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From its founding in August 1968 to the present, the Loren Miller Bar Association has grown from its 13 founders to its current membership of over 250 attorneys statewide. LMBA’s membership growth and organizational development has coincided with its successful creation and implementation of numerous community programs. On October 14, 1978 the Loren Miller Bar Club members officially changed the Club’s name to the Loren Miller Bar Association and incorporated LMBA as a nonprofit 501(c)(4) corporation. In 1997, LMBA created the Philip L. Burton Memorial Foundation as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation to administer LMBA’s scholarship fund for the University of Washington, Seattle University and Gonzaga University law students.

At its core, the LMBA is first and foremost a civil rights organization. From its infancy, LMBA adopted a vigorous platform of confronting institutionalized racism and the myriad social and economic disparities affecting the African-American community. In the 1960’s and 70’s, LMBA’s members confronted discrimination in employment, housing, education, public contracting and disparate treatment of African-American athletes at the University of Washington. In the 1980’s and 90’s, LMBA maintained its civil rights agenda, but expanded its sphere of influence within Washington’s majority bar and among other African-American attorneys nationwide. Examples of this can be seen in LMBA’s screening of judicial candidates for the bench, its co-founding of the Northwest Minority Job Fair, its member representation on Washington State Bar Association and King County Bar Association standing committees, and its hosting of the National Bar Associations annual conventions in 1984 and 1994. Over the past 30 years, LMBA has spearheaded or been intimately involved with a number of significant historical events.

Ensuring Equal Treatment of African-American Athletes at the University

In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, African-American athletes on the University’s football team alleged that they were being discriminated against because their ability to compete for and play positions on the team was limited by the coaching staffs designation of certain positions for white players only. LMBA members represented the athletes who challenged the University’s discriminatory practices. As a result, the University changed its coaching regime, hired African-American administrators in the Athletic Department, and hired African-American football coaches to ensure that the African-American athletes were able to compete for positions that were previously closed.

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