Black Lawyers in America: A National Town Hall Series

July 7, 2020 | Session One: The Foundation | Webinar
July 14, 2020 | Session Two: The Focus | Webinar
July 21, 2020 | Session Three: The Future | Webinar
July 28, 2020 | Session Four: Black Leaders in Government – Challenges, Opportunities and Solutions | Webinar

Please join us, along with the American Bar Association, the Commercial Law Section of the National Bar Association, the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association, the Association of Law Firm Diversity Professionals and the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity,  for an important town hall discussion, "Black Lawyers in America: A National Town Hall Series."

Webinar Replay

About the Program

Against the backdrop of a global pandemic and economic meltdown, familiar tragedies have brought us again to another moment of outrage and protest. But there is something different this time. Perhaps the pandemic has given everyone – especially nonminorities – the grim understanding that African Americans have always known: Leaving the house for something as simple as a jog or a trip to the convenience store could turn fatal. We all have hope that this moment will be different and that we will see meaningful change. We also have doubts and questions. In this town hall series, we will examine the struggle for change and racial equity in the legal profession from the past, present and future.

Session Four: Black Leaders in Government—Challenges, Opportunities and Solutions
Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Our series concludes with an open discussion with Black political leaders in local and federal government for a firsthand account of the extraordinary responsibilities they must bear in serving their constituents while acting as voices of change in this emotionally and racially charged environment.


Welcome Remarks

  • Joseph K. West, Partner and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Duane Morris LLP; President & CEO, Minority Corporate Counsel Association, 2011-2015


Session Three: The Future
Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The next generation of Black legal leaders will discuss the future of the profession. What are their expectations? What do they want to contribute? How will they transform the profession? What challenges do they face and where will they seek their support? How will they harness the energy of social change movements to effectuate change in the boardrooms?


  • Tiffany Harper, First Deputy Treasurer, Chief of Staff and General Counsel, Office of the Treasurer, City of Chicago
  • Brandon Harrell, Deputy General Counsel, Los Angeles 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organizing Committee
  • Karl Riley, Clerk for the Hon. Johnnie B. Rawlinson, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Welcome Remarks

  • Joseph K. West, Partner and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Duane Morris LLP; President & CEO, Minority Corporate Counsel Association, 2011-2015


  • Rachel W. Patterson, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Duane Morris LLP

Session Two: The Focus
Tuesday, July 14, 2020

As our society increasingly becomes aware of the historic inequities that continue to impact people of color generally and Black Americans in particular, the legal profession is likewise coming to terms with this reality. Black lawyers are grossly underrepresented and underappreciated in the legal profession and are still more likely to be affected by bias – both conscious and unconscious – throughout their careers. Our panel will discuss the existing strategies and approaches that firms and corporations can use to make the profession more diverse and inclusive. We will also examine and explore other solutions that have yet to be implemented broadly. Listeners will come away with guidance and action items.


Guest Speaker


  • Joseph K. West, Partner and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Duane Morris LLP

Session One: The Foundation 
Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Featuring the Three African American Former Presidents of the ABA

Over the course of their distinguished careers, former ABA presidents Dennis ArcherPaulette Brown and Robert Grey, Jr. have advocated for the change so many now seek and have helped create a foundation of racial equity upon which the profession can now build. This discussion will identify the issues and set the table for a solution-driven dialogue.  

  • Dennis Archer, Chairman Emeritus, Dickinson Wright; President, American Bar Association, 2003-2004; Mayor of Detroit, 1994-2001; Associate Justice, Michigan Supreme Court, 1986-1990
  • Paulette Brown, Senior Partner and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Locke Lord; President, American Bar Association, 2015-2016
  • Robert Grey, Jr., President, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, 2010 to present; President, American Bar Association, 2004-2005; Board Member, Legal Services Corporation, 2010 to present; Retired Senior Counsel, Hunton Andrews Kurth 
Guest Speaker 
  • Joseph K. West, Partner and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Duane Morris LLP; President & CEO, Minority Corporate Counsel Association, 2011-2015

About Duane Morris

Duane Morris LLP, a law firm with more than 800 attorneys in offices across the United States and internationally, is asked by a broad array of clients to provide innovative solutions to today’s legal and business challenges.

Duane Morris manages its diversity and inclusion program with the objective of utilizing the best talent worldwide in solving legal problems. The firm recruits a diverse pool of lawyers that collectively possess an awareness of cutting-edge 21st century issues—legal, social and economic—for which clients require solutions. Because diversity management is integral to the core business of our management and each of our practice groups, our programs for the recruitment, retention and promotion of historically minority groups will continue and grow. The firm's attorneys and its leadership believe in accentuating the added value that diverse attorneys possess and generating profitable new business opportunities from this added value.