During the 4th Diversity Symposium, Big Law Business convened an exclusive audience of in-house counsel, law firm partners and diversity professionals who are committed to promoting diversity in the profession and seeking solutions.
Unique in bringing together leaders of corporate legal departments and law firms to address the diversity & inclusion challenge, in 2017 Big Law Business invited attendees to create a new class of law firm leaders.
Diversity and inclusion metrics rise when in-house counsel join the conversation – clients can support diverse attorneys by providing increased opportunities, requesting diversity on pitches, and confirming origination credit.
Big Law Business highlighted corporate counsel success stories as well as facilitating a workshop on how to have the tough conversations on accountability for diversity and inclusion measures.
For highlights from the 2017 Big Law Diversity & Inclusion Symposium, visit https://bol.bna.com/4th-diversity-symposium-recap-videos/.
8:00 AM Registration & Networking Breakfast
8:25 AM Welcome Remarks
Michael MacKay, President, Bloomberg BNA Plus
8:30 AM Leading the Profession: Success Stories
Corporate legal departments see the most successful relationships when their goals and their law firm’s priorities are aligned. Hear how peers are approaching this effort and measuring success.
9:00 AM Inspiring Accountability: A Workshop
Workshop Leader: Gabrielle Lyse Brown, Director of Diversity & Inclusion, New York City Bar Association
Big Law Business will facilitate a workshop on how to have the tough conversations on accountability for diversity and inclusion measures.
Explore solutions to inspire leaders to create the incentives, models, and structures to increase diversity and stronger inclusion of ideas and skills in the profession. Topics include:
9:45 AM Symposium Wrap-Up
Accountability measures that resonate: how the workshop results match back to traditional measurements of progress in the diversity of the legal profession.
10:00 AM Closing Remarks
1101 K St NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20005
Mike MacKay was named President of Cross Platform Businesses – now Bloomberg BNA Plus – in November 2016.
He joined Bloomberg BNA in March 2014 as Vice President, Cross Platform Businesses. In that role, he was responsible for commercial operations with a focus on driving direct and indirect growth.
Previously, he held a number of leadership roles during his near 15-year tenure at Bloomberg LP developing international experience. As Chief of Staff for Bloomberg’s Chief Operating Office, MacKay helped establish the group’s strategy and manage day-to-day operations. In a similar capacity, he was Chief of Staff for Bloomberg's Data Products business, managing the central office with responsibility for shared services, organizational design, business planning, project management, business reporting, and integration of new businesses. Here, MacKay worked closely with the leadership teams across Global Data, Data Solutions, Data Acquisition and the Industry Verticals.
MacKay joined Bloomberg in Global Data in New Jersey where he held various positions. In 2004, he relocated to Hong Kong to serve as head of Global Data for North East Asia, building out Bloomberg's localized coverage in the region. In 2008, he moved to New York as global head of Exchange Business Management, which provides relevant exchange pricing and market data. In 2010, he was named global head of Data Acquisitions Implementations, with responsibility for contributed over-the-counter pricing and third-party research.
MacKay has a bachelor’s degree in business communications from Calvin College.
Brian P. Brooks is Fannie Mae’s Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary. Mr. Brooks oversees the Legal Department and Government and Industry Relations. He serves as a senior advisor to the Chief Executive Officer and the Board of Directors.
Before joining Fannie Mae in November 2014, Mr. Brooks was Vice Chairman of OneWest Bank, where he served as chief legal officer and oversaw the bank’s fair lending, corporate customer experience, and mortgage marketing and communications groups. In that position, he advised executive management and the board of directors on legal, risk, and strategic issues; developed and implemented strategies to manage litigation and government inquiries; led deal teams for strategic transactions; and led the bank’s compliance with regulatory orders on mortgage servicing and foreclosures. Before that, Mr. Brooks was a Managing Partner at the global law firm O’Melveny & Myers, where he led an office of more than 150 attorneys, represented major financial services companies in a variety of litigation and enforcement matters, and played a lead role in crafting the banking industry’s response to the 2010–2011 foreclosure crisis.
Mr. Brooks has a bachelor of arts in government from Harvard University and a juris doctorate from the University of Chicago.
Gabrielle Lyse Brown is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the New York City Bar, where she leads the Association’s efforts to enhance diversity in the legal profession across a broad range of internal and external constituents, including law firms, corporate legal departments, nonprofit organizations and educators to foster diverse and inclusive work environments. Previously, she founded the City Bar’s Pipeline Initiative, which provides comprehensive programming for inner-city students to address academic support and enrichment, professional and substantive skill development, networking/mentoring opportunities and exposure to the legal profession.
Gabrielle is committed to diversity in the profession and is active in several like-minded organizations. She is a member of the Executive Board of Directors of Practicing Attorneys for Law Students, Inc. (PALS), the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (IILP) Advisory Board, The Association for Legal Career Professionals (NALP), the Oberlin College Alumni Council, and is a 2014 Council of Urban Professionals (CUP) Fellow and member of the Alumni Board. She speaks regularly on developing diversity and inclusion initiatives, professional readiness, mentoring, and networking.
Karen McCain Borno serves as lead counsel for Verizon’s Enterprise Product Development organization which creates cutting edge solutions for Verizon’s business customers. Ms. Borno manages a group of attorneys responsible for commercializing Internet of Things (IoT), Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones), Next Generation Network, Advanced Communications, Enterprise Wireless, Security and SMB products. She oversees negotiations with strategic technology partners, supports M&A in product growth areas, and monitors Verizon’s business products for compliance across a broad range of issues.
Ms. Borno is co-chair of the Verizon Legal Diversity and Inclusion Council and routinely speaks on panels regarding diversity and inclusion best practices. She is also on the Executive Board for the Product and New Business Women’s Association of Verizon Employees Inspire Group, serves on the Leaders Network Advisory Counsel for the Ron Brown Scholar Program, and previously served as co-chair of the ACC National Capital Region’s IT and Technology Forum. Before joining Verizon, she was an attorney in the e-commerce and Intellectual Property group of NASDAQ’s Office of General Counsel.
Ms. Borno is a graduate of Wake Forest University School of Law and earned her BA with honors from Hampton University.
Meredith Fuchs is Senior Vice President, Chief Counsel, Regulatory Advisory at Capital One. In this capacity, Fuchs leads the company’s horizontal regulatory legal function supporting all lines of business and corporate staff functions.
Ms. Fuchs joined Capital One from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), where she was General Counsel and Acting Deputy Director after serving as Chief of Staff to CFPB Director Richard Cordray.
Prior to the CFPB, she held roles as the Chief Investigative Counsel of the United States House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, as Vice President and General Counsel at The National Security Archive at George Washington University, and as a litigation partner at Wiley, Rein & Fielding in Washington, D.C.
She has served as an officer on the D.C. Bar Board of Governors, and is the recipient of the American Library Association’s James Madison Award, and was named to the National Law Journal’s list of 75 Outstanding Women Lawyers. Ms. Fuchs served as a law clerk for Judge Patricia M. Wald on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Paul L. Friedman on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
She is a graduate of the New York University School of Law and the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Justin Connor, Senior Counsel and Director of Chief Legal Officer Services, Association of Corporate Counsel
Justin Connor is Senior Counsel and Director of Chief Legal Officer Services at the Association of Corporate Counsel, where he is responsible for all matters relating to the more than 8,100 general counsel and chief legal officer ACC members who head law departments at 10,000 organizations worldwide in 90 countries. Justin’s work includes developing executive education programs, editing ACC publications for CLOs, creating relevant programming, events and partnerships and developing opportunities for networking, sharing and benchmarking among general counsel and chief legal officers.
Before joining the ACC, Justin was previously in-house counsel to a mobile telecommunications security company and a satellite telecommunications provider in Northern Virginia. Justin also practiced law overseas for five years in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where he was the general counsel to a sovereign investment firm in telecommunications. Before going in-house, Justin practiced telecommunications law at the largest independent law firm in the Middle East, after winning a U.S. Fulbright fellowship to teach law in Lebanon. Before moving to the Middle East, Justin was telecommunications lawyer for six years at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. Justin began his U.S. legal career as an associate in the Washington DC office of the law firm Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe. Justin is a member of bar in New York, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.
Nikia L. Gray, Partner, Quarles & Brady LLP
Nikia Gray is a Partner in the firm’s Intellectual Property Group, devoting most of her practice to district court litigation, particularly high-stakes competitor litigation, in the areas of patent, trademark, copyright, and unfair competition. Ms. Gray also has extensive expertise with administrative proceedings before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, including Inter Partes Review and Post-Grant Review, and a thriving trademark and patent prosecution practice.
Ms. Gray’s legal expertise is complemented by practical experience gained as a physicist. Before becoming a lawyer, Ms. Gray worked for several years in the private sector developing optical software solutions for the illumination industries. Ms. Gray also actively participates in firm administration, including serving as the Washington D.C. Chair of Quarles & Brady’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, the Washington D.C. Chair of Quarles & Brady’s Women’s Forum, and a member of the IP Litigation Client Development Committee.
Drew Gulley, Program Manager, Diversity & Inclusion at Bloomberg LP
Drew Gulley is a Program Manager, Diversity & Inclusion at Bloomberg LP. As a member of Bloomberg’s global Diversity & Inclusion team, Drew provides strategic direction and subject matter expertise to a portfolio of business units and employee resource groups.
Drew’s current business guidance includes Bloomberg’s Financial Products groups, Legal, and Chief Risk & Compliance functions. In addition, he has oversight across the Military & Veterans and Abilities Communities, serving also as the contact and catalyst for relationships with external partners in those affinities. Drew is responsible for advocating for policy changes, including, for example, parental policies and support for public non-discrimination positions.
Prior to joining Bloomberg, Drew was Director of Strategic Partner Programs at Lambda Legal. His background also includes work as a bank finance associate with Latham & Watkins LLP and as a law clerk on the Federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Drew received his J.D. from the Maurice A. Dean School of Law at Hofstra University, summa cum laude, and holds a B.A. from Drake. He is currently a member of the New York City Bar Association’s LGBT Rights Committee and the Enhancing Diversity in the Profession Committee.
Audrey Jean, Corporate Counsel and Director, Bloomberg BNA
Audrey-Jean-205 Audrey Jean joined Bloomberg BNA in July 2014 as Corporate Counsel and Director. In this role, she provides legal and strategic counsel and support to all of Bloomberg BNA’s business and operational units.
Previously, Jean was in-house counsel at Discovery Communications for seven years, where she focused on content distribution agreements in cable television as well as online K-12 learning. Prior to that, Jean practiced corporate law for five years at two multinational law firms, working on various domestic and international mergers and acquisitions, financing and other commercial transactions across a broad range of industries.
Jean was a Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Asian Employee Resource Group at Discovery Communications. She is a member of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and serves on the Mentorship Committee of NAPABA’s Women’s Leadership Network.
Jean has a B.A. from Princeton University and a J.D. from Georgetown University.
Amin Kassam, Senior Counsel, Bloomberg L.P.
Amin Kassam is Senior Counsel at Bloomberg L.P. where he specializes in litigating and advising on complex legal issues involving technology, intellectual property, data security, and new media. Amin currently serves as the global co-lead for Bloomberg’s LGBT & Ally Community (BProud) and as the Diversity Champion for Bloomberg’s Legal Department where he oversees the development and implementation of the Department’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Amin also serves on the Board of Directors of the New York Civil Liberties Union and is actively involved with the South Asian and Muslim Bar Associations of New York. He holds a law degree from Columbia University and began his career clerking for the Honorable Judge Emilio M. Garza of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the Honorable Chief Judge Hector M. Laffitte of the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico.
Susan Lang, Lime Connect President/CEO
Susan Lang is a founder, and president/CEO, of Lime Connect - the premier resource for top talent in the disability space in the United States and Canada that is focused on “rebranding disability through achievement.” She has led the growth and development of Lime Connect from concept stage prior to its inception as a not for profit in 2006, cultivating and managing the organization's high-level corporate, pro bono and community strategic partnerships in addition to overseeing all day to day operations. Ms. Lang has an extensive background in marketing, communications and executive level management in both corporate and not-for-profit settings and is a frequent speaker on the strengths and talent that people with disabilities possess.
Sharla C. Toller, Managing Director, Major, Lindsey & Africa
Sharla C. Toller is a Managing Director in our In-House Practice Group, based in Washington, D.C. She specializes in placing attorneys at all levels within corporate legal departments nationwide, with a focus on the higher education sector and in diversity recruiting. She gives her all to each search she undertakes, only presenting candidates that match the qualifications and cultural fit to her client. Sharla is very active within Major, Lindsey & Africa, co-founding the MLA African American Washington, D.C., Area Networking Dinner series. She is also a member of the firm's Diversity Council.
Prior to joining Major, Lindsey & Africa, Sharla was a practicing attorney. She began her legal career as a general civil litigator at a mid-sized law firm in Roanoke, Virginia. She went on to practice insurance defense litigation as an associate at Troutman Sanders in Washington, D.C.
Merle Vaughn, Managing Director, Major, Lindsey & Africa
Merle Vaughn is Major, Lindsey & Africa’s National Law Firm Diversity Practice Leader and a Partner Recruiter based in the Los Angeles office. Since becoming a recruiter in 2003, Merle has been involved in several high-profile law firm partner and in-house placements in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. She has also been retained by corporations and law firms specifically for her expertise in the area of diversity recruiting.
Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) recently honored Merle by naming her co-chair of its Southern California leadership. She is a sought-after speaker who is frequently asked to moderate and speak as a thought leader in the area of diversity. Merle received her J.D. from the University of California – Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law. While at Boalt, she was a judicial extern for the Honorable Harry Pregerson, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, a member of the High Technology Law Journal and she taught Street Law to inner city youth.
Founded in 1982, Major, Lindsey & Africa is largest and most experienced legal search firm in the world. With more than 25 offices worldwide, Major, Lindsey & Africa has earned recognition for its track record of successful general counsel, corporate counsel, partner, associate and law firm management placements. The firm also provides law firms and companies with highly specialized legal professionals on project, interim and temporary-to-permanent hire basis. Combining local market knowledge and a global recruiting network, Major, Lindsey & Africa recruiters are dedicated to understanding and meeting client and candidate needs while maintaining the highest degree of professionalism and confidentiality. The firm considers every search a diversity search and has been committed to diversity in the law since its inception. Major, Lindsey & Africa is an Allegis Group company, the global leader in talent solutions. www.mlaglobal.com.
Quarles & Brady is a full-service law firm with more than 500 attorneys offering an array of legal services to corporate and individual clients that range from small entrepreneurial businesses to Fortune 100 companies, with practice focuses in health care and life sciences, business law, data privacy and security, and complex litigation. The firm has offices in Chicago; Indianapolis; Madison; Milwaukee; Naples, Florida; Phoenix; Scottsdale; Tampa; Tucson; and Washington, D.C.
Survey results from the first Big Law Business Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report reveal that a substantial majority of law firm respondents – 69 percent – say that the most prevalent challenge in advancing diversity and inclusion at their law firms is implicit or unconscious bias.
In 2016 Big Law Business hosted a series of invite-only dinners for corporate counsel focused on diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. The dinners facilitated peer-to-peer discussions of on strategies including recruitment pipelines, succession planning, retention strategies and other internal efforts critical to successful diversity and inclusion for in-house legal teams.
The 2016 series included a coast-to-coast lineup of dinner events, underwritten by Paul Hastings.
The 2016 Corporate Counsel dinner series was underwritten by Paul Hastings.
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