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Ms. Vanita M. Banks

65th President of the National Bar Association (NBA)

Vanita Banks is an accomplished senior executive privacy and cybersecurity attorney and counselor to the financial services, insurance and biopharmaceutical industry sectors, providing strategic advice and counsel on data protection and cybersecurity matters, including EU-GDPR and CCPA. In her role as Global Privacy Counsel, she has extensive experience counselling business operations regarding disruptive technologies including drones, autonomous cars, mobile devices, big data, blockchain, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and predictive analysis. She also specializes in complex insurance, employment and class action law and litigation, technology and commercial transactions. Vanita teaches Cybersecurity and Privacy law, and a college Introduction to Law course at Mitchell Hamline School of Law.
A trusted adviser to C-Suite executives, Vanita has extensive experience developing and implementing global risk-based data protection and cybersecurity programs, including corporate policy for electronic communications and commerce. Vanita led the Information Technology Team that established Allstate Insurance Company’s multimillion-dollar ecommerce business. She received the highest employee award, the Allstate Chairman’s Award for her team leadership and superior performance. She led Allstate’s Corporate Lab initiatives at the University of Chicago Law School. She is a member of the American Law Institute and Adviser to the ALI Restatement of the Law of Liability Insurance approved by ALI membership in May 2018. Vanita rallied the insurance industry’s participation in the Restatement project.
Vanita is a relentless and early advocate of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and the corporate workplace. She founded the Allstate Law Department Diversity Committee, which is the model for Employee Resource Groups across the company and country today. She established the Minority Outside Counsel initiative resulting in an increase in minority owned law firms and minority partners in majority firms obtaining outside counsel work at Allstate. She spearheaded Allstate’s Street Law Program, partnering with over 20 high schools across the nation, while personally mentoring hundreds of students. The Summer Internship program that she launched is now in its 17th year. She forged partnerships with organizations, including the National Bar Association, resulting in leadership opportunities for Allstate attorneys, and the recruitment of in-house and outside counsel. Under her leadership, Allstate has been a sponsor of the NBA for 25 consecutive years. Vanita’s efforts resulted in the Allstate Law Department being recognized with the Minority Corporate Counsel Association Diversity Award, and former General Counsel Michael McCabe signing the Diversity in the Workplace Statement of Principle in 2000.
Vanita is Past President of the National Bar Association. She served as the 65th President of the National Bar Association (NBA), the oldest and largest national association of predominately African American lawyers and judges. Vanita served as the Chief Executive Officer and spokesperson for the NBA which is the voice of over 65,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students. She is the second female attorney from corporate America to be elected as NBA President, and was the 9th female since the organization was founded in 1925. Shortly after taking office, she led a meeting with White House Counsel advocating for African American judicial nominees and for justice for the Jena 6. Vanita also served as Chair of the NBA Covid-19 Task Force and the NBA Police Misconduct and Justice Task Force.
On the corporate diversity front, Vanita advocated for increased access to corporate business by diverse attorneys and firms, and the NBA issued its first diversity Scorecard to the largest 27 law firms in Illinois. In 2008, she led a delegation of lawyers, judges and physicians to Cuba on a humanitarian mission to promote civil society. In 2016, she chaired the NBA’s International Affiliates Meeting in Cuba where members met with U.S. Embassy officials, Cuban bar and judicial members to address issues of mutual concern.

Vanita is an internationally renowned diversity and inclusion expert and frequent speaker in the United States, Canada, Cuba, the Caribbean, and Africa on corporate diversity and her practice specialties. She has been featured in national publications including Jet, Ebony Magazine, ABA Journal, Corporate Counsel Magazine, Purdue Alumnus, NBA Journal, DRI Magazine, ALI Magazine and Diversity Inc., and her appearances include Steve Harvey, Michael Baisden, Legally Speaking, Legal Issues of the Day, WVON, Houston ABC local affiliate, Operation Push, British/UK Television, and Black Online TV broadcasts.
Vanita earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana; Juris Doctor from Valparaiso University Law School in Valparaiso, Indiana; and L.L.M. in Taxation from DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, Illinois. Vanita is a Fellow of the Life Management Institute, (FLMI). In May, 2011, she delivered the Valparaiso University College of Law class commencement address, and in June, 2009, she delivered the Southern Illinois University Law School class commencement address.
Vanita is a Purdue University Old Master, and received the Purdue Pioneering Woman Award for achievement beyond boundaries. She is a member of the American Bar Association, and a member of the Law and National Security Committee. She served on the Executive Council of the National Conference of Bar Presidents, and ABA Standing Committee on Bar Services and Activities. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and The Links, Incorporated. She serves on the Board of Directors of The Black Women’s Agenda, and served on the Board of the Josephson Ethics Institute and Secretary to The Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO). Her pro-bono work includes participation in the Cabrini Green Legal Aid expungement and clemency programs, and Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner granted her client’s clemency petition in 2017.
She has received many awards and honors, including the C. Francis Stradford Award, the National Bar Association’s highest award, the Women Making History Award from the National Council of Negro Women, Chicago-Midwest Chapter, the CLEO Legacy Diversity Award, Forbes Magazine: Notable Purdue Alumni, Notable Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc., the prestigious NBA Gertrude E. Rush Award for pioneering leadership, Ronald Harmon Brown Award of International Distinction, NBA Wiley A. Branton Award, Who’s Who in Chicago, and Ebony Magazine’s “Power 150” Most Influential Organization Leaders.

1430 - 1600

Thursday 6th July 2023 Conference Day 1

Stream 2 – Section on Legal Practice

Venue: Lion Hall

Artificial Intelligence and the Future of the Legal Profession: Opportunities and risks

Moderator: Adv. Ms. Gertrude MUSYANI, Company Secretary, Head of Legal, Access Bank Zambia Limited

Panellists:

  • Adv. Vanita BANKS, Past President, National Bar Association (NBA-USA, 2007 – 2008) (virtual)
  • Adv. Appolos DIMAS, Law School and former Head of Chambers Professor Dakas CJ Dakas SAN &Co
  • Adv. Ruth MAYABU, MUNDU AND ASSOCIATES Law Firm
  • Adv. Nadège Kimba LENGE, Advocate, the bar of Haut-Katanga
1430 - 1600

Friday 7th July 2023 Conference Day 2

Stream 2 – Section on Legal Practice

Venue: Lion Hall

Implementation of Decisions of African International Courts and Tribunals: Scaling up the role of lawyers and lawyers’ associations

Sponsored by: Raul Wallenberg Institute (RWI)

Moderator: Mr. Chris MUTHURI, Deputy Director, Nairobi Office, Raoul Wallenberg Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI)

Panellists:

  • Adv. David SIGANO, Chief Executive Officer, East Africa Law Society (EALS)
  • Hon. Mr. Moses CHINHENGO, Judge of the ad hoc Court of Appeal of Lesotho
  • Adv. Bahame Tom NYANDUGA, Vice President for Eastern Africa, PALU
  • Hon. Justice Bernard GEORGES, Judge of the Court of Justice of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA Court)