Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 23

" From their reaction, I could tell that I was possibly
one of the first educated and self-sufficient Black
women that many of them had interacted with, "
says Forde, now senior counsel and director of
global investigations at Otis Elevator Company.
Knowing this, it was important for Forde to have
a relationship with them that was more than just
a prosecutor to complainant. " In a lot of ways
I became their voice, giving them courage to
speak up for themselves. "
Forde found her time in government not only
rewarding but also necessary to combat the climate
of racial injustice that can occur when people of
color are not at the table. Many policy decisions
can ultimately target and negatively affect minority
communities, Forde says, and it is important that
people who look like her are in the room when
those decisions are made.

There are
a lot of women
who look like
us that are not
going to apply
because they
don't think they
will be selected.
TAMMY ALLISON
Darnell Porter

After her stint with the Domestic Violence and
Sex Offense Trial Section, Forde transferred to the
Felony Trial Unit, where, looking back at her first few interactions there,
she says she went in with a naïve outlook about what the job entailed.
" You're so excited to finally do jury trials but don't understand the magnitude of the job, " she says. She remembers being told that the cases are
the most basic felony prosecutions and that the stakes are low.

" Enter that space wanting to make a difference and leave it better than
you found it, " says Forde, who recently published Prosecuted Prosecutor:
A Memoir and Blueprint for Prosecutor-led Criminal Justice Reform.
Reform.

" I don't care if it is a misdemeanor case where exposure is no more than
180 days in jail. There is no such thing as a low-stakes criminal matter
because the impact on life and liberty cannot be quantified, " Forde says.

Tammy Allison, who spent 12 years at the U.S. Department of Justice
(DOJ) under the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations, says working
for the largest litigation organization in the world was a rewarding
opportunity. " No other organization compares, " says Allison.

Forde quickly learned that she had an obligation to speak up against
policies that were perpetuating systemic imbalance. Forde often came
across cases involving crimes with mandatory minimum sentences,
which often seemed too harsh when looking at the specific circumstances of the case. Additionally, many of the enforcement efforts were
focused on poor Black and Latino communities.
Most disturbing to Forde was the fact that Black people make up 46
percent of the D.C. population but 90 percent of the city's jail population,
which Forde believes exposes the existence of an affinity bias created
from policies enacted by those who likely have never even seen the jails
they send people to.
Forde cites two reasons why Black women are less visible in government,
the first of which stems from a lack of education about and access to
government careers. " Access is key, " says Forde. Federal agencies should
seek qualified candidates from schools with diverse populations as well
as put in the work needed to have a federal workforce that looks like the
people it is hired to serve, Forde says.

DEALING WITH INHERENT BIASES

Allison began her legal career in 2008 as a volunteer intern with DOJ's
Office of the Pardon Attorney (OPA), later becoming the youngest and
only the second African American attorney ever hired. From 2015 to
October 2017, Allison detailed as a federal criminal prosecutor and later
as civil special assistant U.S. attorney with the U.S. Attorney's Office for
the District of Columbia, after which she began working as a senior
employment law attorney at the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
On November 1, 2020, Allison opened her own firm, The Pardon
Attorney™️, the first Black-owned and third-ever private expert federal
executive clemency firm. There she prepares petitions for commutations
and pardons by focusing on ownership to combat the inherent biases
in the evaluation process.

Second, Forde acknowledges that while working for a government
agency can be quite the boost to one's career, " it's hard to persuade
young people of color who haven't made a lot of money to take
a position in government. "

At OPA, where she managed a yearly caseload of approximately 300
requests for executive clemency, Allison says she was blessed to have
an amazing mentor and friend, former U.S. Pardon Attorney Ronald L.
Rogers, whose " old-school constructive criticism " molded her into the
successful attorney and advocate that she is today. But while she worked
with amazing leaders and wonderful peers, Allison says there were still
moments when she dealt with imposter syndrome, a psychological
pattern in which an individual doubts his or her skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud.

Still, Forde encourages young women attorneys of color to consider
a career in government and to be authentic in whatever space they
occupy. While working as a prosecutor, Forde says she found a big part
of herself by being a voice for other people.

" To be a Black woman attorney at DOJ, there is a need to have a delicate
balancing act, " Allison says. " It's normal to receive feedback or a lot of
redline edits across your work, but as a Black woman, I started to doubt
if I belonged, " she says.

MARCH/APRIL 2021

*

WASHINGTON LAWYER 23



Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021

Digital Extras
From Our President
Calendar of Events
Practice Management
Toward Well-Being
Staying Put in Big Law feature
A Sisterhood of Latina Lawyers Sidebar
Increasing Diversity & Inclusion the the Legal Profession feature
Cultivate Mentorships sidebar
A Tribute to Judge June L. Green feature
Delicate Balance for Black Women Attorneys in Government Feature
Falling Short on Disability Inclusion feature
Elusive Justice in Violence Against Native Women feature
Worth Reading
On Further Review
The Learning Curve
Member Spotlight - Marcia Madsen
Member Spotlight - Simon Zinger
ABA Delegates Corner
Attorney Briefs
Speaking of Ethics
Disciplinary Summaries
The Pro Bono Effecy
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 1
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 2
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 3
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 5
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Toward Well-Being
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Staying Put in Big Law feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 11
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - A Sisterhood of Latina Lawyers Sidebar
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 13
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Increasing Diversity & Inclusion the the Legal Profession feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 15
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cultivate Mentorships sidebar
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 17
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - A Tribute to Judge June L. Green feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 19
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 20
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 21
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Delicate Balance for Black Women Attorneys in Government Feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 23
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 24
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 25
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Falling Short on Disability Inclusion feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 27
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 28
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 29
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Elusive Justice in Violence Against Native Women feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 31
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 32
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 34
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 35
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Member Spotlight - Marcia Madsen
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Member Spotlight - Simon Zinger
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 40
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 41
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - ABA Delegates Corner
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 45
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 47
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - The Pro Bono Effecy
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 49
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 50
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 51
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cover4
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