January 2012 - Profile - President Dimetria A. Jackson
by Maria D. Murphy
On January 19, 2012, Dimetria A. Jackson will ascend to the presidency of the Orange County Bar Association (OCBA) as its first African American female president. Dimetria credits her family, friends, OCBA past presidents, past and current Board members, and leaders within the Orange County legal community for their support and encouragement.
Dimetria is a wife, mother, attorney, and business owner with a passion for helping others and making a difference in her community. Inspired by her parents, Jacquelyn Jackson, Technology Trainer at Rutan & Tucker, and Herbert Jackson, a retired New York business owner, Dimetria and her younger brother, H. Craig, began donating to charitable causes at a very early age. While still in elementary school, Dimetria won an American Lung Association contest for the slogan, “Smoking hurts me as much as it hurts you.” She was undoubtedly ahead of her time, considering that the second hand smoking campaigns had yet to become a primary focus. Growing up in Cambria Heights, New York, Dimetria participated in phone banks for local politicians and, with her family, engaged in marches to protest injustice. At Jamaica High School, Dimetria was in the International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement programs, a member of Arista National Honor Society and took courses at both St. Johns University and Columbia University. While attending Dartmouth College, she studied at the Universidad of Grenada, in Grenada, Spain as part of Dartmouth’s Language Study Abroad program, beginning her love for international travel. She also participated in Dartmouth’s Government Program, in Washington, D.C., where she worked for the National Urban League, counseling persons in need of supervision (PINS), youth under the age of 18 who were truant, using illegal substances, exhibiting bad behavior or disobeying authority, and their parents, in an effort to divert them from the juvenile court system.
While a student at Dartmouth College, Dimetria called her parents to inform them that the shanties erected on campus to protest Dartmouth’s investment in South Africa had been knocked down, overnight, by students on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Dimetria notified her parents that she would be participating in the occupation of the President’s Office, in Parkhurst Hall, to protest the actions of the students and Dartmouth’s investment in apartheid South Africa. Dimetria’s intent was to give her parents advance notice in case the event was on the news. Well, the protest made national news and a picture of Dimetria and her fellow protesters/classmates appeared in the newspaper. Following a moratorium on classes, discussions with the administration and negotiations, Dartmouth subsequently divested from South Africa. Mrs. Jackson told me that she would have been surprised if Dimetria had not been involved.
While attending the University of Virginia School of Law, Dimetria was selected as an Echoing Green Foundation Fellow. She relocated to Los Angeles following graduation to pursue a fellowship with the National Health Law Program, a national public interest law firm, where she founded the Women & HIV Policy Development Project to provide legal advice, trainings, and advocacy on access to health care for low income HIV positive women and those at high risk. She advocated on their behalf locally and on Capitol Hill. Upon completion of her fellowship, Dimetria accepted a position with the Los Angeles County Counsel’s Juvenile Dependency Division, where she represented the Department of Children’s Services on behalf of our youth.
Following County Counsel, Dimetria accepted a position at First American Title Insurance Company, in Santa Ana, but also worked in its San Francisco office, where she handled claims, underwriting, transactional matters, and managed outside counsel. In 2000, Dimetria began working for First American Trust, FSB, a federal savings bank, investment adviser, and trust company. In her role as Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer, and Corporate Secretary, she managed the legal and compliance departments, negotiated and drafted agreements, managed litigation, and provided legal counsel to the Chief Executive Officer and staff on investment management, regulatory compliance, banking, fiduciary services, litigation, and corporate governance.
Throughout her career, Dimetria has been an advocate and proponent of diversity and inclusion in the legal and business communities. She has served as Chair of the OCBA’s Diversity & Equal Justice Committee; presented Elimination of Bias MCLE seminars; served on the OCBA’s Leadership Task Force; and was appointed to the California State Bar’s Ethnic and Minority Relations Committee.
Dimetria also champions education and mentoring. She advises her young relatives on college and has participated in Chapman Law School’s Mentor Program and on career panels for local high school and law students. This past summer, Dimetria had the pleasure of attending the graduation of two of her mentees from Pepperdine Law School. The sisters are two-thirds of a set of triplets who also graduated from Dartmouth College. She also mentors an Orange County resident in her second year at Southwestern Law School.
Dimetria is actively involved in several nonprofit organizations. In addition to her service on the Boards of the OCBA and its Charitable Fund, she is also on the Boards of the Orange County Bar Foundation and InTouch Credit Union. She has previously served as a Director with the Public Law Center and the California Minority Counsel Program. She is actively involved with the California Black Women’s Health Project, where for the past two years she co-chaired the nonprofit’s annual fundraiser. She has also served on the Board of Pink Ladder, a nonprofit organization committed to encouraging, empowering, and mentoring African American woman professionally and personally. With a very demanding schedule, she always made time to feed and clothe the disenfranchised, while living in Santa Monica. Dimetria continues to support many Orange County residents, through her donations to food banks and contributions to Working Wardrobes, Orange County Rescue Mission, and Goodwill.
Dimetria and her husband are the proud parents of their three-year-old son, Jackson Priestly. They are also raising a toddler boy, through foster care, whom they wish to adopt.
Dimetria is a freelance attorney with Montage Legal Group, handling transactional matters, and the Chief Executive Officer of redBAMBINA.com, an online retail boutique that caters to nursing and expectant moms, infants, and children.
During her presidency, Dimetria intends to focus on technology and social media as it pertains to the OCBA and its membership. As a steward of the association, she plans to update and revise the OCBA’s strategic plan and formalize a committee of attorney mothers to address issues that pertain to them. Dimetria will also create networking opportunities with the business community and will implement community outreach and social activities that encourage family participation.
Please join me in welcoming your 2012 President, Dimetria A. Jackson.
Maria D. Murphy, Esq., Executive Director, Ernst & Young, LLP, is a tax attorney specializing in tax practice and procedure and information reporting and withholding.