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Desha Jackson Honored As Young Lawyer of the Year

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Desha Lang Jackson, a Lakewood resident and assistant corporation counsel for the City of Newark, was named Young Lawyer of the Year by the New Jersey State Bar Association’s (NJSBA) Young Lawyers Division (YLD) at the organization’s recent annual meeting in Atlantic City. The award is presented to a young lawyer whose personal and professional accomplishments merit special recognition, and who has contributed to and excelled in service to the community, service to the bar and professional achievement.

Jackson was employed as Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor from 1997 to 2000 and is the first African American woman to hold that position in the 147-year history of Ocean County. She is currently chair of the NJSBA Task Force on Diversity and in that role, she follows a specific mission mandated by the General Council of the NJSBA, county and specialty bars to enhance diversity in the state bar for people who have been underrepresented. “That means making it more open to women, minorities, government lawyers, corporate lawyers, and all practitioners regardless of their sexual orientation or physical challenges,” Jackson says.

A member of the YLD executive committee, Jackson served as secretary from 1999 to 2000. She is also chair of the YLD’s professionalism committee and a member of the NJSBA Public Sector and Government Lawyers Committee. Jackson served on the association’s centennial committee in 1998 and as executive committee parliamentarian for the 2000-2001 General Council. In addition, she is a member of the Tolerance Subcommittee of the New Jersey State Bar Foundation, and a member of the Association of Black Women Lawyers where she served as vice-president in 2001.

Jackson has participated in panel discussions for the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law; The Middlesex County Bar Association; the NJSBA Task Force on Diversity; and New Jersey, the U.S. Census and Diversity’s Challenge to Higher Education. She has served as chair of the October 1998 Affirmative Action, April 2000 Pathway to the Bench, and May 2000 YLD Diversity panel discussions. In October 2000, Jackson served as co-chair of the Association of Black Women Lawyers 25th anniversary celebration. Most recently, she served as co-chair of the YLD Diversity Task Force panel at the ABA mid-year meeting and on the Women in the Profession panel to discuss recruiting and retention of women in government sector employment.

A dynamic participant in activities that support community, Jackson is a D.A.R.E. Scholarship Reader and chaperone for D.A.R.E. trips to minor league baseball games in Trenton. She also reads to students at Toms River and Lakewood elementary schools, and at the Brotherhood Essay Contest for Lakewood students. Jackson is also a frequent guest speaker at churches and conventions for youth. She participated in workshops at The Law and You Youth Conference, spoke to students at the Helping Hands Homework Club, and was a panelist for Making a Difference in Our Commmunity at the Educational Opportunity Fund’s 30th Anniversary.

A graduate of Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, Jackson received her law degree from Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Young Lawyers Division of the NJSBA organizes and promotes activities, including continuing legal education seminars that are of assistance to new lawyers in the practice of law, and encourages pro bono and community service involvement by all new lawyers.

The New Jersey State Bar Association, incorporated in 1899, is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public, to reforming and improving the legal system and to aiding in the administration of justice.