Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange Chosen as Pioneering Justice Award Honoree

The Honorable Vicki Miles-LaGrange, Chief U.S. District Judge, the Western District of Oklahoma, was selected to receive the Pioneering Justice Award at the Annual National Black Pre-Law Conference.
Judge Miles-LaGrange Holding Award With Aspiring Lawyers & Event Founder
Judge Miles-LaGrange Holding Award With Aspiring Lawyers & Event Founder
HOUSTON - Dec. 22, 2014 - PRLog -- The Honorable Vicki Miles-LaGrange, Chief U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Oklahoma, was recently honored with the Pioneering Justice Award at the 10th Annual National Black Pre-Law Conference and Law Fair’s 10 for 10 Awards Banquet & Aspiring Lawyers Pinning Ceremony at the Houston Marriott Westchase in Houston, Texas.  This conference is known as the nation’s premier information-sharing and networking event for aspiring Black lawyers and has helped empower thousands of African Americans from all over the country who are interested in following the challenging path of becoming a lawyer.

This year, Judge Miles-LaGrange was one of ten outstanding lawyers selected from throughout the United States to be honored in recognition of the ten years of the conference’s existence.   Judge Miles-LaGrange was chosen for this honor because she has been a pioneer in the legal field by earning the distinction as the first African American woman to be sworn in as a U.S. attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma and the first to become a U.S. District Judge and to rise to become the Chief U.S. District Judge.  Judge Miles-LaGrange she was also the first African American woman to be elected to the Senate in the state of Oklahoma.

Nearly 200 people attended this important awards banquet with the majority being future lawyers.  What made this event particularly special was that each honoree was strategically placed at their own tables apart from the other honorees, including Judge Miles-LaGrange, so that those aspiring to become lawyers would have the opportunity to meet and sit with a dynamic legal luminary and not just among themselves.

After receiving her honor, not only did Judge Miles-LaGrange inspire attendees with her personal story and words of encouragement, but she also presided over the highlight of the entire conference, the Aspiring Lawyers Pinning Ceremony.  During this occasion, she led all of the aspiring lawyers in reciting a powerful success pledge.  Shortly thereafter, they were all pinned with a bronze eagle pendant by current lawyers, who helped plant seeds of confidence, encouragement and high expectations.  Through their actions, they let them know that if they achieved their goals despite the obstacles, it can be done.

Other distinguished honorees included: Algernon "A.J." Cooper, Esq., Founder, National Conference of Black Mayors and the National Black Law Students Association, Harry E. Johnson, Sr., Esq., President & CEO, Friends of the Memorial Foundation, Inc., Christopher Chestnut, Esq., Principal & CEO, The Chestnut Firm, Sylvia James, Esq., Diversity Counsel, Baker Botts LLP, Dr. Clarence B. Jones, Esq., Former Personal Counsel and Draft Speech Writer to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Alvin O. Chambliss, Jr., Esq., Former Professor of Law and "The Last Original Civil Rights Lawyer”, Irene O. Joe, Esq., Clinical Teaching Fellow, UCLA School of Law, Dr. Walter L. Sutton, Associate General Counsel for Legal Administration and External Affairs, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.,  and Barbara R. Arnwine, Esq., President and Executive Director, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

This particular awards ceremony is one that will only take place once-in-the-life of the organization.  It was truly a memorable and life-changing event for many of the attendees who otherwise would not have had access to the "insider" information, resources and opportunities to network and find potential mentors that this event provided.   According to one of the attendees, Olivia Burkett, an undergraduate student at Kentucky State University, “The conference was more than amazing.  It was a blessing to us all!”

Evangeline M. Mitchell, Esq.
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