The Vanzetti Hamilton Bar Association was founded in 1991 to commemorate one of our premiere attorneys in the field of law, Vanzetti Hamilton. Mr. Hamilton was committed to equalizing access, treatment and opportunity in the legal system while addressing the special needs of people of color, women and other disenfranchised groups in our society. Mr. Hamilton was instrumental in helping to desegregate the Willow Run School System. He served as chairman of the Ypsilanti Human Relations Commission and founded one of the first African American owned law firms in Washtenaw County in 1959.
The Vanzetti Hamilton Bar Association is an African American Bar Association in Washtenaw County comprised of lawyers dedicated to providing quality legal services to our clients, free legal seminars, phone consultations, mentoring for future lawyers and promoting equality and justice for all.
Erane Washington, President
Erane Washington is the principal and co-founder of the Law Firm of Erane C. Washington-Kendrick, PLLC. She has a general practice with concentrations in business, real estate, alternative dispute and criminal defense.
Erane is a respected and active member of the legal community of Washtenaw County and the State of Michigan. Among the many professional positions she has held are:
- Current Elected Commissioner of the State Bar of Michigan
- Past President of the Washtenaw County Bar Association (WCBA)
- Co-chair of the WCBA Judiciary Committee
- Co-chair of the WCBA Race, Gender and Bias Awareness Committee
- Treasurer of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan (Washtenaw Region)
- Member of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Board of Directors
- Past Member of the Michigan Association for Justice
- Past Member of the Black Women Lawyers
- Past Member of the Huron Valley Girl Scouts of America Board of Directors
- Past Member of the American Red Cross Board of Directors
- Previously Appointed by Governor Granholm (and confirmed by the Michigan State Senate) to serve on the State Board of Canvassers.
- Past Chairperson of the State Board of Canvassers
- Previously Appointed by Governor Granholm to the State Officers’ Compensation Commission for the State of Michigan
- Previously Elected to the State Bar of Michigan Representative Assembly—the policy making body for all lawyers in the State of Michigan
- Creator of a fund-raising tool used by the Washtenaw County Bar Association to raise funds for Legal Services of South Central Michigan which benefits indigent persons in need of civil legal services
- Approved facilitator, mediator, and case evaluation panelist
- Arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency (“FINRA”).
- Past Member of the Athena Advisory Panel
- First Vice-President of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club of Ann Arbor.
Through her vast experience, Erane Washington is skilled in a number of areas of the law, and a common thread runs through her entire career: serving the public, especially the indigent and less fortunate in this community.
She is driven by the basic values that support justice and equality to all. She is compassionate, wise, and experienced. She is committed to ensuring that each individual is treated with respect and dignity during the challenges of the court process. Her philosophy is designed to enhance the public confidence in, and respect for, our judicial system.
Kelechi Nnodim, Vice President
Attorney Kelechi N. Nnodim is the founder and manager of the Law Office of Kelechi Nnodim PLLC. Ms. Nnodim is a graduate of Michigan State University and Michigan State University College of Law, where she contributed regularly to the Journal of Business and Securities Law.
Ms. Nnodim is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and also licensed to practice in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Before starting her practice, Ms. Nnodim served as an intern at the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office and the Washtenaw County Office of Public Defender. She also worked as a judicial intern to the Honorable Stephen J. Murphy at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. In addition to those legal experiences, Ms. Nnodim gained business expertise working with corporations and non-profit organizations.
Ms. Nnodim handles legal issues related to business, estate planning, immigration, real estate, criminal, and civil law. In addition, she mediates civil and domestic relations matters involving division of property, child custody and parenting time.
Ms. Nnodim currently resides in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area with her family.
Robyn McCoy, Secretary
Ms. McCoy was born and raised in the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Area. She graduated at the top of her class from Father Gabriel Richard High School in 1993, graduated with Honors in Anthropology from the University of Chicago in 1996 and obtained her J. D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 2000. Robyn served as a Congressional Page for the US House of Representatives under the Honorable William D. Ford.
While attending the University of Chicago, Ms. McCoy Co-founded an Academic Support Network for Black Women called Sistafriends and she was the Umoja (Cultural Chair) for the Organization of Black Students. Ms. McCoy studied in France in 1995 and interned for the US Senate under the Honorable Carol Moseley Braun. She tutored elementary students in the Chicago Public School System and was mentored by First Lady Michelle Obama during her senior year at the University of Chicago.
Ms. McCoy was the Political Action Chair for the Native American and the Black Law Students Alliance (BLSA), handling community, civic and political meetings, debates and protests in support of Affirmative action. She also tutored elementary school students at Patengill elementary school and participated in an externship in South Africa, where she worked with former ANC activist, Willie Hofmeyr. She was the recipient of the University of Michigan’s Black Law Student Alliance’s (BLSA) 1999 Distinguished Service Award.
Ms. McCoy is admitted to practice law in the State of Michigan and the Eastern District of Michigan. Ms. McCoy has been a licensed Attorney for fourteen years. During that period, she has worked with the Legal Aid Defender’s Association and she currently works with the Michigan Children’s Law Center and is a Partner with McCoy & Associates, PLLC.
Ms. McCoy is a member of the Board of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, the Black Women Lawyers of Michigan, the Wolverine Bar Association, the Wayne County Criminal Defense Bar, the National Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Washtenaw County Bar Association. She is the Past President of the Vanzetti Hamilton Bar Association (the African American Bar Association for Washtenaw County) and served as a member of the Board for the Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Chapter of the Black Chamber of Commerce.
Ms. McCoy has planned, facilitated and organized presentations on What To Do When Stopped by the Police and the Expungement and Federal Pardon Process across the state.
Rita White, Treasurer
Rita White, who owns and manages the Law Office of Rita O White, PLLC, is a metro Detroit area attorney with a focus on criminal defense, family and appellate law.
In practice for nearly 15 years, she has litigated hundreds of criminal & civil cases involving murders, child welfare, juvenile, divorce, robberies, drug trafficking, child support and financial crimes.
Prior to the launch of her own practice, she served as a Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor for over 9 years.
White graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in bio psychology.
Rita White was also a high ranking member of the 1998 National Championship U of M Track & Field team where she specialized in sprints and triple jump.
A graduate of the Wayne State University Law School, White is a member of several professional organizations including the Vanzetti Hamilton Bar Association, Washtenaw County Bar Association, Federal Bar Association-Eastern District of Michigan, Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, and the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association.
Toi Dennis, Member at Large
Toi Dennis is the founder and managing partner of Law and Mediation Offices of Toi Dennis, PLLC. She is a graduate of Wayne State University Law School and has Masters of Science in Alternate Dispute Resolution and Human Resources (all but thesis) from Wayne State University and Central Michigan University, respectively. Her firm focuses on a number of practice areas including labor and employment, worker's compensation, divorce, wills and estates, probate, traffic misdemeanors and social security. She also offers mediation services in general civil, domestic relations, elder law, and truancy. The geographic area of her practice is mainly comprised of Wayne and Washtenaw counties and surrounding areas, but she will travel to serve your legal needs.
Currently, Toi Dennis is a member of the State Bar of Michigan's Labor and Employment, Solo and Small firm and Young Lawyers sections; Vanzetti Hamilton Bar Association; Wayne County Probate Bar Association; and Women Lawyers Association of Michigan. While in Law school, Toi interned at the Detroit office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and was a Summer Associate at Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, PLC in Detroit, Michigan. Toi was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, but currently resides in the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor area with her family. She is a graduate of Cass Technical High School, a former UAW/Ford worker and a member of UAW Local 845 Retirees.