“Like other industries, the legal profession has seen a great deal of progress in its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts during recent years,” said Tara Plimpton, Chief Legal Officer at Regions Bank. “But there is still much work to be done.”
To help address and overcome remaining obstacles and challenges, the Regions Bank Legal Department recently launched the Birmingham Legal Leaders DEI Series “Birmingham Stands Together.”
The event, which was planned and executed by the Culture & Equity Team within the department, gathered leaders in diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, from across the Birmingham legal community to engage, share ideas, and take steps to bring about progress in this vital area.
The series kickoff, which occurred at Regions Center in Birmingham, Alabama, with some attending virtually, in early December. The event focused on identifying opportunities to enable success for diverse individuals in the legal profession, which will create more diverse teams and enhance service to clients.
DEI is a strategic priority for us and we want to ensure that our entire profession enjoys the benefits that an inclusive workforce brings.
Tara Plimpton, Chief Legal Officer at Regions Bank
More than 75 attendees participated, including law firm management and DEI leaders, corporate in-house counsel, and other company personnel charged with executing DEI initiatives.
Speaker highlights included Plimpton, who emphasized the importance of working together to take bigger and more intentional steps to enhance DEI in the profession.
“A diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce is essential to Regions Bank’s success—and that of any company, in fact,” Plimpton said. “DEI is a strategic priority for us and we want to ensure that our entire profession enjoys the benefits that an inclusive workforce brings.”
Andrew Nix, Regions Chief Governance Officer and leader of the Culture & Equity Team, provided the audience an overview of the work of the C&E Team over the last 18 months and the impact on Regions’ Legal Department and the greater Birmingham community.
Greg Jordan, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer at PNC, spoke about his team’s DEI initiatives and shared his perspectives on the critical importance of DEI in the legal profession.
Next up was a roundtable discussion that included DEI leaders from a number of Birmingham’s largest law firms – Maynard Cooper & Gale, Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz, Burr & Forman, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, and Balch & Bingham. These leaders shared valuable insight around their firms’ programs and initiatives to support the recruitment, development, retention, and advancement of diverse lawyers.
Getting local legal leaders together in this forum will help all of us ensure our profession is taking bigger steps to make meaningful progress toward a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment by working together.
Andrew Nix, Regions Chief Governance Officer and leader of the Culture & Equity Team
The roundtable was followed by small group breakout sessions, co-moderated by the law firm DEI leaders and representatives from the Regions legal department. These sessions provided event participants not only the opportunity to react to what they heard throughout the program and further share ideas, but also to get better acquainted with each other in order to establish a foundation for working together in the future.
Following the breakouts, event participants reconvened to share highlights from their discussions and make plans for next steps.
Nix was pleased with the event overall, including the number of participants and the relevant, engaging content.
“The series theme ‘Birmingham Stands Together’ really describes the event perfectly,” Nix said. “Getting local legal leaders together in this forum will help all of us ensure our profession is taking bigger steps to make meaningful progress toward a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment by working together.”
The next event in the series, a Law School Deans Roundtable, is planned for February.