April 28, 2022 –Sixty-four Black attorneys throughout Texas virtually took part in the Dean's Diversity Dialogue: Texas Big Law, Black Law Partner/Corporate Counsel Summit on April 25 to discuss recruitment and retention of, and collaboration among Texas Black lawyers. Studies show that Black attorneys make up only 4.7% of the legal profession and only 2.22% of big law firm partners.
Dean Leonard M. Baynes and Anthony R. Chase, retired UHLC professor, co-convened the event.
“This Black Big Law dialogue is part of a series that the Law Center has organized. These dialogues are designed to push the legal profession forward on diversity, equity, and inclusion. This event was terrific because it allowed us to highlight the talent that exists in our community, to get acquainted or reacquainted with each other, and to ponder self-help in working together to further our collective goals,” said Baynes.
The Dialogue featured 6 trailblazing panelists. Shauna Johnson Clark, who is the first African American to serve as Global and now U.S. managing partner at Norton Rose Fulbright and Regina Bynote Jones who is the first African General Counsel of Baker Hughes. In addition, the session focused on four trailblazing African American students or recent graduates who served as the first African American Editors-in-Chief of their respective flagship law review: Charisma Ricksy Nguepdo (Houston Law Review), Jason Oyendiri (Texas Law Review), and Kenesha Starling and Eric Williams (South Texas Law Review), who were the first African American woman and man respectively.
Panelists also discussed glass ceilings, role models and challenges faced by Black lawyers. The group then gathered into breakout sessions to introduce themselves to each other and brainstorm how to work together and increase diversity in the legal field.
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