Connie Othella Walker
Retired Law Clerk
U.S. District Court (WDNY) Rochester
When Connie Othella Walker’s name is mentioned, two firsts are noted: Walker was the first African American law clerk in the Monroe County Supreme Court and also the first African American woman to serve as president of the Monroe County Bar Association.
After those firsts comes a long list of contributions Walker made in each of those roles. While on the bar association’s board, she served on a special task force that studied the public defender selection process and worked toward improved oversight of the conflict defender and assigned counsel program.
Partnering with the bar associations from Onondaga and Erie counties, Walker led a cooperative effort to evaluate New York Court of Appeals candidates and provide feedback to the governor. She also made sure that newly appointed judges came to Rochester to meet attorneys in the community.
Walker was instrumental in bringing Verna Myers, a nationally known author who speaks on diversity, to Rochester to work with the legal community on diversity, inclusion and retention. In addition, Walker fostered dialogue within the legal community about the role that race relations plays in Rochester.
“Connie is tenacious, discreet, hard working in the extreme, selfless and humble,” said attorney Barbara Orenstein, who worked with Walker through the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys. “Needless to say, (her) additional hours in service to the bar association, and the community at large, truly define the terms ‘selfless’ and ‘tireless.’”