Diversity & Inclusion
On May 31, 2020 we conveyed to our Smith Anderson family our empathy about the killing of Black citizens and our call as a firm to do everything we can to be strong and to defend against the injustices that continue to exist in our society. On June 9, 2020 we shared our commitment with the broader community through a statement on racial injustice.
Smith Anderson embraces the differences that make us unique and is committed to creating and maintaining a diverse and inclusive law firm. Diversity and inclusion at Smith Anderson means celebrating the variety of experiences and backgrounds that make for a stronger internal culture, while better reflecting the communities and clients we serve. As a firm, we encourage all employees to contribute their unique perspectives and capabilities to achieve superior results for our clients.
Smith Anderson maintains a Diversity and Inclusion Committee, consisting of both partners and associates, which works closely with firm management and members of the Recruiting and Lawyer Development Committees. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee focuses on such issues as the recruitment, retention and advancement of diverse lawyers, as well as working to maintain an environment in which differences are valued.
The firm was honored to receive a 2021 North Carolina and South Carolina Lawyers Weekly Diversity & Inclusion award and the inaugural Wake County Bar Association Equity Champion Award in recognition of our efforts. The following are examples of steps the firm has taken to carry out our commitment to diversity and inclusion:
- Actively recruiting and hiring from minority job fairs, including the Southeastern Minority Job Fair and the North Carolina Bar Association Minorities in the Profession (MIP) Committee’s Summer Associate Program, as well as hosting the interview day for the MIP program in 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2018;
- Establishing firm policies, including an Alternative Schedule Policy, to accommodate lawyers seeking alternative, reduced, or flexible work schedules;
- Partnering with the corporate legal departments of businesses in Raleigh, Durham, and Research Triangle Park to provide mentoring and networking opportunities for our diverse lawyers; and
- Forming affinity groups for women and diverse lawyers, with a focus on mentoring and networking.
Smith Anderson also encourages and supports our lawyers in their own efforts to embrace diversity and inclusion in practice and in principle. Our lawyers have been personally engaged in promoting these principles in our work environment and more broadly within our communities. For example, our lawyers are involved with the following associations and events that share our mission to promote and encourage diversity and inclusion:
- A Smith Anderson associate and a partner currently serve on the Minorities in the Profession Committee of the North Carolina Bar Association, and a Smith Anderson partner is the immediate past Chair of the Committee, as well as a former Co-Chair of the Adelante! Moving Forward Program;
- Smith Anderson has sponsored a number of diversity and inclusion conferences, including the North Carolina Chamber’s Women: A Force in Business conference and the Chamber's Diversity & Inclusion conference, and NC Tech's Diversity + Inclusion Summit. Our lawyers have participated in committees and presented at several of theses conferences;
- A Smith Anderson associate is a Co-Chair of the North Carolina Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Diversity and Inclusion Committee;
- Smith Anderson hosts women and diverse lawyer events each spring and fall to connect, support, and facilitate the growth of women and diverse lawyers in North Carolina.
The firm also joined the 2021-2023 Midsize Law Firm class of the Mansfield Rule, a move that will empower the firm’s efforts to recruit, retain and promote an even more diverse team of attorneys.
Diversity Lab, an incubator for innovative ideas and solutions that boost diversity and inclusion in law, developed and administers the Mansfield Rule program, which was created to “increase the representation of diverse lawyers in leadership by broadening the pool of women, LGBTQ+ lawyers, lawyers with disabilities, and/or racial/ethnic minority lawyers who are considered for entry-level and lateral attorney job openings, leadership opportunities, equity partner promotions, and opportunities to connect with clients.”
Upon completion of the program, Smith Anderson will be designated as “Mansfield Certified” which allows the firm the opportunity to send diverse partners to the Mansfield Rule Client Forums to build relationships with and learn from Diversity Lab’s in-house counsel collaborators.
Smith Anderson is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our firm recruits high-quality lawyers and professional staff without regard to race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age, marital or veteran status, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other legally protected status.
Smith Anderson's Diversity and Inclusion Committee:
- Kerry Shad, Co-Chair
- Sharita Whitaker, Co-Chair
- Zeb Anderson
- Taylor Dewberry
- Josh Diver
- Jordan Fieldstein
- Blake Fricks
- Tim Goettel
- Justin Truesdale
- Smith Anderson Does More Than ‘Talk the Talk’: Announcing a Unique Diversity Fellowship Opportunity for First-Year Law Students
- Smith Anderson’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion Advances as Member of New Midsize Law Firm Mansfield Rule ClassDiversity Lab
- Triangle Business Journal
- Kerry Shad and Sharita Whitaker Talk Diversity & Inclusion with Lawyers Weekly at Its D&I Awards CeremonyNorth Carolina Lawyers Weekly
- Above the Law Showcases Smith Anderson Attorneys on Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives for Law FirmsAbove the Law, "The Jabot" Podcast
- North Carolina and South Carolina Lawyers Weekly, Wake County Bar Association
- The National Black Lawyers
- North Carolina Lawyers Weekly and South Carolina Lawyers Weekly
- Smith Anderson Sponsors 4th Annual Women > A Force in Business Conference Attracting 1000+ Attendees
- North Carolina Bar Association
- National Law Journal Ranks Smith Anderson Among the Largest Law Firms in U.S.; Awards Spot on NLJ 500: Women’s ScorecardNLJ 500
- Chambers USA
- Sharita Whitaker Offers Welcoming Remarks at the NCBA Minority Law Student and Attorney Meet and Greet