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Building Relationships at the Corporate Counsel Diversity Event

Tuesday, November 6, 2018   (0 Comments)
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The Virginia Bar Association Corporate Counsel Section, Dominion Energy, and Hunton Andrews Kurth co-sponsored a diversity cocktail reception on Sept. 27 and invited corporate counsel and members of the Hill Tucker Bar Association, the Old Dominion Bar Association, the Richmond Bar Association Corporate Counsel Section and diversity leaders from law firms in the greater Richmond area. In addition, diverse law students from the University of Richmond School of Law also attended.

The primary goal of the event was to facilitate the introduction of members of the corporate counsel community to local diverse attorneys in an effort to increase the diversity of outside counsel retained by the companies.

Ryan Boggs, chair of the VBA Corporate Counsel Section, spearheaded the idea for this reception and spoke to those in attendance about the important role that local and state bars play in developing relationships. “I really enjoyed seeing new connections and relationships being formed between the corporate counsel representatives and the diverse members of the bar," Boggs said of the event. "If in-house attorneys want to increase the level of diversity in their outside counsel they have to invest the time to build those relationships. From what I saw at this event there appears to be a real interest in doing just that.”

In addition to Dominion Energy, several companies with a local or regional presence in the greater Richmond metro area sent members of their legal departments to the event, including Altria, Capital One, CarMax and Owens & Minor.

Carlos Brown, general counsel of Dominion Energy, discussed the importance of diversity to his company and why diversity is good for business: “At Dominion Energy we believe we will get better results when the diversity of our outside counsel is representative of the communities that we serve. We also recognize the benefits of engaging members of the bar with diverse backgrounds that can provide different perspectives to the legal challenges we face. When individuals exchange and share different ideas we have a more creative and productive environment, which brings good results for our company and the communities we serve.”

Doug Granger, Hunton’s Richmond office managing partner, welcomed approximately 60 attendees to the Richmond office, and lauded the efforts of the VBA and Dominion on their diversity and inclusion efforts. “As bar associations and clients have insisted upon increased diversity among their lawyers, law firms have responded. This requires a sustained commitment in recruiting and coordinating the message with the state and local bars. We are glad to support the VBA’s and Dominion’s leadership in this effort.”

Rudene Haynes, a member of the VBA Board of Governors and Hunton’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, said she was delighted to collaborate with Ryan and the Corporate Counsel section in organizing the event. “This was a much-needed first step to build relationships between decision-makers at companies and diverse counsel, and we look forward to being active participants in future collaborations with local diverse bars and clients who share our commitment to making the legal profession more diverse and inclusive.”

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