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Diversity & Inclusion

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 firmwide atmosphere of inclusiveness.

Diversity Committee Members

 Shalanna Pirtle (Chair)  Craig Lynch (Board Liaison)
 Chara O'Neale (Director of Diversity)  Rick Glaser
 Brian Parker  Josephine Hicks
 Rebecca Joyner  Deja Kemp
 Sidney Evering  Josh Morales
 Anthony Fox  Crystal Jones
 Bahati Mutisya  Morgan Fey
 Ed Modzelewski  

Recruiting Efforts

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 attending 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.

In 2007, the Diversity Committee launched a program called Life In a Law Firm (LIALF), in the Columbia and Raleigh offices. The LIALF program educates minority law students on what happens after law school and how to make an effective transition. More than 400 students have attended the program since inception. The 2015 LIALF Raleigh and Columbia programs will feature Jerrell Moore, Esq., Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Time Warner Cable as the keynote speaker.

Leadership Activities

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, and another female partner serves as the Chairperson of the Professional Review Committee. Our women attorneys also hold a variety of community leadership roles including serving as President of the North Carolina Bar Association, 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, 11 of our female attorneys and lawyers of color have been named as The Best Lawyers in America, 12 female lawyers were named Super Lawyers or Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” and 7 of our female attorneys and lawyers of color have been named among Business 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