MCCA Recognizes Two Companies, Two Firms in South/Southwest Region
The Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) bestowed four awards to diversity standouts in its South/Southwest Region during its annual Diversity Dinner.
Receiving MCCA’s Employer of Choice Award this year are the legal departments of Entergy Services, Inc., and Waste Management. They were chosen for demonstrating a commitment to diversity and creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace.
Two law firms, Abbott, Simses & Kuchler and Vinson & Elkins, were named recipients of the Thomas L. Sager Award, named in honor of the MCCA Chairman of the Board and DuPont Company Vice President and Assistant General Counsel. This award is given to law firms that demonstrate sustained commitment to improving the hiring, retention, and promotion of minority attorneys.
Prior to the awards dinner, MCCA hosted the Diversity Dialogue, a panel discussion of diversity best practices featuring the award winners. Larry Tu, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Dell, Inc., served as the moderator of the panel. Other panel participants included Lawrence Abbott, Managing Director of Abbott, Simses & Kuchler; Joe Dilg, Managing Partner of Vinson & Elkins; Robert D. Sloan, Executive Vice President, Secretary, and General Counsel of Energy Services, Inc., and Rick Wittenbraker, General Counsel of Waste Management. The Diversity Dialogue is part of a professional development series that gives attendees information about award-winning diversity initiatives in their local areas, as well as practical information they can take back to their companies.
Diversity Initiative 2008: Locating Minority- and Women-Owned Law Firms Serving Corporate America
One goal for many legal leaders involves having diverse legal professionals developing solutions to legal problems. General counsel who share this goal strive to hire a more diverse in-house legal staff, while also encouraging their outside law firms to use more-diverse talent. Despite this, a segment of the legal profession offering diverse talent—minority and women-owned law firms—has difficulty attracting work from larger corporations.
In 2005, the legal departments of five of America’s leading corporations—DuPont, General Motors, Sara Lee Corporation, Shell Oil Company, and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.—began an initiative to promote the increased use of minority- and women-owned law firms when outside counsel is needed. These five legal departments had assembled rosters of minority- and women-owned firms to which they already sent legal work. Nevertheless, many corporate legal departments are not aware of these firms or the solid legal work they are capable of handling.
What resulted is a Web site—www.minorityandwomenlawfirms.com—that includes dozens of minority- and women-owned law firms across the U.S. employed by DuPont, Shell, Wal-Mart, and other legal departments. The site is designed to make it as easy as possible to find a minority- or women-owned firm located in the state and legal practice area that may be needed. The site has an interactive map of the U.S., the firms’ major practice areas, and contact information to reach specific people in each firm.
The legal leaders of these corporations urge any and all in-house counsel to discover the advantages, talent, and value that these minority- and women-owned firms have to offer. DB
From the March/April 2008 issue of Diversity & The Bar®