Demetrius D. Shelton (center) is sworn in as the 68th President of the National Bar Association on August 12, 2010, by Judge Horace Wheatley (right), as his mother, Virginia Gulley Shelton, looks on. (Photo by Darryle A. Carter)
On Thursday, August 12, during the concluding ceremonies of the National Bar Association's (NBA) 85th Annual Convention, California attorney Demetrius D. Shelton was sworn in as the organization's 68th President.
Shelton currently serves as an Administrative Hearing Officer for the City of Oakland, California. He is also the principal attorney for the Shelton Law Offices based in Oakland.
Prior to assuming the role as the organization's president, Shelton served as a member of the National Bar Association's Board of Governors for more than twelve years. He has spearheaded several major initiatives including the effort to safeguard the vote during the historic 2008 Presidential Election; calling for a thorough investigation into Hurricane Katrina and other disaster relief efforts; and, most recently, leading the NBA's Haitian Relief Task Force.
Shelton is a former president of both the Charles Houston Bar Association of Oakland and the California Association of Black Lawyers. He is also a former Vice President of the California State Bar Association, the largest state bar association in the nation.
At his inauguration during the NBA's annual awards gala, Shelton stressed the need to "expand the pipeline into the legal field" for minorities and the necessity to diversify the legal profession through increased opportunities.
NBA President Shelton also reiterated the association's relevance and stated, "We will build up the pool of leaders, future Supreme Court nominees and future members of the NBA who will help us to maintain our rightful place as the conscious of the nation."
The National Bar Association's annual convention in New Orleans, held from August 9 to August 13, attracted near record attendance including the nation's top lawyers, judges and legal scholars. Noteworthy activities included panel discussions on the impact such disasters as Hurricane Katrina and the BP Oil Spill have had on the Gulf Coast Region; high profile speakers such as Donna Brazile, Soledad O'Brien (both from CNN) and noted law professor Anita Hill; and the NBA's development of a database that will list African American attorneys and firms that specialize in health and environmental issues.
Founded in 1925, the National Bar Association is the nation's oldest and largest national network of predominately African American attorneys and judges. It represents approximately 44,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students and has over 80 affiliate chapters throughout the United States and around the world. The organization seeks to advance the science of jurisprudence, preserve the independence of the judiciary and to uphold the honor and integrity of the legal profession. For additional information about the National Bar Association, visit www.nationalbar.org.