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On Being A Black Lawyer (OBABL) Names Makau Mutua One of the Most Influential Black Attorneys in the U.S.

By Ilene Fleischmann

Release Date: February 21, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- On Being a Black Lawyer (OBABL) recently selected the 100 most influential black attorneys in the United States. The University at Buffalo Law School is very pleased to announce that Dean Makau Mutua has been named to this exceptional group.

OBABL published "The Power 100 Special Edition" on Feb. 15 in honor of Black History Month. The publication is available online and features profiles of the nation's most influential black attorneys working in government, academics, and both the public and private sectors.

Makau Mutua is dean, SUNY Distinguished Professor and the Floyd H. & Hilda L. Hurst Faculty Scholar at the UB Buffalo Law School. He teaches international human rights, international business transactions and international law. Mutua has been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, the University of Iowa College of Law, the University of Puerto Rico School of Law, the United Nations University for Peace in Costa Rica and the University of Deusto in Bilbao, Spain.

He was educated at the University of Nairobi, the University of Dar-es-Salaam and at Harvard Law School, where he obtained a doctorate of juridical science in 1987. Mutua was co-chair of the 2000 Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law (ASIL). He is currently a vice president of the ASIL, and was previously on its executive council. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

In 2002-03, while on sabbatical in Kenya, Mutua was appointed by the government of Kenya as chairman of the Task Force on the Establishment of a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission. The task force recommended a truth commission for Kenya. During the same time, Mutua was a delegate to the National Constitutional Conference, the forum that produced a contested draft constitution for Kenya.

Previously, Mutua was the associate director at the Harvard Law School Human Rights Program. He was also the director of the Africa Project at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights. He serves as the chairman of the Kenya Human Rights Commission and sits on the boards of several international organizations and academic journals such as the Leiden Journal of International Law. He is a frequent commentator on politics, human rights, law and current affairs in the print and electronic media.

OBABL's editorial team, together with a group of advisers, spent months researching prospective candidates. The selection committee read trade publications, blogs and critical reviews. A portion of the candidates had appeared on past lists of influential lawyers. For this group, the committee considered whether the candidate's influence and relevance had increased since the time he or she was last honored. In addition to naming the 100 most influential black attorneys, the committee also included profiles of 10 up and coming black attorneys.

OBABL publisher, Yolanda Young notes that according to the American Bar Association, less than 5 percent of U.S. attorneys are African American. OBABL seeks to help advance diversity in the legal profession.

On Being a Black Lawyer has been recognized by the American Bar Association, National Black Law Students Association and National Association of Black Journalists. Founded in 2008 as a news and resource center, the company has grown into a social media firm providing research, career development, and brand marketing opportunities to clients.

Read "The Power 100 Special Edition" at http://www.obabl.com/special-editions/

Honorees will be toasted at a cocktail reception at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington DC, on Feb. 29 from 6-8 p.m. Michelle Miller, CBS News correspondent, will serve as mistress of ceremony. To cover the reception or request an interview, contact, Jamie Brathwaite at 202-756-1847.