DRC Hosts Legal Supplier Diversity Forum at UNT Dallas at Dallas Law School

By Matthew Berger, Director of Communications

The DRC hosted its first Legal Supplier Forum at the UNT Dallas College of Law on Tuesday, July 12.

More than 70 lawyers and law school students gathered as moderators Hilda Galvan of Jones Day and William Toles of Munsch Hardt asked Mike Shaw, Chief Legal and Regulatory Officer for Southwest Airlines Co., Joanne Caruso, Chief Legal and Administrative Officer at Jacobs, and Youssef Said, General Counsel for El Rancho Supermercado, how to create a more diverse in-house and outside counsel.

Photo credit: Shania Anderson, UNT Dallas

“Events like today are vital for establishing the much-valued diversity we need in the legal industry,” said Galvan, who serves on the DRC Board of Directors and was the DRC Board Chair in 2017. “I am here because of the people who gave me opportunities, and it’s important for me to do that for the next generation.”

The panelists discussed what diversity means to them and their respected companies and how hiring diverse law firms to oversee an organization’s legal matters is good business. The event was sponsored by Munsch Hardt and Carrington Coleman.

“Southwest Airlines is committed to doubling gender and racial diversity by 2025,” Shaw said. “It’s an interesting process because historically we have been hiring from within, but now we are offering training to all hiring managers and using diverse hiring panels to help us reach our goal.”

Hiring diverse attorneys is just the beginning when building a stronger in-house counsel.

“You must provide your new employees with opportunities once they’re hired,” Caruso said. “Give them worthwhile experiences to work with CEOs and your board, so they can advance their careers.”

Lawyers, like any other leader in an industry, must also stay intellectually curious, so they’re prepared for any scenario at any time.

“Whatever you do, learn it to the best of your ability, and be excellent at it,” Said said. “Learn different types of law, learn nuanced law, and read as much as possible. Whatever you are doing, do it well, and then put a little more on your plate.”

The Dallas Region remains the best place for workers all over the world to live, work, and do business.

“The best asset we have in our region is our people,” said Angela Farley, the DRC’s COO and CFO. “The DRC along with the companies represented on our panel today are committed to creating more opportunities for underrepresented talent in the legal profession. Inclusive employers will continue to strengthen communities.”