The Oscars of Legal Diversity

The Minority Corporate Counsel Association's annual Diversity Gala honored those promoting diversity in the legal industry. (The tuxedos at the Kennedy Center event, though, were pretty much all the same.)


We snapped MCCA CEO Joe West with actor Laurence Fishburne, who presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Justice Cruz Reynoso. Reynoso, who's been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, was the first Latino on the California Supreme Court and founded the Hispanic National Bar Association. They're with NBCUniversal VP and deputy chief compliance officer Lisa Hughes, NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker (who was the evening's emcee), and actor Spencer Garrett.


Cummins won for Midwest Region Employer of Choice. We snapped the 40,000-person global equipment manufacturer's current GC, Sharon Barner, right, with her predecessor and current Chief Administrative Officer Marya Rose. Sharon says they make the business case for diversity—different viewpoints contributed by employees. Women and minorities make up more than 40% of senior leadership.


At the reception up on the rooftop terrace, we spotted the GC of Staples, Michael Williams, with Katten Muchin's Dennis Lee, Sony's Christina Mulvihill, and Polsinelli's George Jackson.


GlaxoSmithKline won MCCA's Mid-Atlantic award (its second since 2010). SVP of Global Litigation PD Villarreal, right, here with Shook Hardy Bacon's Madeleine McDonough, picked up the award. He was involved with MCCA at its start, he tells us, when there were only 10 of them there. He says GSK "can't accomplish our mission unless we tap into the whole world's talent pool." 


DuPont is known for its promotion of inclusivity; here's recently retired DuPont assistant GC Hinton Lucas, second from left, with Nelson Mullins partner Albert Foster, Leader & Berkon partner Joshua Leader, and DuPont manager Sylvia Banks.


Other awardees were Prudential Financial (a three-time winner), Xcel Energy, and BP America. After watching the evening's musical performance—James Ingram—Alston & Bird's Louis Russo and NFL Players Association's Joe Briggs caught up on the rooftop terrace. 


Haynes and Boone DC managing partner Phil Hampton and partner James Waters, who was visiting from Dallas, were two of the 700 attendees.


Here's Hispanic National Bar Association region president and Maryland Financial Division director of licensing Juan Semptertegui with his wife, AARP's Legal Counsel for the Elderly's Dalila Sempertegui.


We also spotted Hershey associate GC Kimberly Chainey flanked by global professional services company Towers Watson GC Kirkland Hicksand Dechert complex litigation partner Vernon Francis. As MCCA CEO Joe West put it: nobody would disagree with diversifying your portfolio. Why do some then disagree about diversifying your workforce? 


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