Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 44

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
Aria Branch: Supporting
Diversity in Elected Office
By Jeremy Conrad
W
hen Aria Branch de -
cided to attend Harvard
Law School after completing
a dual major
in political science and African
American studies at Duke University,
she didn't have a specific career
path in mind. " At the time I didn't
know there was anything remotely
like what I do now, " Branch says.
" The field of political law, I wasn't
familiar with it, but looking back,
it's exactly what I wanted to do
in college. "
But there was one thing she knew for sure even
back when she was still at Duke. A member of
the school's Baldwin Scholars women's leadership
program, Branch wanted to be a voice for
female empowerment and an activist for
thought and action.
Nine years after earning her JD, Branch has
made partner at Perkins Coie LLP, where she
counsels clients on campaign finance and
ethics issues. Her work on voting rights and
redistricting cases has also allowed her to meet
some of the goals she set for herself, including
helping more Black women get elected to
federal office. Branch represents IVYPAC, a
political action committee founded in 2018
by fellow Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) sorority
members. When the group reached out to
Branch during its search for compliance
counsel, Branch jumped at the opportunity
to assist her sorority sisters.
" It's more than what it sounds like, " says Branch,
a member of AKA's Iota Mu chapter at Duke.
" When you think about a sorority, you think it
44 WASHINGTON LAWYER * JULY/AUGUST 2021
ends when college ends, and it's
really not that at all. It's a lifelong
sisterhood, a lifelong network, a
commitment to service and scholarship,
and so it's really a great
network to be able to tap into. "
Branch says fraternities and sororities
have an important role in the
Black community. Many Black professionals
hold memberships in
groups of this kind for their effective,
well-developed networks
that can facilitate organization
and activism. Although legally
distinct and operating separately
from the sorority itself, IVYPAC was
formed to inform, inspire, and
activate the AKA community and
support members' political
aspirations.
Since its creation, IVYPAC has
engaged in fundraising, candidate
recruitment, and voter mobilization
efforts to support the campaigns
of congressional members
across the country. Branch says
IVYPAC provides a strong working
model for activating the social
capital of organizations like the
AKA without jeopardizing their
nonprofit status.
" IVYPAC is probably the first of these sorority or
fraternity PACs to start, but it won't be the last, "
Branch says. Indeed, ALPHA PAC, a political
action committee founded by the historically
Black Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, was formed in
2020 to help elect Black Americans and other
people of color committed to ensuring justice
for all in health, housing, and the criminal
justice system.
In addition to her work with IVYPAC, Branch
represents nonprofits and PACs focused on
increasing minority representation in politics
and engaging minority groups in the political
process. Her elevation to partner at Perkins
Coie has helped her develop and expand this
practice at a time when minority groups are
having an increasingly significant impact on
closely contested elections.
Minority voter turnout is credited by many with
political upsets in recent elections in Georgia,
Arizona, and elsewhere. Branch has litigated
voting rights and redistricting cases, challenging
laws that make it more difficult for
minority populations to exercise their constitutional
right to vote. In fact, she was part of
teams that successfully briefed and argued two
Perkins Coie LLP

Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Election Coverage
Practice Management
Toward Well-Being
A Conversation with Chad Sarchio feature
Ready for Reentry feature
LSC's Ron Flagg feature
Leadership Academy feature
DC Bar Annual Report
DC Bar Budget
Taking the Stand
On Further Review
The Learning Curve
ABA Delegate's Corner
Member Spotlight
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Disciplinary Summaries
Speaking of Ethics
The Pro Bono Effect
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 1
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 2
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 3
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Election Coverage
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Toward Well-Being
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - A Conversation with Chad Sarchio feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 11
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 12
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 13
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Ready for Reentry feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 15
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 16
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 17
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - LSC's Ron Flagg feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 19
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 20
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 21
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Leadership Academy feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 23
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 24
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - DC Bar Annual Report
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 26
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 27
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 28
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 29
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 30
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 31
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 32
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 33
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 34
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 35
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 36
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - DC Bar Budget
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 39
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - ABA Delegate's Corner
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 43
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 45
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 47
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 50
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 52
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 53
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - The Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 55
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Cover4
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