MCCA’s Statement on Vernon Jordan’s Passing
Last night, our legal community lost a giant.
From an early age, Vernon Jordan saw the law the way we see it at MCCA: as a vehicle for change. One of his first cases was Holmes v. Danner, which led to the desegregation of the University of Georgia — a school that had once rejected him because he was Black. Mr. Jordan played an instrumental role in the Civil Rights Movement, leading voter registration drives and building support for civil rights from the outside. Later in his career, he took his fight for equal rights to the inside, serving on corporate boards and advising CEOs on how they could build a corporate America that actually looks like America.
Mr. Jordan saw it as his lifelong responsibility to give back to the causes and organizations closest to his heart—including MCCA. When our organization was first getting started, he pulled out his Rolodex and started calling general counsel who shared our mission and values. In later years, Mr. Jordan would be a mentor to much of the next generation of diverse legal talent, and ensure they shared his commitment to giving back. Throughout his life, he remained a tireless champion of our work to change the face of the legal profession — so much so that in 2011, we awarded him with the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award. His acceptance speech demonstrated his unending commitment to the cause: “My only twinge of regret in accepting your award is its title, the Lifetime Achievement Award. I don’t like the finality of that one bit. So, let the record show that my work is not done. And let me remind you that your work is not done.”
We are all better off for the life, and legacy, of Vernon Jordan. Let us honor his contributions on the road to equal opportunity, and continue on the path he paved. As he reminded us, our work is not done.
The Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) is the preeminent voice on diversity, inclusion and equity in the legal industry. It was founded in 1997 with a mission to recruit, retain and promote diverse attorneys by publishing research to providing professional development opportunities to offering advisory services. Today, MCCA empowers members with the tools needed to disrupt business as usual – and to blaze a path forward for their company, industry and corporate America.