Assistant AG English works to fulfill task force’s vision of a more diverse bar

Issue February 2010 By Tricia M. Oliver

April English, assistant attorney general in the state's Consumer Protection Division, serves as co-chair with the Hon. Angela Ordoñez for the MBA's Diversity Task Force. Like Ordoñez, she is focused on implementing programs that they hope will encourage a more diverse bar in Massachusetts, now and more importantly, in the future.

The youngest of six children, English worked her way through undergraduate studies and went on to attain her law degree from Northeastern University Law School.

A determined attorney since her bar admission, English served as a Superior Court law clerk from 2001 to 2002. Once her clerkship ended, she briefly practiced family law and personal injury law. This early start in her career led her to the Consumer Protection Division in the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley.

There, she litigates actions and negotiates settlements under the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act on behalf of the commonwealth. She also serves as one of the co-chairs of the AGO Diversity Committee. English has worked in the AG's office since 2003.

"If you are passionate, anything is possible," said English, who juggles her professional responsibilities with being a mom to a 10-year-old daughter.

English welcomed another responsibility when asked by MBA President Valerie A. Yarashus to serve as co-chair for the Diversity Task Force. "It is a privilege to work with Judge Ordoñez on such an important committee," said English, who explained that the group brings together members of the bar who are truly interested and invested in matters of diversity and the importance of inclusion.

Like Ordoñez, English is particularly focused on seeing through the success of the task force-initiated Tiered Community Mentor Program. With this new program, English hopes to "touch the minds of young boys and girls interested in pursuing a legal career."

With several other programs geared toward high school and college students, English feels that the task force is a great opportunity for lawyers to get involved and serve as mentors for young kids looking for guidance and looking to make a difference.

Mutual respect between co-chairs Ordoñez and English is apparent. "Judge Ordoñez has such vision," said English. "She comes up with clever and creative ideas on a consistent basis - ideas that can become reality by devoting some time and energy."

Taking on a leadership role with the MBA has helped English to think outside the box and grow as both a practitioner and a leader.

"The MBA is a great platform to expose a diverse mix of lawyers to volunteer roles that really have an impact on the attorneys' professional growth," said English.