2024 Citation

Goucher College is proud to present Nettie Cohen Blume, Class of 1976, with the 2024 Elizabeth Statuta Baker ’70 Public Service Award. Nettie has worked tirelessly within the legal system to ensure children are protected.

Nettie Cohen BlumeNettie is a lawyer who is dedicated to her community in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. After graduating from Goucher College with a degree in elementary education, she went to the University of Alabama Law School. She then joined the District Attorney’s Office in 1980, where she worked as the assistant district attorney for the circuit, district, and juvenile courts. After eight years, Nettie left to join her husband, Gary Blume, in private practice, switching from a prosecutor to a defense lawyer.

Not long after forming their practice, a woman approached Nettie’s husband to tell him he had saved her son’s life in court. That made Nettie think of the Jewish proverb that says, “If you save one life, it’s as if you save the entire world.” With all her connections and knowledge of the juvenile court, Nettie knew what it would take to protect children as a defense lawyer, and she knew she was up for the challenge. She and her husband have been involved in juvenile justice ever since.

There are many systemic injustices in the juvenile courts, which are set up to punish people—Black people in particular—who don’t have the resources to fight an unfair system. Nettie works hard for her clients because she has always believed that if you want something done, you don’t sit back and expect other people to do it.

She brings that attitude to everything she does. In addition to the juvenile court, Nettie’s practice also focuses on criminal defense, divorce, and custody. For divorce cases, she is certified as a guardian at litem, which means she is trained to represent the best interests of the child, a role she takes very seriously.

Nettie is dedicated not only to her work but also to her community. Currently, she is the president of the Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. She has won two merit awards for outstanding representation in a criminal case. And she has been active with the Alabama Center for Dispute Resolution. Nettie also started the booster club for the University of Alabama’s softball team, and she’s deeply involved with her family and the Jewish community in Tuscaloosa. As a defense lawyer in a small town, Nettie does whatever she can to protect her clients and to make her community stronger.

It is with great respect and appreciation for her accomplishments that the members of the Alumnae & Alumni of Goucher College recognize Nettie Cohen Blume with this award for excellence in public service.