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News » 2020 » August » Announcing WAAL's 2020 Award Recipients

Announcing WAAL's 2020 Award Recipients

WISCONSIN ASSOCIATION OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN LAWYERS

2020 AWARD RECIPIENTS

PDF VERSION HERE

T.R. WILLIAMS

2020 WAAL Attorney of The Year

Sharp. Dependable. Innovative. These were just a few of the words used to describe WAAL's 2020 Attorney of the Year, T.R. Williams. A graduate of Vassar College and University of Wisconsin Law School, Williams has artfully blended her backgrounds in legal advocacy, policy, community engagement, and public affairs to ultimately become the current Deputy Outreach Director in the Office of Governor Tony Evers. As the Deputy Outreach Director, Williams has noticeably played an integral role in the diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts of the Gov. Tony Evers' team. Prior to this position, Williams held positions with the Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association, and Milwaukee Public Schools. Williams also practiced family law at the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee, Inc., criminal defense as the Assistant State Public Defender in the Milwaukee Trial Office, and combined both of these experiences to serve as a Spanish bilingual family law and criminal defense attorney at Centro Legal in Milwaukee.

Beyond her professional work, Williams has actively been involved with several community organizations, including WAAL, and has worked to bridge the gap between students and professionals. As a member of WAAL's community outreach committee, Williams has not only helped plan key events within the community, but has physically been present for events ranging from moderating NAACP panels to passing out Halloween costumes for toddlers at the YWCA Madison.

Williams has also spent considerable time working with the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) chapter at her alma mater, University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School. BLSA students regularly gush about Williams informal networking mixers, where she opens her home to host current students, alum, and others within the greater Madison African-American community.

Williams is known for being a connector and selflessly sharing information and passing on opportunities whenever she can. She exemplifies WAAL's mission, and is a stellar example of what it means to be an Attorney of the Year.

BRITTANI M. MILLER

2020 VelanDale Scholarship Award

Brittani M. Miller, a rising third year law student at University of Wisconsin Law School, hails from Greensboro, North Carolina. Miller is a graduate of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), where she double majored in psychology and history. After graduating from UNC, she taught cheerleading and gymnastics in her hometown before enlisting in the United

States Air Force in 2012. Miller began her Air Force career as an air traffic control apprentice where, while stationed in South Carolina, had the pleasure of working with fighter jets and various

other military aircraft. Roughly halfway through her enlistment, she joined the Air Force JAG Corps as a paralegal, working in the general practice legal office. Since entering law school, Miller has been a leader amongst her peers. Miller served as the UW Law School Black Law Students Association (BLSA) President from 2019-2020, and has held law clerk positions at Alliant Energy, and Hurley Burisch in Madison, WI. She is currently a summer associate at Michael Best & Friedrich LLP.

LILIANA ANDERSON

2020 VelanDale Scholarship Award

Liliana Anderson is a rising 2L at Marquette University Law School with the hopes of becoming a Civil Rights attorney in Milwaukee post-graduation. As a Wisconsin-native, at a young age, she believed that it was her responsibility to advocate for those who could not advocate for themselves. In addition to being a law student, she is own-operator of one of, if not the only, black-owned process serving companies in Milwaukee and the proud mother of four children. Anderson has strived for success despite the odds being stacked against her. As a current student at Marquette University Law School, Anderson has not only faired exceptionally academically but has been influential in the community through her pro bono service. Volunteering with Legal Action in their U-Visa clinic as well as with St. Rose Parish, Anderson has shown that she has a passion for assisting those who otherwise may not have been afforded representation or have been historically discounted. Recently, Anderson was awarded the Ralph J. Hurias Law School Citizen Award, this prestigious award is offered to one Marquette Law Student per year who contributed to the spirit of the Law School community by being a leader, involved in the broader community, and has demonstrated a willingness to assist others. Serving as the current President of Marquette University Law School's Black Law Student Association and President of the Association for Law Students with Families, Anderson hopes to have the opportunity to encourage others to overcome adversity and pursue a legal career no matter the obstacles in their path.

GABRIELLE TIELMAN-FENELUS

2020 Hon. Charles N. Clevert, Jr. Scholarship Award

Gabrielle Tielman-Fenelus graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor's in English and certificates in Criminal Justice and African-American Studies. She recently completed her second year at the University of Wisconsin Law School where she currently serves as the President of the Black Law Students Association and the Federal Bar Association. Gabrielle is a Washington, DC native and has extensive internship experience with the federal government. After graduation, she hopes to do her part to create a more equitable criminal justice system with a particular emphasis on aiding communities of color and low-income individuals.

MASON HIGGINS

2020 Hon. Maxine A. White Book Scholarship Award

Mason grew up in the Greater Madison Area and is thrilled to be studying at the University of Wisconsin Law School. After graduating from Southern Illinois University with degrees in music, Spanish, and criminology and criminal justice, Mason returned to Madison where he lives with his rescue mutt, Willa. Now, a rising 2L, Mason is the secretary-elect of the UW Black Law Students Association and the 2L vice president of membership-elect of the UW Mock Trial team. In the fall, Mason will be joining UW Law's Criminal Appeals Clinic for the 2020-2021 academic year. After graduating, Mason hopes to apply his legal education and training towards promoting opportunity, equality, and agency in underserved communities across Wisconsin. Mason is interested in litigation, debtor-side bankruptcy, defense work, and civil rights law. Mason is a lieutenant in the Wisconsin Army National Guard and is currently serving on the state's COVID-19 Response mission. Mason is passionate about criminal justice reform, educational opportunity, government accessibility, and financial literacy. In his free time, Mason likes to play guitar, brew beer, build furniture, and dream about the future.

Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers
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