Foley Hoag LLP partner Giselle Joffre was recognized by Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys (MBWA) at its 2021 Ida B. Wells Awards Celebration, held virtually on June 3, 2021.
The Ida B. Wells Award is given to a Black woman who has made a significant contribution to the legal profession and exemplifies the pioneering spirit and courage of Ida B. Wells.
Joffre is a member of Foley Hoag's Litigation Department and co-chair of the firm’s White Collar Group. A former federal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston, she focuses her practice on defending corporations and executives in criminal and civil government investigations, particularly healthcare fraud matters. Joffre also leads targeted internal investigations of sensitive, high-profile matters concerning mismanagement, corruption, export control violations and allegations of sexual harassment and racial discrimination. Currently, she serves as co-Chair of the Boston Bar Association’s Women’s Leadership & Advancement Forum.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931) was a newspaper editor and journalist who went on to lead the American anti-lynching crusade. Wells-Barnett was born a daughter of slaves in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Despite this adversity, she managed to attend Rust College and Fisk University. Wells-Barnett later taught at segregated public schools in Memphis, Tennessee, and wrote articles for and eventually became the editor of Free Speech, a Black newspaper. In 1891, the Memphis Board of Education fired her, deeming her articles too controversial. She served as secretary of the National Afro-American Council and in 1910 founded and became the first president of the Negro Fellowship League.
Since 1981, MBWA has sought to preserve and advance justice for all people. Its mission is to assist in ensuring the fair and even-handed administration of justice particularly as applied to women of color. The organization is similarly concerned with social policy and civil rights issues in the greater minority community.