SOURCE: Sedgwick LLP

October 19, 2012 15:55 ET

Sedgwick Announces Winners of Diversity Awards

California and Florida Attorneys Recognized for Efforts to Promote Diversity

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - Oct 19, 2012) -  Sedgwick LLP named the winners of its first annual Diversity Awards at the firm's 2012 Diversity Symposium in New York on Oct. 17, 2012. Los Angeles Office Managing Partner Craig Barnes and Ft. Lauderdale Associate Sherylle Gordon were recognized for their long standing commitment and determined efforts in promoting diversity. Sedgwick's Diversity Award is presented to individuals within the firm who have demonstrated a noteworthy commitment to ethnic, LGBT and/or gender diversity through recruiting, retaining, and mentoring, and/or being an accomplished diversity leader in the firm or in the greater legal community. In addition to the awards given to Barnes and Gordon, five other Sedgwick attorneys received Certificates of Appreciation for their diversity efforts: James Holmes (Partner, Los Angeles), Tanya Lawson (Partner, Ft. Lauderdale), David Mesa (Associate, San Francisco), Jessika Moon (Partner, New York), and Denise Trani-Morris (Special Counsel, San Francisco). 

"People from diverse backgrounds who are empowered to voice new and different perspectives generate a remarkable array of solutions for our clients," said Firm Chair Michael Tanenbaum. "There is no doubt that a more diverse firm is a better firm and Craig's and Sherylle's efforts have helped make our firm and the legal profession better."

Craig Barnes is an active trial lawyer who practices in the areas of complex business litigation, toxic torts, products liability and general liability. Barnes was the driving force behind the establishment of Sedgwick's African American Lawyers Forum in 2002, and he remains the chair of that group. He co-chairs the firm's Inclusion and Diversity Committee and is actively involved in pipeline and mentoring activities. His work with the Los Angeles County Bar's Subcommittee on Diversity in the Profession involves local high school students, the Posse Foundation and SAGE (Summer Associate Girls Inc. Externship). Barnes is also the co-chair of the Programs Committee for the California Minority Counsel Program and active in the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. 

Sherylle Gordon defends major corporations in commercial litigation, premises liability, general civil litigation and products liability matters, including multiparty mass tort litigation. Gordon is a member of the Inclusion and Diversity Committee and is the local inclusion and diversity chair of Sedgwick's Ft. Lauderdale office. She successfully started the POP Program, a pipeline program with the University of Miami, and oversaw the selection and mentoring of the intern for that program. Gordon also is actively engaged with the Caribbean Bar Association. 

Sedgwick's Inclusion and Diversity Committee works with the firm's division leaders, practice group leaders and office managing partners to continually support the recruitment, retention and advancement of diverse attorneys. Sedgwick's inclusion and diversity initiatives have included:

  • Pipeline Programs - The firm supports various programs that foster an interest in minority high school and college students to pursue careers in the legal profession and that support first-year law students in the pursuit of their careers. 

  • Affinity Groups - Sedgwick has formed five affinity groups at the firm. The firm's African American Lawyers Forum, Asian Pacific Islander Forum, Hispanic Lawyers Forum, LGBT Action Committee, and Women's Forum enhance communication within the firm and support attorney involvement in minority bar associations, law student and alumni groups, and charitable and professional associations.

  • Mentorship - A supplement to the firmwide mentoring program, this initiative provides both formal and informal mentoring by a more senior member of an affinity group of a mentee within that affinity group.
     
  • Recruiting - Sedgwick's Inclusion and Diversity Committee has collaborated with the firm's Recruiting Department to identify and participate in numerous career fairs, educational programs and workshops to recruit and prepare diverse law students for their future legal careers.

  • Diversity Retreat - Held annually, Sedgwick's Diversity Retreat provides the firm's Inclusion and Diversity Committee and firm leadership an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of the firm's diversity programs and policies and set specific objectives for measuring and advancing the firm's performance.

  • Diversity Symposium - This event gathers attorneys and clients, academics, attorneys from minority-owned firms, law students, and members of the media for an insightful discussion of the issues and opportunities surrounding diversity. 

Sedgwick has received numerous accolades in 2012 as a result of the creative approach the firm has taken to address the need for greater diversity within the legal profession. In September, the firm was named the 2012 recipient of the Drucilla Stender Ramey Majority-Owned Law Firm Award by the California Minority Counsel Program. In August, the firm received the State Bar of California's 2012 Diversity Award. Sedgwick was also named by The American Lawyer as one of the "Top 40 Firms for Diversity," achieved a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index for the fourth consecutive year, and attained Gold Standard Certification from the Women in Law Empowerment Forum for the second year in a row. 

The international trial firm of Sedgwick LLP provides trial, appellate, litigation management, counseling, risk management and transactional legal services to the world's leading companies. With more than 370 attorneys in offices in Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, London, Los Angeles, New York, Newark, Orange County (California), Paris, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C., and an affiliated office in Bermuda, Sedgwick's collective experience spans the globe and virtually every industry. For more information about Sedgwick, its attorneys and services, visit www.sedgwicklaw.com.

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