#BZFriday: NLSC Attorney Earns Award, Selected for the Executive Leadership Development Program

By Lt. Kaylan E. Kaatz, Region Legal Service Office Naval District Washington

Region Legal Service Office Naval District Washington (RLSO NDW) is proud to announce that Erica S. Riley has been selected to participate in the Department of Defense’s (DoD) prestigious and highly competitive Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP). Riley will be in the 2020 ELDP cohort.

RLSO NDW also is pleased to report that, during a reception on Aug. 6 in Dallas, Texas, Riley was awarded a 2019 Blacks in Government (BIG) Military Meritorious Service Award. BIG annually honors a small number of uniformed and civilian leaders from across each military service who’ve excelled in support of DoD’s mission and best epitomize their military service’s core values.

Riley currently serves as Co-Director for the Legal Assistance Department and the Supervising Attorney at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Legal Assistance Office. Each branch of service annually nominates a limited number of highly qualified civilians for the ELDP program and fewer yet are selected by DoD for entry in the program. Likewise, only nine individuals are selected each year to receive BIG’s prestigious award.

“Ms. Riley’s 2019 ELDP selection – and her special honor from BIG – is a reflection of her professionalism, her demonstrated leadership ability and the quality of her character,” said RLSO NDW Commanding Officer Capt. Rock DeTolve. “From her early years as a staff attorney representing children in foster care proceedings at the Baltimore City Child Advocacy Division, to her current position leading our Legal Assistance Department and personally providing tailored legal solutions to DoD service members and their families, she has epitomized the values of servant leadership.”

Riley has been a member of RLSO NDW and the JAG community for the past three years. Prior to that, she served for many years as a legal aid attorney for the state of Maryland and a self-help attorney in the Maryland court system. She has experience in a range of legal matters including guardianship and foster care proceedings, custody, child support, divorce, landlord-tenant, domestic violence cases, and others.

She was very excited to join RLSO NDW in 2016, as it provided her an opportunity to continue working in the practice areas she was familiar with while also expanding her legal practice to include estate planning, immigration/personal citizenship, and military rights and benefits while working on behalf of service members and their dependents. One of the things Riley enjoys most about her job is working with and mentoring the JAG community’s First Tour Judge Advocates and sharing her love of the law with them.

“I am grateful to RLSO NDW for nominating me and to BIG for selecting me as the 2019 Navy recipient of the Military Meritorious Service Award,” said Riley. “Attending the 2019 BIG reception, meeting the other eight recipients, and hearing about their accomplishments was inspiring. They epitomize the BIG motto ‘achieving excellence in the workplace.’”

“I’m also very appreciative of the support provided by RLSO NDW that will allow me to participate in the ELDP’s 2020 Cohort. A heartfelt thank you to all who made this possible,” she added.

Riley originally hails from New Orleans, La., but grew up in Fort Washington, Md. She graduated from Tulane University Law School. She has spent her entire legal career in the public sector, serving those in need of legal assistance. She previously worked for the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau and Montgomery County Maryland’s Circuit Court Family Law Self-Help Center, providing advice on a diverse range of matters including child advocacy, family law, landlord-tenant law, and consumer protection.

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