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 and pipelining opportunities.
|2021-22 Chair||2021-22 Vice-Chair|
|Class of 2022||Class of 2023||Class of 2024|
Hon. Renee Little
Zachary H. Smith
Alexandra V. O'Rourke
Best Practices on Diversity - Bank of America
Best Practices on Diversity - Duke Energy
Best Practices on Diversity - McGuireWoods
Best Practices on Diversity - Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson
Best Practices on Diversity - Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice
Volunteer Need / Commitment
Members of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee attend bi-monthly committee meetings, write newsletter articles, implement programming in accordance with the Statement of Purpose, evaluate diversity initiative effectiveness and discuss ways to better serve MCB.
2020-21 Year-End Report
Hon. Rickye McCoy-Mitchell, Co-Chair, and Adam Doerr, Co-Chair
The Mecklenburg County Bar (MCB) Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Committee had an active and productive year. In addition to carrying out core programs as they currently exist, the committee reviewed D&I programming for future sustainability with the aim towards membership-wide inclusion.
Over the last decade, the MCB has focused on D&I programming funded and coordinated primarily by large firms and corporate legal departments. These efforts have made a difference within the participating firms and legal departments, and the entire Bar, but there is more to do. With the MCB strategic plan that calls for infusion of diversity throughout the Bar and a focus on membership inclusion, the D&I Committee and subcommittees are focused on D&I efforts expanding beyond the large firms and legal departments.
The MCB has a diversity statement and a Call to Action that identifies the importance of recruiting and retaining diverse attorneys to the legal profession in Mecklenburg County. The D&I Committee believes that after 10 years, a review is in order. Additionally, the MCB, particularly via its Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator, and D&I Committee are working to identify ways to ensure all members feel welcomed and encouraged to participate in MCB activities. The MCB is diverse in a number of ways, including, but not limited to, practice areas, race, gender, ethnicity, firm size, age, location within the county, and practice entity, i.e. public vs. private, etc.
In February, the committee presented posthumously the 2021 Julius L. Chambers Diversity Champion Award to J. Charles Jones. The award celebrates individuals who have advanced the cause of diversity and equal opportunity in the community. Known for his civil activism, Charles Jones left a huge mark on Charlotte: he helped organize some of the first lunch-counter sit-ins in Charlotte.
The committee’s ongoing work was executed through three subcommittees:
Minority Lawyer Mentoring Program
The MLMP Subcommittee, chaired by Dana Lumsden, is a mentoring program that encourages and supports diverse attorneys in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg legal community. This year the MLMP Subcommittee kicked off its first program year by matching 15 young diverse attorneys with senior attorneys from Charlotte’s legal community.
MLMP seeks to expand and allow Minority and Women Owned Law Firm and members of Affinity Bars to become mentees and all firms to become mentors.
Charlotte Legal Diversity Clerkship Subcommittee
10 top first-year law students joined the ranks of Charlotte law firms and corporate legal departments this summer through the Charlotte Legal Diversity Clerkship (CLDC) program. The CLDC program was led by Alysja Carlisle, Belk, Inc., and Christina Garrett, CLDC Class of 2014. The program received over 80 applications from over 30 law schools across the country for the highly competitive positions. During the students’ virtual program this year, the CLDC clerks will participated in professional and social activities highlighting the benefits of working and living in Charlotte. The 2021 CLDC program featured meet & greets with members of the county and federal judiciary – including meeting Hon. Albert Diaz and ample virtual social networking opportunities.
The participating employers included Alston & Bird, LLP; Bradley LLP; Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP; K&L Gates; Mayer Brown; McGuireWoods, LLP; Moore & Van Allen, PLLC; Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, LLP; Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A.; Troutman Sanders, LLP; Atrium Health, Bank of America; Duke Energy Corporation; Elevate Textiles; Honeywell; Husqvarna; Novant Health; Red Ventures; SPX Corporation and Wells Fargo & Company
In addition to preparing for the 2021 program, the CLDC Subcommittee focused on elevating the impact of the program by increasing the number of clerks and participating stakeholders while retaining the unique nature of the program as a partnership among primary legal employers in Mecklenburg County.
Pipeline Programming Subcommittee
The Pipeline Programming Subcommittee oversees the Lunch with a Lawyer (LWL) mentoring program for middle school children interested in the legal profession. The Subcommittee also coordinates the annual Increasing Diversity in the Legal Profession Conference, a free one-day conference for diverse high school and undergraduate students interested in the legal profession. Micheal Littlejohn and Emon Northe led the Pipeline Programming Subcommittee.
The Pipeline Programming Subcommittee virtually hosted the 14th annual Increasing Diversity in the Legal Profession conference where over 200 students from around the country attended. The students participated in series of panel discussions with over 30 attorney volunteers and were able to hear from U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Hon. Albert Diaz and his journey to the judicial bench. The Subcommittee is now planning the 15th year of the Increasing Diversity in the Legal Profession Conference to be held 2022 in a hybrid setting.
Future D&I Programming
The D&I Committee is working on a variety of initiatives to enhance the diversity of the Bar as well as the Charlotte legal community. The Committee is looking to host its first ever diversity job fair, which will bring in diverse third-year law school students to interview with firms, corporate legal departments, and local legal organizations. The Committee is in the beginning planning stages of this initiative.