An Association of Attorneys within the
African Diaspora in Sacramento County

WMBA Executive Board
Wiley W. Manuel Bar Association 2024 President, Rick Owen

Rick Owen

Rick Owen is Senior Staff Counsel for the California Committee on Revision of the Penal Code, a state entity that studies and makes recommendations to the Governor and Legislature for improvements to California’s criminal legal system. Before joining the Committee, he served as a public defender in Alameda County. Mr. Owen is a graduate of the University of San Francisco Law School, where he participated in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Law Clinic and was awarded Top Advocate in the Intensive Advocacy Program. Mr. Owen earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Davis, where he was a student-athlete on the football team. He is a Sacramento native and graduate of John F. Kennedy High School.


Martin Harris

Martin is a litigation attorney at Curtis Legal Group. He is a Sacramento native and grew up in the Pocket-Greenhaven community. After graduating from Christian Brothers High School, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of California, Merced, and his Juris Doctor from the University of San Francisco School of Law.

While attending the University of San Francisco School of Law, he served on the board of the Black Law Students Association and participated in trial advocacy. Martin externed for the Honorable Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr., United States District Court Judge for the Northern District of California. Martin is passionate about social justice and racial justice in law and policy.

Outside the office, Martin serves as a member of the NAACP political action committee. He was a scholar-athlete at the University of California, Merced where he was a member of the men’s basketball team. He enjoys sports, politics, travel, and spending time with his family and friends.


Leon Dixson

Leon Dixson is Regional Counsel for Civil Rights at Legal Services of Northern California, a non-profit law firm providing free legal assistance to people with low income. He is responsible for training, supervising, and working with staff on major civil rights litigation and systemic advocacy. Leon partners with community members and attorneys throughout California to identify and defeat the causes and effects of poverty.

Mr. Dixson graduated from Pepperdine University, where he earned a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a minor in Non-profit Management, Certificate in Criminal Legal Practice, Master’s in Dispute Resolution, Juris Doctorate.


Andrew Blan

Andrew Blan serves as the Treasurer of the Wiley M. Manuel Bar Association. Andrew is an Associate at Duggan McHugh Law Corporation. He represents employers in all manner of legal or litigation matters, including employee discipline/termination, workplace investigations, and discrimination complaints. Andrew’s previous experience includes serving as an attorney for the California Department of Managed Health Care and in the California State Legislature, where he focused on issues related to Public Safety, Banking & Finance, Health, Labor, and Economic Development.

Andrew received his undergraduate degree from the University of San Francisco and his law degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. While at McGeorge, Andrew earned a concentration in Trial and Appellate Advocacy, was the Student Body President, and received two awards for outstanding student service. Andrew spends much of his free time with his family and travels as much as possible. He hopes to visit all 50 states.


Ania Williams

Ania received her associate’s degree in Social Studies from College of San Mateo and bachelor’s degree in Political Science from San Francisco State University. A San Francisco Bay Area native, she relocated to Sacramento and earned her Juris Doctor from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, where she was a member of the Criminal Law Society. During law school, Ania interned for both the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office and a private criminal defense firm, where she honed her skills in legal research and writing.

After law school, Ania became a panel attorney with the Sacramento County Conflict Criminal Defender’s Office, where she is the lead attorney for the post-conviction relief department. She represents state prison clients in resentencing proceedings, including youthful offenders in Franklin proceedings. Ania has been a part of the criminal defense community of Sacramento since 2016, and as a practicing attorney since 2021. In her free time, she enjoys playing board games, reading autobiographies and spending time with her partner, also a criminal defense attorney, and son.


Brittany Johnson

Brittany is an associate attorney at Ogletree Deakins. She represents employers in a variety of employment related matters. Her practice mainly focuses on single plaintiff discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination claims. She received her B.A. from Sonoma State University and her J.D. from McGeorge School of Law. When she has time, Brittany enjoys reading, attending sporting events, spending time with family and friends, and crossing items off her ever-growing bucket list.


Fhanysha Clark Gaddis

Ms. Gaddis received her undergraduate degrees in Afro-American studies, Sociology, and Public Policy from the University of California: Los Angeles. She earned her graduate degrees from Pepperdine University School of Law and School of Public Policy; respectively. After practicing in Los Angeles, the proud Southern California girl fell in-love with a Sacramento-native and relocated to Sacramento.

Ms. Gaddis is a licensed attorney and conflict management professional skilled in training professionals in diplomatically and engaging executive management to actively address specific and organizational concerns. Ms. Gaddis is acknowledged as an analytical thinker focused on researching, dissecting and evaluating organizational policy and procedures to ensure agency alignment with policy.

Throughout her years in civil litigation, Mrs. Gaddis receives recognition for her ability to help clients mitigate costs (and maintain relationships) through a comprehensive and proactive conflict management model.Mrs. Gaddis specializes in advises boards, commissions and departments within municipal and education law. She currently services as General Counsel for a local school district. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, wine tasting and spending time with her family.


Legal Education
Patrice Huber

Carmen-Nicole Cox

Fundraising and Finance
Eugene Willis
Ryan Harrison

Public Relations
Ania Williams

Judicial Appointments
Eugene Willis
Ryan Harrison
Keith Staten

Law Student Liaisons
Saleisha Ellis (Davis)
Khaill Furgeson (McGeorge)