2011)

A.B. Cruz III, Esq. (2010)

The Honorable Judge Fanon A. Rucker (2009)

David A. Singleton, Esq. (2008)

The Honorable Timothy S. Black (2007)

The Honorable William A. McClain (2006 and 1993)

Bernice L. Walker, Esq. (2005)

Ross Love, Jr. (2004)

The Honorable Jack Sherman, Jr. (2003 and 1993)

Ernest F. McAdams, Jr., Esq. (2002)

The Honorable Theodore M. Berry (2001 posthumously and 1993)

Founding Members of Association- BLAC 25th Anniversary (2000)

Calvin D. Buford, Esq. (1999)

Martiné R. Dunn, Esq. (1999)

Mina Jones Jefferson, Esq. (1999)

Eric H. Kearney, Esq. (1999)

Gail T. King, Esq. (1999)

Nathaniel Lampley Jr., Esq. (1999)

John C. Merchant, Esq. (1999)

William A. Sherman II, Esq. (1999)

David S. Washington Jr., Esq. (1999)

William D. Bell, Esq. (1998)

Jennifer Bishop, Esq. (1998)

The Honorable Ann Marie Tracey (1997)

The Honorable John Andrew West (1997)

James L. Johnson, Esq. (1996)

The Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones (1995 and 1993)

The Honorable S. Arthur Spiegel (1995)

Peter J. Randolph, Esq. (1994)

Harvey E. Wilbekin, Esq. (1994)

The Honorable Nadine L. Allen (1993)

The Honorable Deborah K. Gaines (1993)

The Honorable Leslie I. Gaines, Jr. (1993)

The Honorable Melba D. Marsh (1993)

Mayor Dwight Tillery (1993)

Councilperson Tyrone K. Yates (1993)