Alumnae Profiles: Malaika Clements Billups, C'2002
Malaika Clements Billups is a sixth year associate attorney at the Los Angeles office of Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP where she is a member of the Labor and Employment Law, Litigation, and Public Law practice groups.
Billups' legal experience includes extensive law and motion practice, all aspects of discovery, advising on various employment matters, and conducting workplace investigations. She has represented both private and public employers in a wide variety of employment cases and administrative charges, including claims regarding discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, slander, libel, and various Labor Code violations. She also represents public agencies in various litigation matters. Billups has handled complex employment litigation matters to trial in both state and federal court. Most notably, Billups’ practice has included extensive research and motion practice with respect to disability discrimination and reasonable accommodation. Since 2011, she has also been a contributing author to Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP’s Legal Trends publication, where her focus has centered on issues of sex discrimination and family and medical leaves.
Prior to her experience at Burke Williams & Sorensen, Billups defended various contract disputes and actions involving complex construction defect and design professional claims.
Billups graduated cum laude from Spelman College with a B.A. in Child Development, which lead to her first career as an elementary school teacher in South Los Angeles. As an educator, she was able to help develop both the minds and experiences of many inner city youth by assisting other teachers through the Classroom Management program, serving as the Health Education Coordinator, and by organizing excursions which exposed her students to the likes of the J. Paul Getty Center.
Billups later attended Loyola Law School in Los Angeles where she was an active member of the school community. She was a member of Loyola’s nationally ranked Byrne Trial Advocacy Team where she led her team to the Western regional finals of the National Trial Competition. She also completed an externship as a law clerk for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office where she was able to get dozens of defendants held to answer in Superior Court preliminary hearings.
Outside of the classroom, Billups was a member of the Black Law Students Association where she served as a mentor for Loyola’s Young Lawyers program. She worked for the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, where she participated in the drafting of one of the Foundation’s major publications - Los Angeles Residents’ Guide to Land Use Planning & Development, and conducted extensive research on successful inclusionary housing models, to assist in the creation of respectable housing options for low- to moderate- income residents of Los Angeles. Billups earned her Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School in 2007 where, upon graduation, she received the International Academy of Trial Lawyers Award and the Byrne Trial Advocacy Trial Competition Award.
Billups has been active in several community service and professional organizations. She is a member of the Langston Bar Association where she is an active member of the African American Attorneys in Downtown Firms committee and of Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Inc. where she has served on the Young Lawyers Committee, currently as its Chairperson. She also sits on the advisory board of CLIMB, Inc., a community-based non-profit organization which provides mentorship services to local youth. In her work with CLIMB, Inc., Billups had the opportunity to use the skills she acquired as a teacher and a lawyer to create and implement lessons for the youth participants in the CLIMB Leadership Academy.
Billups lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband, Ken Billups III. Billups is also vying for the Excellence in Service Award that will be presented at the Nation's Best Advocates' gala in Miami.