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Notes From the Executive Director


Several decades from now, as legal historians and scholars look back at the early part of the 21st century, I wonder what will capture their attention. Certainly, they’ll write about the obvious high-profi le develop- ments: the election of a black former constitutional law professor to the United States presidency, the appoint- ments of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the careers of trailblazers like former MetLife General Counsel James Lipscomb. But I wonder how they’ll interpret the infl uence less- renowned lawyers of diverse backgrounds are having on the social, corporate, and legislative fabric of our society. Not to mention their infl uence on our profession. As future documentarians search the archives, I fully


expect them to consult the pages of Diversity & the Bar for insights. T en, it will be impossible for them to miss the stories of people like Benjamin Wilson and Grace Speights, who, as you’ll read in this edition, are among a small but growing number of lawyers who are the fi rst managing partners at their fi rms who are not white males. T ese lawyers have built their careers by adhering to the highest of professional standards and, as founding members of the African American Managing Partners Network, are committed to mentoring, supporting, and expanding the next generation of diverse attorneys who will stand alongside their counterparts as leaders in our profession. On these pages, future legal researchers will also

discover lawyers like Gary Norman, who, despite being visually impaired, is helping to lead his state toward more acceptance and inclusion not only for people with dis- abilities, but also for the animal guides who assist them. T e stories of lawyers such as David Codell and Kelly Perigoe will demonstrate the opportunities and chal- lenges facing attorneys who are open about their LGBT identities. T ey found career and personal satisfaction in small fi rms where they do what they love, while also helping to advance the cause of LGBT rights in America.

Publications Staff

CEO and Director of Publications Veta T. Richardson

Founder and Publisher Emeritus Lloyd M. Johnson, Jr.

Editor Joshua H. Shields


Publishing Consultants Bill Cox Cheryl Fields

Advertising Kevin Buck Lucy M. Jones Alexandra K. Kahl

Design/Art Direction QuadCreative

MCCA® Staff

Jennifer Chen Mahzarine Chinoy David Chu Donna Crook Brandon M. Fitzgerald Lori L. Garrett Jessica Martinez Connie Swindell-Harding

Contributing Writers Tom Calarco Patrick Folliard Chana Garcia Lori L. Garrett Jonathan Groner Kara Mayer Robinson Joshua H. Shields

Slowly, but surely, the barriers to full inclusion are

coming down in our society. T ey are falling thanks to the skill, leadership, and legal tenacity of lawyers like you who, together with the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, are helping to change and revitalize our nation for the better. As the outgoing executive director of MCCA, it has been my honor and joy to bear witness to your journey. I will miss the many ways in which you have allowed me to participate in supporting your advancement, and will forever cherish the many ways in which this experience has enriched my life. I look forward to continuing as a member and lending my support to my successor. T ank you for your countless well wishes. I wish you continued success.

VETA T. RICHARDSON Executive Director


Note: On July 1, Veta Richardson will start a new position as President & CEO of the Association of Corporate Counsel. Contact her at


Photo by John Abbott Photography

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