Who’s Your Lawyer? Areva Martin and Bonnie Berry-LaMon: High-Powered Attorneys Doing Well While Doing Good.

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Attorneys Martin and Berry-LaMon with Advisory Board Member Dr Arshya Vahabzadeh at Evening Under the Stars 2017

Attorneys Areva Martin and Bonnie Berry-LaMon lead super busy lives. Serving clients in the legal field while balancing family is already a challenge.  Yet, despite all the reasons one could say they don’t have time, both lawyers made the choice to add community service to their plates.

These two African-American Women (with the support of a huge team of experts and volunteers) are making a world of difference in the lives of families in Southern California. Last night, hundreds of community residents, business leaders, child advocates, politicians, and celebrities gathered to celebrate the journey.

Special Needs Network

Areva Martin is the founder of Special Needs Network. Berry-LaMon is Vice President, and also the Event Chair of Evening Under the Stars (known as the #EUS12Gala).  The organization held an awards gala last night raising nearly $300,000 over dinner, dancing, and drinks.  Grammy-winning Artist Macy Gray both performed and made a significant donation of $10,000 last night.  The California African-American Museum hosted the event.

Attorneys Martin and Berry-LaMon accepting a check from Singer Macy Gray at Evening Under the Stars 2017.

Areva Martin is an award-winning attorney, media personality, legal and social commentator, talk show host, and author.  Bonnie Berry-LaMon is the principal of B2L Entertainment Law Group which represents established and emerging talent in the television, film and music industries. Her firm has long-standing relationships with top executives, agents, and managers in the entertainment business.

Twelve years ago, Martin, founded Special Needs Network which offers support to children with various levels of autism, and the families that love them.  Autism is defined as a complex neurobehavioral condition that includes impairments in social interaction and developmental language and communication skills combined with rigid, repetitive behaviors.  

Berry-LaMon is Martin’s friend, Harvard Law School classmate, and her attorney as well.  The two joined forces to launch this advocacy and support group.  Ironically, both also have wonderful and special sons who are thriving despite their own challenges with Autism.

Per the website, Special Needs Network’s mission is: to raise public awareness of developmental disabilities and to impact public policy, while providing education and resources to families, children and adults. SNN serves as a link between under-served communities and mainstream developmental disability organizations and governmental institutions, which often fail to address issues specific to these communities. SNN firmly believes that dignity, hope and opportunity are the birthright of all children.

Clearly, their personal experience with a special needs child thrust them into this work.  Yet, one can say it was kismet that they are uniquely equipped with the legal background and expertise to lead the movement forward.

GCE spoke with the high-powered women during the event.  LaMon shared, “Because I am an attorney, obviously I can assist with the basics of contracts and negotiations.  However, a large facet of our work at SNN centers around developing capabilities within the families that we support.  We build competencies to help parents successfully raise their children, and also to advocate with government entities.  With or without a law degree, anyone can participate and make a difference.”

Martin spoke about the short-term vision for SNN.  “We plan to build a wing at the Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Center.  This wing, located in Inglewood will serve families who have had limited local access to support in the past.

Clearly, these two are well on their way towards breaking ground.

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