VIRGIL HAWKINS FLORIDA CHAPTER 

  NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION

2020-21 Officers

President


Kevin C. Allen Nash, Esq

Kevin C. Allen-Nash is originally from McKeesport, Pennsylvania, right outside of Pittsburgh.  Kevin graduated from Walsh University in Canton, Ohio, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science.

After earning his Bachelor’s degree Kevin worked for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Greater Western Reserve in Akron, Ohio, where he served as a Director until relocating to Florida in 2006. Kevin worked full-time in education and government while pursuing his Juris Doctor from Florida A&M University College of Law. As a law student, Kevin clerked for the Honorable Reginald Whitehead and was an active member of the Student American Bar Association and Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity.

After graduating from Florida A&M University College of Law, Kevin began his legal career in private practice before going on to the Office of the State Attorney for Florida’s 7th Judicial Circuit. He has experience in family law, family mediation, labor and employment law, criminal defense.

Kevin currently serves on the Florida Bar’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, a Fellowship of Christian Athletes board member in Volusia County, and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.  He is also a member of Macedonia Church of the Living God where he serves as a licensed minister.  Kevin is a devoted husband and father of two who strives to continually serve the community through ministry, fellowship, mentoring, and outreach efforts.


President-Elect


Michael T. Davis, Esq. 

Admitted: 2009, Florida; 2013, New York; 2013, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida; 2013, U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit.

Law School: Stetson University College of Law, J.D., cum laude; Senior Associate, Stetson Law Review; President, Student Bar Association; Moot Court Board; Black Law Student Association; Vice President, Christian Legal Society.

Undergraduate School: Stetson University; President, Student Bar Association; Vice President, Black Student Association; Congressional Black Caucus Intern, Hon. Corrine Brown.

Memberships: The Florida Bar Appellate Rules Committee; Dade County Bar Association (Bulletin Committee); Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (Member, Miami Chapter); Third District Historical Society. Board of Trustees, Stetson University.

Biography: Law Clerk, Honorable Virginia M. Hernandez Covington, United States District Court, Middle District of Florida; Assistant Public Defender, Appellate & Trial Divisions, Law Office of Public Defender Carlos J. Martinez. Florida Bar Board Certified in Appeals.

Born: Lakeland (Polk County), Florida


Vice President


Loreal Arscott, Esq.

LOREAL A.ARSCOTT, ESQ. In 2003, Loreal A. Arscott, received a Bachelor of Art in both Political Science and English, while minoring in Psychology from the Florida State University. In 2006, she received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law. In 2019, Ms. Arscott formed the L.A. Law Firm, P.A., where she specializes in civil litigation, municipal law, real estate, land use and zoning. Prior to launching her firm, Ms. Arscott worked in the municipal sector at the City of Miami Gardens, where she served as the Assistant City Attorney, and the Director of the Office of Civic Engagement. Ms. Arscott has also served as a litigation attorney in the Corporate Law Department of a major insurance company, primarily practicing insurance defense. Ms. Arscott initially dedicated her practice to Family and Dependency Law, serving for several years as Program Attorney for the Guardian Ad Litem Program, and as Division Chief for Florida’s Department of Children and Families’ Children’s Legal Services. Ms. Arscott has served as a pro bono Attorney and Attorney Ad Litem for Dependency cases since she left the area of practice in 2014. Ms. Arscott is dedicated to the enhancement of the legal profession and is actively engaged in bar work both on a statewide and local basis. She is currently the President of the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association, the first black bar association in Miami. Mrs. Arscott is also a Past President of the Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyer’s Association (GSCBWLA), having served two terms as President of the Association from 2015-2017. She is a member of the Florida Bar’s Judicial Nominating Procedures Committee; the Eleventh Judicial Circuit’s Grievance Committee; and the Professionalism Panel for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit. Ms. Arscott has served as the Student Liaison of the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter of the National Bar Association, on the Florida Bar’s Legal Needs of Children Committee, and has served in the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar, where she was the Co-Chair of the Children Issues Committee; Guest Editor for the 2015 Winter Commentator (the first African American Woman Editor of this publication); 2013-2014 Secretary of the Publications Committee; 2013-2014 Legislation Committee Member; and recipient of both the Outstanding Service Award and Raising Star Award for the 2012-2013 Bar Year. Ms. Arscott is also the Co-Chair of the Dade County Bar Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, a member of the Spellman-Hoeveler Inns of Court, and the Miami-Dade County Chapter of Florida Association of Women Lawyers. Ms. Arscott is a founding member of the Judicial Diversity Initiative (JDI), a coalition of all the Black Bar Associations in South Florida, dedicated to effectuating diversity on the bench throughout South Florida. Ms. Arscott also serves her community through her involvement in the Miami-Dade County Black Affairs Advisory Board, and as member of the Board of Directors for the following organizations: Legal Services of Greater Miami; Friends of the Miami-Dade County Public Library; PACE School for Girls, and KidSide, Inc. Ms. Arscott has authored several articles and editorials that were featured in the Miami Herald, the Daily Business Review, and the Miami Times. She is also a reoccurring columnist for Flava Magazine. In April 2014, Ms. Arscott was awarded the Rising Star Award at the National Summit of Black Women Lawyers. In October 2017, Ms. Arscott was selected as a Legacy Magazine 40 Under 40 Honoree. In February 2018, Ms. Arscott was honored by the Dade County Bar Association during their black history month celebration as a “Rising Star.” In February 2020, Ms. Arscott was recognized by the Miami-Dade County's Black Affairs Advisory Board as a "Woman of Distinction"


Treasurer


Karla T. Ellis, Esq. 

Karla D. Ellis is currently the managing attorney of the Law Office of Karla D. Ellis, PLLC.  She was formerly a Chief Attorney with the Office of Bill Drafting Services at the Florida Senate and a Career Staff Attorney and Senior Staff Attorney at the Florida Supreme Court.  Ms. Ellis also has a background in criminal appeals as a former Assistant Attorney General.  She’s been a member of The Florida Bar for 20 years and is a graduate of the Florida State University College of Law and Howard University.  Ms. Ellis is active member of the Appellate Section of The Florida Bar and received the 2014 Leaders in the Law Award by the Florida Association of Women Lawyers. Ms. Ellis has volunteered her time with various local community organizations, including the Second Judicial Circuit’s Guardian ad Litem Program, the African Caribbean Dance Theatre, and the Delta Kappa Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.


Secretary


Valeria Obi, Esq.

Valeria Obi currently serves as Staff Counsel for Midland Credit Management, Inc. where she is responsible for providing legal advice in connection with the business’s operations and supporting corporate compliance with laws and regulations governing debt collection and related activities. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from The Florida State University and her Juris Doctor from Stetson University College of Law. Outside of the office, Valeria is heavily involved in various community activities. She is the Immediate Past President of the George Edgecomb Bar Association and currently serves as the Program Chair for the Hillsborough County Bar Association. Valeria also serves as Co-Chair of the Pipeline Subcommittee for The Florida Bar’s Standing Committee on Diversity & Inclusion and serves on The Florida Bar’s Small Claims Rules Committee. She is a member of the Ferguson White American Inn of Court and is a member of the St. Petersburg Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated. Previously, Valeria was selected as a fellow for The Florida Bar’s William Reece Smith, Jr. Leadership Academy, Class VI and graduated in 2019. From 2017-2019 she served on the Board of Director’s for a non-profit organization called Solita’s House and also served as a Big Sister through Big Brother Big Sister of Tampa Bay.  She previously served as Co-Chair of the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Leadership Institute from 2017-2018, after graduating from the class in 2016.

Valeria has also received special recognition including the George Edgecomb Bar Association’s Outstanding Young Lawyer’s Award in 2015 and their President’s Award in 2017. She was also selected as a 2017 Notable Nole, a recognition program honoring young FSU alumni. She was also recognized by receiving the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s 2017 40 Under 40 Award.


Student Liaison


Roger Johnson, Esq. 

Roger Johnson is currently employed as Staff Counsel with GEICO General Insurance Company where he practices in the auto insurance defense department. Prior to employment at GEICO, he served as an Assistant Public Defender at the Ninth Judicial Circuit Office of the Public Defender where he served as an advocate for indigent men, women and children charged with various criminal offenses.  During his tenure at the Public Defender’s Office, he tried over 30 jury and bench trials and handled thousands of felony and misdemeanor criminal cases. He has been recognized by the National Bar Association as one of the Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40.

Roger is a native of Tampa, Florida. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies with a minor in Psychology from the University of Central Florida in 2010. He went on to attend Florida A&M University College of Law where he received a Juris Doctorate degree in 2013.

He is an active member of the Paul C. Perkins Bar Association, the Orlando, Florida affiliate of the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter National Bar Association, in which he currently serves on the Executive Board as Immediate Past President. He has previously served in the positions of President, President-Elect, Secretary, Scholarship Luncheon Chair and Judicial Reception Chair. He was a vital member of a leadership team in Perkins Bar that was responsible for a substantial increase in membership, activity, and visibility within the community. He is also an active member of the National Bar Association, Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter National Bar Association, and the Orange County Bar Association.


Immediate-Past President


Grasford W. Smith, Esq. 

Grasford Smith is a Partner in Akerman, LLP and focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation matters. He has experience representing a diverse range of clients, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, athletic leagues, technology companies, and a U.S. Congressman, in addition to a variety of small and medium-sized businesses. Grasford approaches dispute resolution as an opportunity to further his clients’ business goals. He develops comprehensive yet practical legal solutions by first understanding his clients’ business needs.

Grasford gained extensive dispute resolution experience at prestigious international law firms in New York and Washington, D.C. He handles local and national disputed matters concerning corporate governance, government enforcement actions, non-compete and confidentiality agreements, trade secrets, real estate matters, construction defects, franchises, products liability, intellectual property, eminent domain, and disciplinary/admission matters before the Florida Bar.

Affiliations

  • American Heart Association, Board of Directors and Leadership Development Committee Chair, 2019-Present
  • The City of West Palm Beach, Mayor’s Transition Team Committee, Economic Development & Jobs Policy Subcommittee, 2019
  • The Florida Bar 
    • 15th Circuit Grievance Committee 15E, Chair, 2019-2020
    • 15th Circuit Grievance Committee 15E, Vice Chair, 2019
    • 15th Circuit Grievance Committee 15E, Member, 2017-2020
    • Civil Procedure Rules Committee, Member, 2014-2017
    • Leadership Academy, Inaugural Graduate, 2013-2014
  • Palm Beach County Bar Association
    • Board of Directors, 2016-Present
    • Diversity Committee, Co-Chair, 2016-2017
    • Transaction Law Committee, Chair, 2013-2014
  • Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter National Bar Associatio
    • President, 2019-2020
    • President-Elect, 2018-2019
    • Vice President, 2017-2018
  • Florida Supreme Court, Member, Chief Justice’s Advisory Committee for the Pro Bono Service Awards, 2019-Present
  • Black Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County
    • President-Elect, 2019-Present
    • Board of Directors, 2014-Present
  • Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, President, Epsilon Lambda Boule, 2019-Present
  • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, National Associate General Counsel, 2018-Present
  • Palm Beach County School District, Sales Tax Oversight Committee Member, 2017-Present
  • NYU Law Alumni of Color Association
    • Advisory Board, 2017-Present
    • Board of Directors, 2006-2016
  • Economic Council of Palm Beach County Emerging Leaders, Member, 2016-Present
  • Anquan Boldin Foundation, Board Member & General Counsel, 2015-Present
  • National Bar Association
    • Minority Partners in Majority Law Firms Division, Vice-Chair, 2014-Present
    • Parliamentarian, 2014-2015
  • Urban League of Palm Beach County
    • General Counsel, 2013-Present
    • Board of Directors, 2013-Present
  • Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Board of Directors, 2011-Present
  • F. Malcolm Cunningham Sr. Bar Association, President, 2010-2011 


General Counsel

Kamilah Perry, Esq.


Kamilah Perry graduated with both her law and MBA degrees from Stetson University and Stetson University College of Law, with honors, in 2002.  She began her career as a business litigation associate with two top-rated Florida law firms, Carlton Fields, PA and Phelps Dunbar, LLP, in Tampa, Florida.  Her legal experience includes labor and employment, insurance coverage, insurance defense, commercial litigation and business torts, products liability, white collar criminal defense and public utility matters. In June 2014, she joined Jaimon H. Perry as a partner of the Perry Law Group, LLC, representing employers and employees in commercial litigation and employment matters out of the firm’s Tampa and Orlando offices.  In January 2018, Kamilah assumed the role of Executive Director and General Counsel for the 9th Circuit State Attorneys’ Office, under the Honorable Aramis D. Ayala. In her role, she serves as the office’s legal counsel and head administrator of office operations, including fiscal management, human resources, legal compliance, public records and information systems and administrative policy formulation. She is also a member of the faculty at Florida A&M College of Law as an adjunct professor, where she has taught classes in Law Office Management and Contract Drafting.

During her 16 years of law practice, Kamilah has become known for her proficiency in the area of employment law, and routinely provides complex legal training to employers in seminars, conferences and employment panel discussions.  She has authored several nationally published articles, including the “Employment Law Manual Articles / Florida Requirements, XpertHR”  in partnership with LexisNexis, among other academic writings.  For seven consecutive years from 2013-2019, Kamilah was named a “Super Lawyer” by Florida Super Lawyers Magazine for Employment and Labor Law, an honor given to no more than 5% of all attorneys in the State of Florida annually. 

Throughout her career, Kamilah has also distinguished herself as a leader, including serving as past president of the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter of the National Bar Association, past president of the George Edgecomb Bar Association, Chair of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee, Board Member of the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers, and past member of the Stetson University Lawyers Association Advisory Council.  She currently serves on the Florida Bar’s Judicial Nominating Procedures Committee to assist with achieving diversity and inclusion on the bench.  Kamilah has been listed among the “100 Most influential African-Americans in Tampa Bay,” was as a finalist for the Tampa Bay Business Journal “2008 Business Woman of the Year Award,” and a recipient of the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s “Up & Comers” honor in 2012.  In 2008, she received the "Volunteer Leadership of the Year Award” from the Tampa Bay Academy of Hope and the 2005 “President’s Award” from the George Edgecomb Bar Association, in recognition of her outstanding community work and civic engagement.  Passionate about community service and minority advancement, Kamilah says that one of her most rewarding experiences was being appointed by the Mayor to the Mayor’s African-American Advisory Council, and serving as Community Development Chairperson for that Council in Tampa.  She is also a founding member of the Tampa Bay Black MBA Association, and served on the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections African-American Advisory Board, and a host of other civil and legal organizations dedicated to the improvement of conditions in the community.  

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