National Bar Association
The words “Each one, teach one” describe a way of life for Mavis T. Thompson, president of the National Bar Association in Washington, D.C. Growing up in St. Louis, Mo., “I was responsible for making sure I had the knowledge to become a good citizen,” Thompson says. “It was a mandate that I share my talent with others.”
As president of the nation’s oldest and largest national association of predominantly African-American lawyers and judges, law professors and law students, Thompson leveraged her experience as a registered nurse to develop a member-focused, health-care initiative that addresses such areas as cardiac and mental health. She is committed to increasing the number of African-Americans in the pipeline who are pursuing law careers, and she spends time mentoring middle- and high-school students, law students and new attorneys.
Thompson received a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Missouri. While lobbying for patients’ rights in Washington, D.C., she decided that she would be more effective as a lawyer and returned to the University of Missouri to obtain a law degree. Three years after receiving her degree, she ventured into politics, becoming the first female-elected circuit clerk for the city of St. Louis and the only African-American female to hold a citywide elected office at that time. Thompson also served as an assistant attorney general for the state of Missouri. In 1995, she graduated from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Thompson maintains a civil and criminal trial practice at the Law Office of Mavis T. Thompson. Her numerous professional and civic memberships include the American Bar Association, the Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater St. Louis, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Legal Services of Eastern Missouri and the Board of Trustees at the Mt. Herald Missionary Baptist Church. High energy and spiritual grounding are her armor. “I include God in all of my decisions,” she says.