Adara Combs

Speaker
Executive DIrector

Adara L. Combs, Esq. currently serves as the Victim Advocate of Philadelphia. She has framed her career to give a voice to those who often go unheard, ensure that justice is done, and treat everyone with dignity and respect no matter what side of the courtroom they occupy. She finds purpose in being a voice for others and a source of care in a system that often feels hopeless.   Combs, born and raised in Philadelphia, is a former prosecutor who has been pursuing justice for all throughout her entire legal career. She graduated from the Philadelphia High School for Girls and next attended Franklin and Marshall College. Majoring in government and public policy, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree and began her career at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. There she first served as a Pre-Adjudicatory Juvenile Diversion Coordinator where she redirected children charged with minor offenses away from the court system to restorative justice options within the community.   During her time in juvenile diversion, Combs learned firsthand that advocacy combined with creativity could change the lives of all she encountered. It was that mindset that would shape the trajectory of her career and her brand of advocacy. She soon enrolled into the evening division at the Beasley School of Law at Temple University to pursue her legal education while simultaneously continuing her career at the District Attorney’s Office. Four years later, Combs received her Juris Doctorate degree along with other honors.   She next transitioned into the role of prosecutor and her fight for justice was taken to the courthouse where she quickly learned that her passion would be victim-centered crimes. Throughout her several-year career as a prosecutor, she advanced quickly through the ranks, served in various divisions, and prosecuted nearly every type of criminal case.  After handling numerous cases ranging from narcotics and gun-related offenses to sexual assaults, as either bench or jury trials, Combs was promoted to Assistant Supervisor of the Juvenile Division. Soon thereafter, she was promoted to Supervisor where she served until her departure. In January 2022, she was appointed by Mayor Jim Kenney to serve as Philadelphia's first Victim Advocate and lead the charge to elevate the voices of those impacted by violence.   Combs’ passion for justice has extended beyond the courtrooms into the local and national legal community. Currently, she is the President of the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, having also served on the Executive Board in other positions for several years. Combs has also been active in the National Black Prosecutors Association. Having initially served both locally and regionally, she was then elected to the national Executive Board where served for two terms as Secretary and one term as Vice President of Planning. Additionally, Combs sits on the board for the Public Interest Law Society, as well as 1000 Women Strong. In 2017, Combs was nominated and joined Leadership Philadelphia’s Keeper Class, a cohort of “young connectors, doers, and visionaries Philadelphia can’t afford to lose.”  In 2021, she was recognized by The Philadelphia Tribune as one of the “Most Influential African Americans.''  She was also recently featured by the American Bar Association and the Legal Intelligencer.   After having served as the voice for many families who were victimized, and tragically losing loved ones in her own family to violence, she will tirelessly support the victims in this City. Adara L. Combs, Esq. knows firsthand that the pursuit of justice involves all of us and can only be won through collaborative leadership while working in and with our communities.
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