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A strong commitment to creating a diverse work environment is central to Parker Poe’s core values and strategic vision. Parker Poe recognizes that promoting diversity among attorneys and staff is essential to the success of the Firm, its lawyers, employees and clients. The diverse background and experiences of Parker Poe’s attorneys and staff enrich our practice of law and our service to our clients.
To focus and enhance our diversity efforts, Parker Poe appointed a Director of Professional Development and Diversity, now named Chief Talent Officer, in 2006. Parker Poe was one of the first law firms in North Carolina to have a lawyer provide this type of central oversight of diversity and inclusion initiatives. The Firm also created a Diversity Committee which is charged with developing, monitoring and evaluating Parker Poe’s initiatives and progress in recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce and creating a firm-wide atmosphere of inclusiveness.
Parker Poe seeks to hire the most qualified professional staff while enhancing our diversity. As a result, we have assembled a group of lawyers and professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds and political affiliations in all of our offices in North Carolina and South Carolina. Parker Poe’s Chief Talent Officer works with the Firm’s Diversity Committee to promote respect and opportunity for all employees through education, special initiatives, and hiring and retention practices.
Parker Poe has recently been honored with several awards for our commitment to diversity. The Firm was awarded the Excellence in Workplace Diversity Award given jointly by the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and the South Carolina Diversity Council. In addition, Parker Poe received the first ever Belk Innovation in Diversity Award in 2008 from the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. This award is given to the company that best exemplifies new and inspiring initiatives aimed at retaining, mentoring and developing minorities and women. We are honored to have received these awards, and it has re-energized our commitment to diversity.
For many years, Parker Poe has made concerted efforts to encourage minority students to enter the legal profession and to recruit and hire minority law students and attorneys. We have funded a $250,000 scholarship program for undergraduate students who aspire to become attorneys at Johnson C. Smith University, a HBCU (historically black college or university) located in Charlotte that is a member institution of the United Negro College Fund. Parker Poe also participates in the annual Southeastern Minority Job Fair in Atlanta, Georgia, and has been a sponsor of the Southeastern Region Black Law Students Association Conference. We actively recruit minority law students during interviews on-campus at numerous law schools.
In order to further diversify our attorney base, the Firm also actively recruits lateral women and minority partners and associates. To accommodate attorneys who strive to continue working as an attorney while maintaining their commitment to their families, the Firm offers alternative work schedule options.
Our female and minority attorneys are involved in leadership positions within the Firm. One female partner serves on the Board of Directors, a female partner serves as Chairperson of the Firm’s Diversity Committee, another female partner serves as the Chairperson of the Professional Review Committee, and a female lawyer, serves as the Firm’s Chief Strategy Officer and as Chairperson of the Strategic Plan Implementation Committee. Our women attorneys also hold a variety of community leadership roles including serving as Chairperson of the North Carolina Symphony Society, Chairperson of the Carolina Ballet, member of the Board of Directors of the Charlotte Women’s Bar, Past President of the Wake County Bar Association, and Past President of CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women).
In addition, 13 of our female attorneys and lawyers of color have been named as The Best Lawyers in America, 17 female lawyers were named Super Lawyers or Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” and 12 of our female attorneys and lawyers of color have been named among North Carolina’s “Legal Elite” over the past six years.
Parker Poe attorneys are also involved in local bar efforts to promote diversity within the legal profession, including:
- Service on the Mecklenburg County Bar’s Special Committee on Diversity
- One of the initial signatories of the Mecklenburg County Bar’s Action Plan of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg General Counsel and Managing Partners Diversity Initiative
- Two lawyers serving on the program steering committee for Increasing Diversity in the Legal Profession symposium for minority college students
- Two lawyers serving on the steering committee for the North Carolina Bar Association’s diversity networking program and CLE sponsored by the Minorities in the Profession Committee
- A lawyer serving as Co-Chair of the Charlotte Legal Diversity Clerkship program for first year law students
- Participation in the Lunch with a Lawyer program for minority middle school students
- Service on the Wake County Bar Diversity Task Force