Kristi K. Walters, special counsel at Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, was recently honored with the UNC School of Law 2008 Outstanding Recent Graduate Award. Walters serves as the firm’s director of professional development and diversity; co-chairman of the Mecklenburg County Bar Association’s Charlotte Legal Diversity Clerkship program that encourages diversity in the legal profession and attracts more entry-level attorneys to Charlotte; and was instrumental in the Parker Poe earning the first 2008 Belk Innovation in Diversity Award from the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce
"I could discuss with you her legal prowess," said Irvin “Hank” Hankins III, recent past-president of the N.C. State Bar Association and a partner at Parker Poe, who presented the award, "but in the time available, I would rather talk to you about the contributions she has made to the community, to the fabric of our law firm and the legal profession."
Hankins elaborated on Walters’ role at the firm, as well as her community involvement, which includes leadership roles with the Charlotte Housing Authority Scholarship Fund, Community School of the Arts, the Arts and Science Council Cultural Leadership Program, Davidson College and Covenant Presbyterian Church.
"Receiving this award is a tremendous honor for me," Walters said in her acceptance speech. "At UNC Law School, I was given an incredible foundation upon which to build my legal career and a deep appreciation for a lawyer's professional responsibility to give back."
Walters, who has been with the Firm since graduating from law school in 1999, also spoke about Parker Poe's role in her development as a lawyer.
"I feel a duty to help make Parker Poe and our great profession more inclusive of people of all backgrounds," Walters said. "I thank the leadership of Parker Poe for their steadfast support of my pursuit of these passions."
Nominated for the award by Emily Crowder Frazelle, assistant counsel with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Walters was praised for her professional development and diversity work at Parker Poe.
"In the short time that [Kristi] has been in this role, she has been recognized as an authority on diversity issues," Frazelle said. "Kristi has guided Parker Poe in numerous activities related to expanding the pipeline of minority candidates who seek to enter the legal profession, ... and retaining, mentoring and supporting women and minority lawyers."