Please click here to view pictures from our

2015 Judicial Award Reception Honoring

Judges in the Local and Federal Courts of the District of Columbia


Upcoming Events

June Member Spotlight




Denise Barnes currently serves as a Chairperson of GWAC’s Law firm and Corporate Counsel Committee.      

Denise is an trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Fraud Section.  In the regular course of her duties, she participates in ongoing investigations, negotiates settlements, and develops suits in litigation. She handles all aspects of litigation, including a significant brief writing and motions practice, and extensive work with experts.

Prior to joining the Justice Department, Denise was a commercial litigation associate at the Washington D.C. office of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley and McCloy LLP for five and half years. While there, her practice consisted of commercial and bankruptcy litigation, generally involving claims of fraudulent transfer, securities fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty related to financial services institutions and other corporate clients.

Prior to joining Milbank, Denise earned her Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross Business School in 2006.  She earned a Juris Doctor degree from Howard University School of Law in 2009.  She is admitted to practice in New York, the District of Columbia, and the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. 

Denise originally hails from Detroit, Michigan.  She is married to Jonathan Barnes, a litigation associate at the boutique Maryland firm, Armstrong, Donohue, Ceppos, Vaughan and Rhoades, Chtd.  They reside in Washington D.C. with their wonderful daughter, Aubrey Barnes.


Join Now!!

We are still accepting new members.  We would love for you to be part of our organization.  We have several career, social, and professional development events planned for this year.  Remember, membership has its advantages, such as access to the GWAC job bank and an invitation to some of our signature events.

We hope you consider joining our organization. Regular Membership is $65, Graduate Membership is $30 (graduated within the past two years), and Student Membership is $15.


Welcome!  This is the official website of the Greater Washington Area Chapter, Women Lawyers Division, National Bar Association (GWAC).  It is a very exciting time, as we are celebrating our 40th year anniversary.  I am humbled and honored to serve as President for the 2014-2015 bar year.  My priorities are as follows:

1. Increase Pro Bono Service
Providing legal services pro bono is integral to the success of our justice system.  I became a lawyer to help the poor.  I believe it is imperative that every person who walks through the courthouse doors has access to affordable legal representation.  I plan for GWAC to partner with local legal services organizations to ensure that we do our part to contribute to this critical need.

2.  Strengthen Region XII
I plan for GWAC to work closely with the Washington Bar Association to foster more collaboration between our respective organizations.

3.  Connect with our seasoned, esteemed members
I am pleased to announce that we recently amended our bylaws to establish a Past President Advisory Council.  The Council consists of past GWAC presidents who serve as an expert resource and provide support, guidance, and assistance as needed.

GWAC is comprised of very strong, dynamic women who are changing the world.  I am confident that we will achieve these three ambitious goals with ease.

In closing, please feel free to contact me.  I welcome your feedback and look forward to you joining our membership

Thank you!

Melanie Bates
GWAC President


Please click here to view pictures from our 2013-2014 Judicial Reception.

Please click here to view pictures from our

40th Anniversary Tea.


Please click here to view pictures from our 

2015 Charlotte E. Ray Award Reception

honoring Kirra L. Jarratt