Posted in: Lawyers › None
Rosalyn Henderson-Myers is making a difference for her fellow women lawyers on a national level. The Spartanburg native, who also represents House District 31 in the S.C. General Assembly, recently received the National Bar Association (NBA) Division of the Year award for her work with the Women Lawyers Division.
She received her Juris Doctorate from Tulane University in New Orleans and is now back in her home town making a difference. Before returning to Spartanburg, Henderson-Myers practiced in Alabama, Louisiana, Florida and Pennsylvania. In Alabama, she sat on the bench and heard over 12,000 cases with topics ranging from contracts to juvenile law.
When she returned to Spartanburg, Henderson-Myers wanted to make a difference for women in the law. She rose through the NBA ranks by focusing her efforts on raising awareness and leadership opportunities for women within the organization.
Henderson-Myers recently took time out of her day to talk about her path to winning the award.
What does winning the National Bar Association (NBA) Division of the Year award mean to you?
Winning this award was the culmination of dreams realized on so many different levels. As the only attorney living in South Carolina on the [NBA] Board of Governors, I often wished my fellow South Carolina attorneys were there for support. While I was campaigning at a gathering of one of the regions, a former NBA President chuckled as he asked, "So how many people do you have here from South Carolina with you?” I turned to him and said, "Numbers don't matter; my skills and leadership abilities are what matter.” From that point on I continued cultivating relationships and working hard with whatever task I was given. I rose to the level of regional director, which included South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. Then as chair of the Health Law Section, I engineered substantive webinars and an annual summit which included several high profile speakers. Later, I rose through the ranks in the Women Lawyers Division focusing my efforts on raising awareness and leadership opportunities for women in the NBA. Being teased about being from South Carolina led to me leading the largest division of attorneys in the NBA (Women Lawyers Division), so winning the most prestigious award for a division was truly amazing and satisfying.
What is your goal for women in the future of law?
My goal is to continue on the board as a resource to continue raising the status of women attorneys in the bar. Leadership roles of women in the bar are still not where they should be.
In what part of your life or career did you realize you wanted to do more on the national level?
I am licensed and have practiced in five states—South Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama, Pennsylvania and Florida. I have worked with so many attorneys. I decided I wanted to do something on a national level with that background, and when I attended my first NBA national convention in Atlanta in 2007, it was so awe inspiring seeing 2,000 attorneys of color all in one spot over a period of one week. I felt so much energy and wanted to be a part of it, both to give and to grow.
Who has been the biggest influencer in your life?
This biggest influencers in my legal career were my law professors, lawyers and judges who had a major influence early on. Law professors would meet with my study group answering our questions and reading our essays to give us guidance. I clerked for a judge upon graduating from law school, and he and other judges in New Orleans were always full of helpful suggestions. In my life, my biggest influencers have been my parents who stressed hard work, dedication and excellence.
What’s next for you?
Next, I want to get more involved on a local and state level with fellow women attorneys here in South Carolina