Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity Commitment & Community Involvement
Diversity & Community Involvement
Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity Commitment
LT Inclusion is ensuring that everyone, especially in light of their unique background, is welcome and included in the firm’s culture and infrastructure.
In 2020, LT launched InclusivLT. It is LT’s formal and systematic commitment to ensuring that people feel a sense of belonging in the law firm particularly our racially diverse attorneys. One aspect of InclusivLT is our diversity committee, led by one of our most nationally respected equity partners, who listens to the needs of diverse attorneys and all clients, and works with the leadership team to shape LT’s appropriate and timely reaction to those needs.
LT Equity is the process of ensuring that the law firm’s practices and programs are impartial, fair, and provide equal outcomes for diverse attorneys on a pathway to becoming LT shareholders. We use an equity lens in decision making that impacts case assignments, compensation, use of outside consultants, and promotions.
LT Diversity is a reflection of attorneys, law clerks, professionals, para-professionals and support staff with varied characteristics and backgrounds, particularly race, color, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and ability and disability.
Our Commitment: LT is committed to supporting our diverse attorneys because it is the right thing to do, and it allows us to best support our clients. We are proud of our commitment to inclusion, equity, and diversity. LT leadership has created a law firm that embraces differences that is underscored by our respect for all people while recognizing the unique challenges that diverse attorneys face in the legal profession. We believe that our strength comes from our differences, and it is within making space for and listening to diverse voices that our differences are best utilized. Within respecting and valuing our diversity, we can best understand and address our clients’ needs, anticipate judge and jury reactions to cases, and respond to an increasingly diverse world and business sector in the 21st Century. With this acknowledgment at the forefront of our business operation, LT leadership recognizes that our success as a law firm is our people, and we are committed to recruiting, training, mentoring, sponsoring, supporting, retaining, and promoting diverse attorneys, law clerks, para-professionals, professionals, and support staff. This complex compilation of experiences and perspectives powers our innovative solutions to our clients’ problems to achieve the best results possible for clients, and supports our moral and ethical commitment to do the right thing.
Diverse Recruitment: If you build it, they will come is an adage that LT leadership believes in. By building an InclusivLT, we believe that we attract and will continue to attract the best and brightest diverse attorneys to our firm. Our commitment is evident in many ways from hiring diverse consultants to guide our efforts and mentor diverse attorneys to our diversity scholarships.
Leadership Commitment: Our commitment to equity for all attorneys and employees is a firm value echoed by the firm’s leadership, who sets the tone for the firm’s active engagement with ensuring the firm’s culture is inclusive, everyone who engages with the firm has an equitable experience, and that we continually seek to look like the clients we serve and the world we live in.
Robust Talent Pipeline: We support diverse attorneys before they become attorneys. At the law school level, we engage with diverse law students becoming an integral part of their law school matriculation journey. We provide mentorship and paid internships, externships, and clerkships. We provide scholarship funds through the state’s flagship university, the University of Tennessee College of Law as well as the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and Belmont University College of Law because we know that diverse law students face systemic barriers to obtaining a legal education. We desire to help remove the weight of some of their barriers through this scholarship. During law school, we build authentic relationships with scholarship recipients and pair the law school support with long term employment opportunities with the law firm, and then actively recruit scholarship recipients to join our firm as attorneys.
Professional Development: We employee inclusion, equity, and diversity experts to chart our path to robust, timely, and needed professional development. We offer annual inclusivity training for our leadership team. We provide diverse attorneys with opportunities to develop unique practice areas, hone areas of expertise to become the nation’s best in their respective fields, and an opportunity to utilize the firm’s diverse network of resource groups, including our active diversity committee. We have and apply family friendly policies—from telework to generous parental leave—to remove barriers to professional development for our attorneys.
Lewis Thomason encourages our attorneys to learn and grow with our firm and become leaders as they continue in their career with us. It is our goal to create an inclusive environment so diverse individuals desire to continue with a career at Lewis Thomason long-term. Our diverse attorneys serve on internal committees such as the summer associate social committee, Project 2027 (a group of young attorneys tasked with advising our firm president on the future of the firm), and the pro bono committee. We want the diverse attorneys we hire today to be the firm's leaders tomorrow.
Attorneys in our firm are leaders of affinity bar associations and committees across the state such as the Nashville Bar Association's Diversity Committee; Lawyers' Association for Women Attorneys, Marion Griffin Chapter; and Association for Women Attorneys, Memphis Chapter.
Lewis Thomason encourages our attorneys to become leaders to effect the change we want to see in our legal community. We routinely promote and support minority and women attorneys serving as leaders in community organizations.
We have nominated several attorneys for The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Middle Tennessee, 30 Under 30 and assisted them in reaching their fundraising goal. The firm has been awarded diversity awards several years in a row from the Nashville Bar Association for contributions to enhance diversity and professional success.
We have several graduates of the Tennessee Bar Association Leadership Law program. Every year we nominate an attorney to participate in the Nashville Young Leaders Council program, a training program addressing fundamental board skills. One of the shareholders in the firm’s Knoxville office is on the board of Positively Living, Inc. and its subsidiaries Care Choice Health Network and ACT, all of which deal with housing issues and provision of prevention and health care services for HIV and HepC patients. Our firm sponsored the University of Memphis School of Law Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Team for many years, which is comprised exclusively of diverse law students, and we also created scholarships for diverse students at University of Tennessee College of Law, the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, and Belmont University College of Law.
Our firm president is dedicated to women’s issues and has served on the boards of the Sexual Assault Center and Junior League, and The Women’s Fund. In addition, our lawyers participate in Diverse leaders Academy, ALFA International’s Diversity and inclusion Committee where one of our shareholders is former Chair, attend DRI’s Diversity Corporate Expo, and chair multiple boards devoted to diversity and inclusion related issues.