The Catholic University of America


Robert Fulton Dashiell '73 Honored by Black Law Students Association

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On the evening of April 4, 2018, students, alumni, faculty, staff, and guests gathered at The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law for the 24th annual Black Law Students Association (BLSA) Alumni-Student Reception honoring Robert Fulton Dashiell '73, Of Counsel/Attorney at Law, HJM LLC.

The audience was welcomed with opening remarks from BLSA Day Vice-President, Latena Hazard (3L) "We are extremely proud to honor Robert Fulton Dashiell '73 at this year's reception. As we honor Mr. Dashiell, we take stock in the moment of history that this event takes place. Today, we recognize the semi-centennial anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His legacy remains as vibrant as ever, even as much more work to achieve his highest dream remains. We also recognize that this year marks the 50th anniversary of BLSA. Our founder, A.J. Cooper, also had a dream of a community of brilliant, passionate law students who could advance Dr. King's dream," Hazard said.

CUA Law Dean and Knights of Columbus Professor of Law, Daniel F. Attridge also provided opening remarks. “I believe Dr. King would be very proud of the steps that many people in this room, this school, and this community have taken to move us toward his dream. The progress we have made is this country is due to people like our honoree Robert Fulton Dashiell," Dean Attridge said.

BLSA Alumni Chair Taliesin Gabriel (3L) introduced Dashiell. "Dashiell began his legal career by serving as a staff attorney within the Appellate Court Branch Office of the General Counsel to the National Labor Relations Board in the District of Columbia from June, 1973 until July, 1975. Before establishing his own firm, Mr. Dashiell was a partner with the law firms of Cummings and Dashiell (1993-1996), Cummings, Smith, and Dashiell (1991-1993) and Wartzman, Omansky, Blibaum & Simmons, P.A. (1986-1991). Throughout his legal career, Dashiell has championed minority rights in business and development. He was one of the three founding members of the Maryland Minority Contractors Association in 1979 and assisted in the creation and organization of several of the community development corporations located in Baltimore City. He was influential in getting Maryland House Bill 64 passed, which became the first minority business enterprise (“MBE”) law in Maryland. He also organized a picket line to protest the Baltimore Mass Transit Administration’s (“MTA”) failure to utilize MBE participation in the construction of the Baltimore subway system. He was successful in persuading the MTA to come to the table to discuss, and eventually implement, an MBE program," Gabriel said.

Dashiell, began his address by thanking CUA Law and BLSA. "I am so honored to be selected for this award," he said. "I am equally thrilled by the warmth of the people who are here this evening. I feel at home in this building and I feel at home among the audience." 

During his address Dashiell called on young lawyers to protect the institutions that are vital to all people: the family, public schools, and law enforcement.

"You must fight for the proposition that every working person, because of their humanity, is due a level of compensation that permits them to fulfill their desired roles within the family," Dashiell said. "It is also your job to work to preserve, nurture, and protect the public education system because that is where our children will be educated."

"We also need to protect the institution of public law enforcement and safety because we need good police officers to protect us...We need the community to trust the police and believe they are there for their protection," he said.

Dashiell also called on law students to preserve, nurture, and protect African American institutions. 

"We need to preserve these institutions so African American parents can show their children that African American colleges and universities can hire and retain talented faculty, offer more research opportunities, and can renovate their own gyms," he said.

Dashiell concluded his speech by referencing a James Russell Lowell poem Dr. King quoted in a 1967 speech. "Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side..I'm telling you now is the time."

Following Dashiell's remarks, Scott Livingston spoke about his time working with Dashiell.

BLSA President, Kwambina Coker (3L) gave the closing remarks. Coker thanked the audience for attending the event. He also thanked Dashiell, The Hon. William T. Newman ’73, Jon Howard ’77, and Peggy Miller ’80, for being the building blocks for BLSA. Coker quoted Dr. King stating, “The most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” Coker ended by challenging the audience to be the driving force that propels the success of Black Law Students during the next 50 years.

Click here to view other photos from the event on CUA Law's Facebook.