Lisa Y. Settles, Esq., whose long and impressive legal career includes working as a Law Clerk and Legislative Assistant for the late Elijah E. Cummings when he served as Speaker Pro Tem of the Maryland General Assembly, was recently installed as the 105th president of the Baltimore County Bar Association (BCBA).
The gavel of the BCBA was recently handed over to Settles who became the third African American in its history. As president, Settles will lead the 1700-member organization comprised of Baltimore County judges, attorneys, and other legal professionals for the 2023-2024 term. Settles was elected to the position on June 15, 2023 after serving on the BCBA’s Executive Council in every leadership capacity for a consecutive 10-year period.
“The Baltimore County Bar Association is unique in that it is one of only two bar associations in the Nation that has a ten-year trek to the presidency,” said Settles. “I started this journey a while ago. After joining the bar association, I became very active on several committees.”
The mission of BCBA is to serve as a leader in advancing excellence, ethical conduct, professionalism, and public responsibility in the legal profession while improving the efficiency, fairness, and accessibility of the justice system for all citizens.
“The benefit of having such a long tenure to the presidency, is that you are able to learn every aspect of the BCBA,” said Settles. “When you step into the role of president, you have a very good idea of what to expect.”
The earliest records of the Baltimore County Bar Association, located in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County on Bosley Avenue in Towson, include typed minutes of its first meeting held on May 21, 1920.
“So often organizations spend a lot of time crafting a vision statement,” said Settles. “However, many don’t follow through. I want to make sure that we’re following through on what we said we were going to do and be very intentional in our actions.”
Settles, the second African American woman to lead BCBA, succeeds John “Jack” Turnbull III who served from 2022-2023.
“Judge Vicki Ballou-Watts who serves on the Circuit Court for Baltimore County was the first African American woman to serve in the capacity of president of BCBA,” said Settles. “I take great pride in following in the steps of my mentor, who served during the 2015-2016 term. The person to whom I will pass the baton to in 2024 is Sondra M. Douglas, who is also an African American woman.”
The BCBA is comprised of more than 30 committees, and hosts a variety of events throughout the year including continuing legal education programs, and its signature black-tie event “The Prom.” According to Settles, the BCBA’s incoming president is given the opportunity to designate a partner charity each year. For her term, she selected the American Cancer Society (ACS).
“Cancer knows no boundaries,” said Settles. “As an 11-year survivor, I know all too well the challenges this disease can bring. I also know first-hand how helpful ACS can be to those battling the disease as well as their family members, caregivers, and other supporters.”
The Washington native received her bachelor of science degree in Mass Communication with a concentration in Broadcast Journalism from Towson (State) University. She later attended the University of Baltimore School of Law and the University of Baltimore School of Liberal Arts where she earned a dual Juris Doctor/Masters in Public Administration.
Settles has worked as a Law Clerk/Legislative Assistant at Cummings & Dashiell, P.A. and as an Assistant Federal Court Monitor in Baltimore City. Her career also includes serving as Coordinator of Compliance with Baltimore County Public Schools, and working in private practice at Pessin Katz Law, P.A., and more recently at Jackson Lewis, P.C.
This past March, Settles celebrated her 36th year as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She is in the second year of her second term as First Vice President of the Sorority’s Baltimore County Alumnae Chapter. Settles is also an active member of the Patapsco River (MD) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated.
She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including three-time recognition as one of Maryland Daily Record’s Top 100 Women, resulting in her induction into the Circle of Excellence earlier this year.
“As president of BCBA, I will serve as the organization’s ambassador for the year,” said Settles. “I’m very excited and humbled to serve.”
For more information about BCBA, visit https://bcba.org/.