On behalf of the officers and members of the Garden State Bar Association, it is my pleasure to welcome you to our website.  The GSBA is New Jersey's oldest and largest professional organization for African-American judges, lawyers, and law students. Since 1975, the GSBA has continuously assisted African-Americans and other ethnic minorities in becoming an effective part of the judicial and legal systems. The Association also seeks to advance the science of jurisprudence, improve the administration of justice, support initiatives designed to improve economic condition of all individuals, and eliminate discrimination and inequality based on racial, ethnic or sexual considerations.

This platform highlights our programs and projects designed to pursue, support and facilitate the implementation of these goals.  I hope that you will join us and I look forward to working with you as we advance our position, reaffirm our purpose and chart our progress.

Yours in Service,
Natalya G. Johnson, Esq. 
President, Garden State Bar Association


The GSBA was created to support African-American and other attorneys of color to gain and maintain permanence in the legal profession in the State of New Jersey. In an effort to give back to the community, twenty-six years ago, the GSBA created a Scholarship Fund to help African-American law students attending schools in New Jersey. Traditionally, one student from each of New Jersey’s law schools was chosen to receive a scholarship. However, the GSBA has expanded the scholarship program to permit New Jersey residents attending law schools outside of New Jersey to apply.

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The Civil Rights movement was gaining momentum during the early 1960's when African Americans were reflecting upon both their individual and collective situations, and evaluating their current status and future goals. Locally, African American attorneys were slowly gaining stature primarily in Essex, Hudson and Union Counties. Representation on the bench was sparse, with Judge Hazelwood sitting on the Newark Municipal Court bench, Judge Yancey sitting on the Essex County Superior Court bench and Judge Wood sitting on the Union County Superior Court bench. Employment in large or medium firms was extremely limited.

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