IMLA celebrates Black History Month!

IMLA celebrates Black History Month!

IMLA celebrates Black History Month! For every month of the year, IMLA continues to advocate and support racial equity programs and inclusive legislation that protect and support BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities across the United States and Canada.  Through our Diversity Group, IMLA has provided Zoom meetings and resources to better support our members to advance diversity initiatives and inclusive policies on a local level that remain under attack, especially through state preemption.

This February is a month of celebration and recognition of the achievements of our own members in their legal careers and are exemplary local government attorneys and individuals in their own communities.  Nominated by their peers, we would like to recognize the following individuals and would like to thank them for their service in local government and their loyalty to IMLA.

Dawyn R. Harrison

County Counsel
Los Angeles County, California

With a County Counsel career that spans over 23 years, Dawyn Harrison has risen through the ranks to the office’s top executive position – County Counsel. During her two decades with the County Counsel’s Office, Ms. Harrison credits her success to integrity, hard work, continued learning, and putting people first.

Ms. Harrison grew up in Southern California, where she has lived for most of her life. She knew from an early age that she wanted to study law, so after graduating from Hamilton High School in West Los Angeles, she went to the University of California Berkeley for her undergraduate degree in legal studies. While attending Berkeley, Ms. Harrison was a part of the Black Students Association and the Cal Women’s Crew team. She became interested in children’s legal issues after taking a juvenile justice course.

After attending Berkeley, Ms. Harrison continued her education at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. She credits her success in law school to hard work; dedicated professors willing to break down the complicated information into steps she could understand; and the community built with her fellow Black Law Students Association students with whom she spent many hours studying and navigating the rigorousness of a legal education. A USC job fair would launch her career in the government sector. Victor Greenberg, a former attorney from the office and a retired Superior Court Judge, was holding on-campus interviews and happened to read a USC publication about Ms. Harrison being that year’s Moot Court Champion. He interviewed Ms. Harrison soon after reading the article, and she was offered a position which began her path to County Counsel.

Upon joining the County Counsel’s Office, Ms. Harrison handled a variety of assignments, beginning with her passion for child welfare advocacy advising the Department of Children and Family Services, and then the Department of Public Social Services. Eventually, Ms. Harrison became advisor to the Board of Supervisors, the Executive Office, and Chief Executive Office. In 2014, Ms. Harrison was promoted to Division Chief of the Dependency Division. In 2016, she was promoted to Senior Assistant overseeing numerous divisions, and in 2020, was made Chief Deputy. In April 2022, she became the Interim County Counsel, a position she held until February 28, 2023, when the Board of Supervisors appointed Ms. Harrison as the County Counsel. Ms. Harrison serves as the seventeenth County Counsel and is the first African American County Counsel since the office’s establishment in 1913.

Ms. Harrison has embraced this new role and immense responsibility of overseeing a culturally diverse office with over 700 talented employees by absorbing a vast amount of information on various areas of the law. As a woman of African American, Mexican American, and Native American heritage, Ms. Harrison will lead the office to promote truth and justice, protect the rule of law, and create social and legal reform that considers the experiences of the diverse county residents whose lives will be most impacted by the County’s policies and laws.

Ms. Harrison is also a working parent of a 12-year-old son, so she knows that finding time for family is imperative. With her husband, son, and dog, Ms. Harrison makes it a practice of spending the weekend days with her family. She looks to her faith as a source of strength, going to church on Sundays to connect with her faith and family. Ms. Harrison is also an avid foodie who loves trying new restaurants and exploring the various cultures through food.

Alecia Mosadomi

Assistant City Attorney
Austin, Texas

Alecia is an Assistant City Attorney with the City of Austin Law Department. Her practice areas have included zoning, land use entitlements, permitting issues, and related real estate and development transactions. Alecia thrives in municipal law practice but has also guided developers through governmental processes while in private practice. Throughout her career, Alecia has remained a passionate advocate and skilled negotiator for her public sector and private practice clients. Currently, Alecia leverages her previous experiences and skill set as a legal advisor to the City of Austin’s publicly owned utility, Austin Energy.

Renita L. Collins

Deputy Chief of Litigation
Baltimore, Maryland

Renita L. Collins is currently the Deputy Chief of Litigation for the Baltimore City Law Department.  Ms. Collins has years of trial and appellate experience at the state and federal levels.  She focuses her practice on several areas of complex municipal law, including the U.S. and state Constitutions, personal injury, premises liability, property, damage, construction, automobile accidents and administrative law.  Ms. Collins currently sits on the Baltimore City Law Department’s Settlement and Diversity Committees.  She recently successfully defended the City’s facially neutral ordinances against First Amendment challenge by an anti-choice protester.

After graduating from the University of Maryland School of Law, with Honor, Ms. Collins clerked for The Honorable W. Michel Pierson (ret.) at the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. Ms. Collins’ previous work experience, as an attorney at boutique and large local and regional litigation firms, focused on insurance defense, complex commercial, banking, construction, class action, insurance coverage defense, and employment litigation matters, acquiring litigation experience representing a variety of local, regional, and national insurance companies, banks, lenders, and servicers.

Ms. Collins has represented national banks and other financial institutions in complex commercial litigation and transactional matters. In addition, Ms. Collins previously represented local businesses in a variety of litigation, transactional, and other advisory matters. Ms. Collins is the immediate past president of the Monumental City Bar Association, the oldest specialty bar association in Maryland, and holds committee positions with other local bar associations.  She also actively participates in pro bono and mentorship programs.

Ms. Collins is a native of Anne Arundel County, Maryland.  Apart from her legal practice, she is an avid sports fan, cook, baker, and traveler.