Press Releases

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Mar 30, 2006

Daylong event to explore increasing diversity in the legal profession

NASHVILLE, March 30, 2006 — Nationally known civil rights attorney Fred Gray will headline a Diversity Summit this Saturday in Memphis for leaders of the Tennessee legal community. Sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association, the summit will jump start a statewide discussion on diversity in the legal profession and explore concrete ways of increasing diversity in Tennessee’s legal community. The program will be held at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.

 “As I look around our bar association meetings, conference rooms of big firms and even our courtrooms, it is obvious to me that we can and should do more to promote diversity,” TBA President Bill Haltom says. An attorney in the Memphis firm of Thomason, Hendrix, Harvey, and Johnson & Mitchell PLLC, Haltom has made increased diversity in the profession one of the priorities of his term in office.

“The goal of this event is not only to raise the profile of this issue but also to develop specific recommendations for improvement,” Haltom says.

The summit will kick off with remarks by Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton, followed by a keynote address from Gray, who represented Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks in their legal battles and was instrumental in establishing the Tuskegee Human and Civil Rights Multicultural Center in Alabama. Following Gray’s presentation, participants will identify specific obstacles hindering minority access to law schools and legal careers in Tennessee and formulate solutions to address these barriers.

Invited attendees include judges, lawyers, bar leaders, managing partners of law firms and law school representatives from across the state.

The Diversity Summit is cosponsored by the Memphis Bar Association and two Tennessee affiliates of the National Bar Association: the Napier-Looby Bar Association in Nashville and the Ben F. Jones Bar Association in Memphis. The National Bar Association is the nation’s oldest organization of attorneys and judges of color.