In the field of law, firms tend to be male-dominated1 and white2, especially in senior management. Paulette Brown is out to change this. She was recently appointed a Senior Partner at Locke Lord, as well as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. Brown will “focus… on recruiting, retention and creating benchmarks for women, minority and LGBTQ lawyers….”3 The position is more than befitting for Brown, whose resume boasts substantial work regarding diversity across multiple areas in the field of law.
Before her promotion to Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Brown worked as Co-Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee at Locke Lord. She has achieved significant milestones for the firm; for the past two years, Locke Lord received a perfect rating in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index. Edwards Wildman also received this rating from 2009-20154, before the two firms joined.5
Brown previously served as President of the American Bar Association, the first woman of color to hold the position. She founded its Diversity and Inclusion 360 Commission, which “examined the state of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, the judicial system and the ABA with the aim of formulating methods, policies, standards and practices to best advance diversity and inclusion. She was influential in the creation, passage and implementation of ABA Resolution 113, which aims to promote diversity within law firms and urges clients to expand opportunities for diverse lawyers.”6
Brown works in “labor and employment and commercial litigation”, with extensive experience in discrimination lawsuits. In addition to her role at Locke Lord, she is a certified mediator for the United States District Court, District of New Jersey; Chair of the Labor and Employment Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association; and a member of the Employment AAA Panel, the College of Labor & Employment Lawyer, and the American Law Institute. She was listed among “The 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America” by the National Law Journal and named one of US News’s Best Lawyers in America for Commercial Litigation, among many other recognitions and awards.7
She is looking forward to continuing the forward momentum of Locke Lord’s diversity practices.8
Another powerhouse in both the fields of law and diversity promotion is Michele Meyer-Shipp. She joined KPMG LLP in August 2018 as its Chief Diversity Officer. The firm has received numerous accolades regarding its commitment to diversity and is thrilled to have Meyer-Shipp on board. In her new role, Meyer-Shipp will head the Inclusion and Diversity team and expand the firm’s capabilities regarding “broad perspectives and innovative client solutions. 9
Before joining KPMG, Meyer-Shipp worked as Akin Gump’s first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. According to the firm’s website, “she [was] responsible for developing and promoting all diversity management practices across the firm, ensuring that the firm’s foundational principles of inclusiveness and diversity are reflected in its internal and external policies, work and practices.10
Before starting at Akin Gump, Meyer-Shipp was a member of Prudential Financial Inc. She held the position of employment counsel from 2010 to 2012, when she was promoted to vice president and chief diversity officer. She was a major asset for the firm, which was ranked among the “Top 50 Companies for Diversity” under her leadership. In addition to promoting diversity and inclusion, Meyer-Shipp oversaw the firm’s adherence to equal opportunity laws.11
Meyer-Shipp is part of Twitter’s Diversity Advisory Council, Working Mother Media’s Multicultural Women’s Advisory Board, and other professional associations.12
Her past positions include general counsel of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor; director of the New Jersey Division of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action; employment counsel and leader of diversity and inclusion efforts at Merrill Lynch; private employment litigator; and a New Jersey Supreme Court law clerk.13
Like Paulette Brown, Meyer-Shipp is well-recognized for her work promoting diversity and inclusion. She recently received The Forum on Workplace Inclusion’s “Winds of Change Award” in the individual category. Additional accolades include being named one of the “Top Executives in Corporate Diversity” by Black Enterprise three years in a row; earning the “Women’s Initiative and Leaders in Law (WILL) Platinum Award” for the Corporate Sector from the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association; and being inducted into the Rutgers African-American Alumni Alliance Hall of Fame.14
Meyer-Shipp is an important asset for KPMG, where she reflects Vice Chair of Human Resources Darren Burton’s enthusiasm to “…continue to enhance [the firm’s] efforts to recruit develop, and retain diverse talent. 15
- Bell, Jacqueline. “Women See Another Year Of Slow Gains At Law Firms.” Law360, Portfolio Media, Inc, 23 July 2017, www.law360.com/articles/946586.
- Rhode, Deborah L. “Law Is the Least Diverse Profession in the Nation. And Lawyers Aren’t Doing Enough to Change That.” The Washington Post, The Washington Post, 27 May 2015, www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/05/27/law-is-the-least-diverse-profession-in-the-nation-and-lawyers-arent-doing-enough-to-change-that/?noredirect=on.
- Jeffreys, Brenda Sapino. “Former ABA President Takes on New Diversity Role at Locke Lord.” Texas Lawyer, ALM Media Properties, LLC, 16 July 2018, www.law.com/texaslawyer/2018/07/16/former-aba-president-takes-on-new-diversity-role-at-locke-lord/. (“Former ABA President”)
- “Locke Lord Names Paulette Brown Senior Partner and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer.” Locke Lord, Locke Lord LLP, 12 July 2018, www.lockelord.com/newsandevents/news/2018/07/locke-lord-names-paulette-brown-senior-partner-and. (“Locke Lord Names”)
- “It’s Official: Locke Lord, Edwards Wildman Combination Launched; Locke Lord Edwards Expands Global Reach, Enhances Client Services.” Locke Lord, Locke Lord LLP, 12 Jan. 2015, www.lockelord.com/newsandevents/news/2015/01/locke-lord-edwards-wildman-combination-launched.
- Supra, Locke Lord Names
- “Paulette Brown.” Locke Lord, Locke Lord LLP, www.lockelord.com/professionals/b/brown-paulette. (“Paulette Brown”)
- Supra, Former ABA President
- “KPMG Names Michele Meyer-Shipp Chief Diversity Officer.” KPMG, KPMG LLP, 6 Aug. 2018, home.kpmg.com/us/en/home/insights/2018/08/kpmg-names-michele-meyer-shipp-chief-diversity-officer.html?sf194971788=1. (“KPMG Names”)
- “Michele Meyer-Shipp.” Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, www.akingump.com/en/lawyers-advisors/michele-meyer-shipp.html.
- Supra, KPMG Names