The membership of the Lansing Black Lawyers Association (LBLA) has voted to change the association's name to the Davis-Dunnings Bar Association, effective Feb. 1, 2012.
The name change is part of a larger plan to rebrand the organization that formed 31 years ago to support African American attorneys through networking and professional development opportunities. The Association's mission includes addressing the special interests of all practicing and prospective minority legal professionals, as well as underserved minority communities in the greater Lansing area.
"This new name will give us the opportunity to honor two great African American legal professionals—the late Judge John Davis and the late Stuart J. Dunnings Jr.," LBLA President Janene McIntyre said. "Both men had strong ties with the greater Lansing community and they left a legacy that reflects the association's core values of advancing the causes of equal rights, equal opportunity, and equal treatment for all individuals before the law."
John W. Davis was a graduate of Michigan State University and the University of Michigan Law School. He was a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice from 1969 to 1972. He then went into private practice until 1985—litigating cases in seven states, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th and 6th Circuits and the United States Supreme Court. In 1985, he was elected to serve on the 54-A District Court bench. Judge Davis died in February of 1995.
Stuart J. Dunnings Jr. received his undergraduate degree from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and his Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan in 1950. He moved to Lansing after law school and established the city's first African American law firm. He was also Lansing's first African American attorney. Dunnings had a distinguished career and was well-respected in the profession. Mr. Dunnings died in March of 2010.
The DDBA is considered a special purpose bar by the State Bar of Michigan. More information about the association will be available soon at www.davis-dunningslaw.com.