Super Mom to Super Lawyer

Cherese Clark dominates the justice system in #Powerheels

Family law attorney Cherese C. Clark epitomizes the “superwoman in power heels” advocating for underprivileged individuals who wish to have a voice in the metro Atlanta.

cover_fall_2016-cherese-c-1-optimizedShe has been recognized as a National “Super Lawyer’ and a “Rising Star” of Georgia, a ‘National Top 100 Black Lawyer’ for Matrimonial and Family Law for the State of Georgia 2016 and recently selected as a Top 10 Attorney for Client Satisfaction for all of her accomplishments. “I had a vision to be an amazing criminal lawyer like ‘How to Get Away With Murder’s’ Annalise Keating; [wearing] sharp suits, [out] with clients in sexy scenarios and storybook plots holding prosecutors feet to the fire,” Clark said.

She never imagined being a family lawyer; however personal life experiences led her in that direction. Clark first gained exposure to the justice system as a young girl with the O.J. Simpson case. She remembers watching the O.J. Simpson trial growing up and admiring Marcia Clark, being that they had the same last name.

Clark was mesmerized by the pomp and circumstance of legal proceedings and learning how to be a persuasive, yet zealous advocate. Graduating cum laude from Spelman College in 2005 with a B.S. in Political Science (Pre-Law) and far away from home, she found solace in the support she received from her hometown Pastor, Rev. Raynarldo Maurice Henderson, family friends and most importantly, her mother, Colita Mayes.

A proud graduate of Spelman, Cherese felt a bit of culture shock when she arrived. She explains, “Coming from [an environment where I was in the] majority to being in the minority was an adjustment. I was at an HBCU with all the top ranked African-American women in the country giving me a run for my money.”

As a high-ranking student from Paducah, Kentucky, she was accustomed to having the spotlight. Her college accolades included pageant titles such as Miss. Black Georgia, Miss Black Atlanta, and Miss Black Western Kentucky, where she received the ‘Miss Congeniality award. Pageantry money and playing the flute funded her freshman year at Spelman

Clark’s initial orientation to law was as a Paralegal Advocate for the Georgia Law Center for the Homeless where she conducted intake at various homeless shelters, interviewed clients and gave representation in administrative hearings across Metro-Atlanta. Under tough conditions, she enjoyed her time there and her many contributions to the homeless community. “I’ve always had a soft spot for clients who may have fallen on hard times and couldn’t afford representation yet need a voice and a passionate conduit to justice,” Clark said.

She later transitioned to the Georgia Capital Defender’s Office as a mitigation specialist investigating death penalty for the State of Georgia. It was an eye-opening experience for her into the criminal justice system, the structure of police investigations and the need for early mental health resources and treatment.

Clark only applied to one law school, Georgia State University College of Law. At the time, she insisted if she did not get in, she would not go to law school. Upon receiving her acceptance, she learned that she was expecting her daughter, Londyn. She was born two months early and two months before her first day of law school.

A premature baby, breast feedings, and Londyn’s one-month stint in the NICU did not slow Cherese down. Even with her daughter’s early arrival, she started law school despite the reservations of others, including her mother. 

She worked as felony investigator for the Clayton County Public Defender’s office during the day, attended law school in evenings. She spent late nights and early mornings preparing for class by reading contract and property law to her newborn daughter. “Those were her bedtime stories, and I believe she may understand the Rules Against Perpetuities better than me,” she jokes.

law-order-cherese-clark-5-optimizedThe course at Georgia State is part-time, Clark anticipated being completed in four to five years. She made it through the program in three and a half years. Cherese says, “I was on autopilot.”

She was voted Top Student in Spring 2011 and earned the GSU College of Law Michelle Ferguson Priestly Award in 2012. She also led her Student Trial Lawyer Association team to a Regional Championship, while being on the GSU Moot Court team. But soon, Clark would find herself in need of her own services. In the midst of her graduation from GSU and studying for the state bar exam, she was in the middle of her divorce. “I realized that while I was bent, I was not broken,” she said.   Thanks to what many would think is a horrible ordeal, she found her niche and decided to practice family law.  “I wanted to ensure no one experienced what I went through by force and not by choice.” That distinctive approach to family law connects her to her clients professionally and personally.

She’s always had dreams of starting her own firm. In July 2015, through patience and prayer, she resigned from her former law firm. Unbeknownst to her, the stars would align, and her law partners were on the same track.

A friendly gathering of working women turned into a business meeting, which led to the formation of Clark, Lowery, and Lumpkin just a month later. “It’s great to have three different cultural melting pots and perspectives,” Clark said speaking of firm, “this definitely distinguishes CL&L from other law practices.  “We’re lawyers, but also businesswomen and ‘Boss Moms” now.”

The firm practices domestic and international family law and criminal law litigation.

With her daughter, Londyn as her primary sense of motivation, she is hoping to raise her daughter to be a true renaissance girl, the eight-year-old is currently constructing a business plan to make hair bows and accessories for girls her age. With pictures of her strategically placed all around her office of Londyn, one particular picture on her desk show’s Londyn hugging her tightly as she was sworn in as an attorney.

Clark also attributes her success and dedication to her ‘board of directors,’ her daughter, Londyn, her mother, her fiancée, Chris, her best friend Millicent, and her “mommy crew” Natalie, LaToya, and Crystal. “Find your ‘board of directors’ to share your dreams with and to hold you accountable for achieving them.” Through her journey, Clark found her voice and began her #PowerHeels movement. Power Heels is based around empowering women with a message to “not getting your heels scuffed because you are a woman, you wear your heels with pride.”

She is also a member of the Atlanta Bar Association, Executive Board Member of The National Academy of Family Law Attorneys (NAFLA) and member of Delta Sigma Theta where she is the Step Master. Cherese is currently working on a book, building her Power Heels brand, and expanding Clark Lowery and Lumpkin firm into other states.

Cherese C. Clark, continue to RYSE rocking those #PowerHeels.

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