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Charisse R. Lillie

Philadelphia trailblazer Charisse R. Lillie will be honored with the A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award during the 29th Annual Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Minority Attorney Conference, “Advocacy & Fundamental Rights for Changing Times.”

The conference will be held Oct. 12-13 at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute CLE Conference Center in Philadelphia. Lillie will receive the award during the Oct. 13 luncheon.

The A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the accomplishments of a lawyer or judge who has demonstrated dedication to the legal profession and the minority community through civil, community or legal service.

Higginbotham, who died in 1998, was a civic leader, author, academic and federal appeals court judge who fought tirelessly against racial discrimination.

A business woman, attorney and lecturer on issues of diversity, corporate responsibility and corporate governance, Lillie became CEO of CRL Consulting LLC earlier this year after retiring from a 12-year run at Comcast Corporation, where she held several roles including senior vice president of human resources of Comcast Corporation, president of Comcast Foundation and vice president of community investment at Comcast Corporation.

Prior to joining Comcast, Lillie was a partner at Ballard Spahr LLP’s litigation department and served as its chair from 2002 to 2005.

Lillie also spent some time serving the public as a trial attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division; deputy director, Community Legal Services Inc.; professor at Villanova Law School; assistant U.S. attorney, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; general counsel, Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia and city solicitor, city of Philadelphia.

Lillie achieved many firsts throughout her diverse career.

She was the first African-American woman to serve as city solicitor of the city of Philadelphia, the first African American to chair Ballard Spahr’s litigation department, the first African-American woman to chair the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Board and the first African-American woman to chair the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Bar Association.

An active member of her community, Lillie has been involved in many civic commissions, including the Independent Charter Commission, the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Task Force, the MOVE Commission and the Philadelphia Election Reform Task Force.

She has held positions on several boards, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, the Philadelphia Board of Ethics, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, PECO, PNC Regional Advisory Board for Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey and the Independence Blue Cross Consumer and Business Affairs Advisory Board.

Equally active in the bar, Lillie is a member of the PBA Labor and Employment Law Section and is a regular sponsor of the association’s diversity events.

She previously served as president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Federal Bar Association, chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Board of Governors and its Racial Bias in the Justice System Committee, chair of the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession and a member of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary. She also served on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Committee on Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System.

Lillie has received many honors for her distinguished service to the public and her profession.

Originally from Houston, Texas, Lillie received a B.A., cum laude, from Wesleyan University in 1973. She received a J.D. from Temple University School of Law in 1976 and an L.LM. from Yale Law School in 1982. While in law school, she worked as a research assistant for Judge Higginbotham on his first book, In the Matter of Color, and was a law clerk to Judge Clifford Scott Green, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She was awarded honorary doctor of laws degrees from Seton Hill University and Cheyney University, as well as an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Peirce College.

The two-day PBA Minority Attorney Conference where Lillie will be honored will feature a keynote address by State Sen. Arthur L. Haywood III.

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system and facilitate access to legal services.

For information about the upcoming conference visit https://goo.gl/L7abbz

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