2014-15 Diversity & Inclusion Committee
The Diversity & Inclusion Committee examines the extent to which MCB and legal entities have successfully incorporated lawyers from traditionally underrepresented groups in their organization. The committee provides recommendations for addressing matters related to diversity and inclusion; and proposes methods for measuring the success of efforts to address these issues. The committee also implements programming for members, the community as well as pipelining opportunities.
Amina DeBurst, Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator - firstname.lastname@example.org or 704/375-8624
Volunteer Need / Commitment
Members of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee attend bi-monthly committee meetings, write newsletter articles, implement programming in accordance with the Call to Action plan, evaluate diversity initiative effectiveness and discuss ways to better serve MCB. Interested in joining this committee or one of its subcommittees? Complete the committee interest form.
2013-14 Diversity & Inclusion Committee Report
William P. Farthing Jr., Chair & Corie Pauling, Vice-Chair
The Mecklenburg County Bar Diversity & Inclusion Committee had an active and productive 2013-14. Thanks to the efforts of dedicated Committee members, the Committee continued to sustain the diversity pipeline and become more focused and intentional about shaping future diversity efforts.
The Committee’s meetings added a component on sharing “best practices” in diversity at our respective firms. The Committee instituted this change in order to expose our signatory firms to “best practices” in our own legal community and to inspire a renewed understanding of and commitment to the benefits of diversity programs. It is our hope that these reports will continue to enable a growing sophistication in diversity programs throughout our legal community.
The Committee’s historical and ongoing work is executed through its four active subcommittees:
Bench, Bar, and Community Subcommittee
The Bench and Bar Subcommittee, led by the Hon. Ty Hands, made great strides in collaboration this year through the following innovative programming:
1. The Continuing Legal Education program known as the “Let’s Talk” series worked closely with the MCB sections, divisions and affinity bars. The CLE provided our attorneys with direct access to District, Superior and Federal Court Judges and court personnel and learning through that exposure and advice.
2. The Lunch with a Lawyer program — an award winning pipeline program – matched 60 students with mentors. The program afforded 8th grade students monthly one-on-one meetings with attorney mentors, a tour of the Mecklenburg County Courthouse and a mock trial on Fri., Jun. 6, with Hon. Albert Diaz.
3. The subcommittee organized a collaborative, community engagement project in the Hidden Valley Community for the second year. A legal clinic and “Know Your Rights” town hall took place on Sat., May 31. This effort was held in collaboration with the MCB’s Community Service Committee, Justice Initiatives and the Hidden Valley community association. The event, sponsored by the Charlotte School of Law, the John S. Leary Bar of Black Attorneys and MCB’s YLD yielded over 50 volunteers and participants. The town hall consisted of key court officials along with defense attorneys and youth advocates. The legal clinic occurred simultaneously with park clean up and covered civil, criminal, employment and family law.
4. In February, the subcommittee presented the 2014 Julius L. Chambers Diversity Champion Award to Elisa Chinn-Gary. The Award celebrates individuals who have advanced the cause of diversity and equal opportunity in our community.
Charlotte Legal Diversity Clerkship Subcommittee
Eight stellar first-year law students joined the ranks of Charlotte law firms and legal departments this summer through the Charlotte Legal Diversity Clerkship (CLDC) program. The program received more than 100 applications from more than 30 law schools across the country for the highly competitive positions. During the students’ 12-week stay, the CLDC clerks participated in professional and social activities highlighting the benefits of working and living in Charlotte. The 2014 CLDC program featured luncheons with members of our judiciary, local and state government, a theatrical performance and a trip to the U.S. National Whitewater Center.
The participating law firms and legal departments include: Alston & Bird; Bank of America Legal; Compass USA, Inc.; Duke Energy Progress Legal Department; K&L Gates; Mayer Brown; McGuireWoods; Moore & Van Allen; Parker, Poe, Adams & Bernstein; Piedmont Natural Gas; Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson; TIAA-CREF; Time Warner Cable; and Wells Fargo & Company.
Community Outreach Subcommittee
On Sat., Mar. 15, the Community Outreach Subcommittee hosted its ninth annual Diversity Day conference at UNC Charlotte’s Cone Center. The program provided students from a wide range of age groups the opportunity to learn about the roles lawyers have in society. Keynote speaker Hon. Rickye McKoy-Mitchell, 26th Judicial District Court Judge, encouraged attending students to consider a career in the law and to pursue a path to the bench in order to enhance diversity at all levels of our justice system.
Representatives from all nine law schools in North and South Carolina were present to provide perspectives and information to inquiring students. MCB volunteer attorneys attended the conference to talk about their professional experiences with students during lunch.
Law Firm and Legal Department Subcommittee
The Annual Meeting of Signatories was held on Dec. 4 at Foundation for the Carolinas. It hosted a reception that included James Strother, General Counsel of Wells Fargo & Company, as the keynote speaker.
The Law Firm and Legal Department hosted its second annual Diversity Signatory Leaders’ Roundtable as a follow up to the annual meeting of signatories. Managing Partners and General Counsels were present to discuss diversity topics, including the 2013 Benchmarking report compiled by the Committee, current issues or trends within their respective workplaces, and diversity recruitment and retention.
The Diversity & Inclusion Committee anticipates another successful year ahead. We wish to thank our Committee volunteers and local affinity bars for their continued support of the MCB’s efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive legal community.