Olanike Adebayo, a native of Chicago who graduated from Miami Law in 1997, is the new president of the Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association, an organization in Miami that she has served for five years.
Adebayo began her legal career as an assistant state attorney in Florida's 11th Judicial Circuit, where she successfully prosecuted and tried a number of felonies and misdemeanors, including juvenile and domestic violence cases. After eight years in the State Attorney's office, she left to become a legal advisor to the Miami-Dade Police Department. Now, Adebayo is back in the Office of the State Attorney, working for Katherine Fernandez Rundle.
In addition, Adebayo is a former member of the Executive Board of Legal Services of Greater Miami, and mentors troubled and at-risk youth through programs such as Women of Tomorrow and Lillie C. Evans Elementary School. She serves as a judge for the Teen Court program and is participates in the Florida Breast Health Initiative, where she helps uninsured women receive free mammograms.
"Even though I grew up in Chicago, I have been in South Florida since 1994," Adebayo said in her President's Message. "I now consider South Florida my home and my community, one that is very diverse and in need of assistance from all civic organizations. We, as the legal community, especially, must work together to enhance our entire community."
For more than 24 years, the Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association has been dedicated to community service and the professional development of its members. The association – essentially a network of attorneys – has placed strong emphasis on community service through seminars, free legal clinics and programs that educate and empower young people.
In 2005, the association voted to rename itself in honor of Cherry, a community activist who was the first black female attorney to practice in Dade County and the first black female legislator in Florida.