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August 22, 2011

Philadelphia Bar Association’s Office of Diversity to Present National Symposium on Diversity in the Legal Profession, November 8

Chief legal officers, law firm managing partners and diversity thought-leaders from across the nation will gather in Philadelphia on Tuesday, November 8 to discuss advancing diversity in the legal profession at the National Symposium on Diversity in the Legal Profession, presented by the Philadelphia Bar Association's Office of Diversity at The Union League of Philadelphia.

The event will feature opening keynote remarks by Robert J. Grey, Jr., executive director of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity and a past president of the American Bar Association. Three continuing legal education (CLE) credits will be available during the half-day program, which begins with a luncheon at 12:30 p.m. followed by an opening plenary and four concurrent breakout sessions. The event concludes with a VIP Networking Reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

"There is currently a scarcity of diverse lawyers in the profession, as well as in the pipeline," said Curtis Mack, a partner at the law firm of McGuireWoods LLP and the Symposium chair. "Yet, as the philosopher Voltaire opined, 'No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.'"
Some of the topics to be discussed will be best practices for the recruitment, retention and advancement of women and diverse attorneys; benchmarks to measure success; the roles white men can play to advance diversity and inclusion in corporate legal departments and law firms; generational diversity; and successful pipeline and mentoring programs.

A range of influential speakers will share their insights, including:

  • Thomas E. Cabaniss, managing partner, McGuireWoods LLP
  • Mark A. Hershey, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary, Armstrong World Industries, Inc.
  • H. Eric Hilton, senior vice president, secretary and general counsel, H.J. Russell & Company and Concessions International, LLC
  • Alan J. Hoffman, co-chair and managing partner, Blank Rome LLP
  • John L. Latham, partner, Alston & Bird LLP
  • James G. Leipold, executive director, NALP: The Association for Legal Career Professionals
  • Robert A. Nicholas, partner and global director of legal personnel, Reed Smith LLP
  • Karl A. Racine, managing partner, Venable LLP
  • Robin Sangston, vice president, legal affairs, Cox Communications, Inc.
  • Joel C. Trotter, senior counsel, GlaxoSmithKline
  • Michael K. Tucker, executive vice president and general counsel, Avis Budget Group, Inc.
  • LeRoy Watkins, partner, Jackson Lewis LLP
  • Sherry D. Williams, senior vice president, chief ethics and compliance officer, Halliburton
  • Sandra S. Yamate, chief executive officer, Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession.

"The National Symposium on Diversity in the Legal Profession will provide an excellent opportunity for the legal profession to impose its collective will on a problem that plagues the profession," said Scott W. Reid, a member at the law firm of Cozen O'Connor and the Philadelphia Bar Association's Cabinet-level diversity chair. "For decades we've talked about what we should do to diversify the profession. This Symposium will connect people who will take substantive action toward this worthy goal."

Advisory Board members hail from Washington, D.C.; Chicago, IL; Atlanta, GA; Miami, FL; Richmond, VA; Charlotte, NC; Houston, TX; and Philadelphia. They include:

  • Marcia A. Auberger, partner, Venable LLP
  • Wilma Beaty, former vice president, chief human resources officer, general counsel and secretary, Caraustar Industries, Inc.
  • Sonya Brantley, senior corporate counsel, Compass Group
  • Albert S. Dandridge, III, partner, Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP
  • Dineen Garcia, vice president, diversity strategies, Macy's, Inc.
  • Doug Gaston, senior vice president and general counsel, Comcast Cable
  • Sayde Joy Ladov, shareholder, Dolchin, Slotkin & Todd, P.C. and past Chancellor, Philadelphia Bar Association
  • Sophia Lee, chief counsel-litigation, Sunoco, Inc.
  • Christopher Lewis, partner, chief officer for diversity and inclusion, Blank Rome LLP
  • A. Michael Pratt, partner, Pepper Hamilton LLP and past Chancellor, Philadelphia Bar Association
  • Roberta G. Torian, counsel, Reed Smith LLP
  • Marilou E. Watson, partner, Fox Rothschild LLP
  • Charles Phillip Wells, partner, Williams Mullen
  • Gerry L. Williams, partner, DLA Piper

"Diversity is a pursuit in which good flows directly from right," said Mark Stewart, chair of the law firm of Ballard Spahr and a Symposium panelist. "When we provide opportunities for lawyers of all backgrounds, we align ourselves with our clients and we enhance the quality of our legal representation."

Rudolph Garcia, shareholder, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC is the Association's first Hispanic Chancellor.

For additional information, contact Naomi K. McLaurin, Esq., director of diversity at the Philadelphia Bar Association, at 215-238-6340 or email More details, including registration and sponsorship opportunities and information on hotel accommodations at The Union League of Philadelphia, can also be found at

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