Each spring, Charlotte School of Law recognizes both faculty and students for their outstanding achievements to and beyond the Charlotte Law community. Awards are distributed from the following categories: Experiential Education (includes clinical and pro bono awards); Advocacy Board Service (includes Moot Court, Trial Team, Negotiation and IP Law Competitions); Academic Journal Service; Student Activities; Leadership and Service; and Campuswide. On April 15, 2015 at the Charlotte School of Law Annual Awards Ceremony, Maritza Adonis was honored with the 2014-2015 Student Ambassador campuswide award for her leadership and service beyond the Charlotte Law community.
A few weeks later, on April 28, 2015, Adonis was appointed the National Deputy Chief of Staff of the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA.) Her initial role was to assist the National Chair and Vice Chair with special projects and provide board support as necessary. Within days of her appointment, Adonis created a “Health Check” system that allowed her to independently evaluate each officer of the 34 member national board. This Health Check consisted of: 1) providing an overview of each officer’s constitutional requirements as defined by the constitution and bylaws of NBLSA, ensuring that each officer understood those requirements and rectified any gaps or overlaps if any became present; 2) constructing a working timeline to accomplish tasks as outlined in the constitution; 3) addressing concerns or questions that each individual officer had; and 4) recording each officer’s individual goals with their positions and conveying the National Chair, National Vice Chair or Treasurer’s goals if applicable to the respective officer. By NBLSA’s national joint board retreat in Baltimore, MD on May 28-30, 2015, consisting of over 100 regional and national NBLSA leaders, Adonis had completed over 95% Health Checks and the Health Check system became the board’s official internal evaluation procedure.
On May 30, 2015, in her capacity as National Deputy Chief of Staff, Adonis co-presented a presentation entitled “On-Boarding, Fiduciary Duties: From National Student Leader to Business Owner” with Kendra Brown, Policy Director of the Congressional Black Caucus. This presentation assisted regional and national NBLSA board members with recognizing their fiduciary duties to the organization beyond their regional and national student leader titles.
On Sunday, July 19, 2015, at the joint National Bar Association and NBLSA board meeting in Los Angeles, California, Adonis was promoted to National Internal Chief of Staff, which expanded her role to: 1) primarily being responsible for advising the National Chair and Vice Chair on board management; 2) maintaining and enhancing internal communications; 3) preserving institutional legacy; and 4) increasing accountability to NBLSA members. Other duties included briefing the National Chair on internal and external matters, coordinating the activities of NBLSA with other organizations, and providing professional support to the 34 member national board. Adonis is currently gearing up for the successful implementation of NBLSA’s historic programming for Congressional Black Caucus conference week on September 17-20, 2015 in Washington. D.C., the 2nd Annual HBCU PreLaw Summit on September 24-27, 2015 in Atlanta, GA, and coordinating a plan of action for the Chair’s new internal board career development initiative.
Prior to her appointment as National Internal Chief of Staff of NBLSA, Adonis served as the 2014-2015 Southern Regional Pre-Law Director where she assisted with the coordination of the Inaugural HBCU PreLaw Summit in Durham, NC and served as the moderator of the law student panel. Adonis also served as a National Board member of the American Bar Association Law Student Division (ABA) and Co-Chair of the Resolutions and Advocacy committee, specifically representing the needs and concerns of law students across 17 law schools in NC, SC, VA, and WV. During her service as a national board member, Adonis initiated the first national public interest event at an annual conference, implemented the most comprehensive regional conference, and worked on initiatives such as the expansion of the Uniform Bar Exam to NY, removing the ban on students receiving both credit and pay for internships, and the 20 hour maximum work restriction. Additionally, independent of her role on the ABA national board, Adonis was the single student contributing member of the comments team for China’s State Council Legislative Affairs Office’s Draft Service Invention Regulations under the direction of the American Bar Association Section of International Law 2014-2015 Policy and Government Affairs Officer, Yee Wah Chin. At the end of her term, Adonis was awarded the ABA Law Student Division’s Silver Key award.
In addition to serving as a Charlotte Law student ambassador (not to be confused with the Charlotte Law Student Ambassadors program which Adonis is also a member of) in external leadership capacities, Adonis has served the greater Charlotte Community as a:
1) Housing Counselor for the Homelessness Prevention Project educating low-income residents of Mecklenburg County about their general rights as legal tenants;
2) Volunteer with the North Carolina Bar Association’s Wills for Heroes community event serving as a witness for Wills, Durable Powers of Attorney, and Health Care Powers of Attorney;
3) Volunteer with the Southeast Asian Coalition providing prospective naturalization candidates with an eligibility pre-screening, in-depth information about the process and interview, and personal assistance with completing and documenting the Application for Naturalization (N-400);
4) Certified Legal Intern and Advanced Clinic Student with the Community Economic Development Clinic under the supervision of Professor Rocky Cabagnot acting as general counsel to nonprofit corporations and small businesses drafting corporate formation documents and assisting with acquiring tax-exempt status, and serving as mentor to junior clinic students; and
5) Inaugural student member of the Compassion Legal Ministry at New Beginnings Christian Church (NBCC) in Matthews, NC where she has assisted with the planning and implementation of the annual Legal Resource Fair (which Charlotte Law Experiential Education department has been a consistent supporter of); annual Community Wills Clinic co-sponsored with Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont, Legal Aid, K&L Gates, LLP, and Duke Energy; “Know Your Rights” seminar in response to the recent policy brutality events, panel featuring one of Charlotte Law’s very own Professor Melissa J.Woods; and many more. Adonis was also honored with NBCC’s 2015 Excellence Award for her unrelenting contribution to the Compassion Legal Ministry.
Congrats to Maritza Adonis for her continued achievement and leadership beyond Charlotte School of Law as the 2015-2016 National Internal Chief of Staff of the National Black Law Student Association. Adonis currently serves as the Executive Chief of Staff of Charlotte Law Student Bar Association and the American Bar Association Law Student Division Liaison to the Section of International Law.