On Thursday, June 16, Chambers and Partners presented its inaugural Chambers Diversity Awards at the Yale Club of New York City. Sharita Whitaker, an attorney with Smith Anderson, was named the winner in the category of the Future Leader – Minority Lawyers (Private Practice). She had previously been named to the shortlist of three finalists in the category.
The Diversity Awards provide an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of lawyers from non-traditional backgrounds, and recognize the firms and individuals effecting positive change in the profession. The finalists were chosen by the Chambers Diversity team based on research as well as submissions from, and on behalf of, nominees.
In 2015, Sharita won a Leaders in Diversity Award from the Triangle Business Journal, and was also named “Tar Heel of the Week” by The News & Observer. Her professional involvement includes serving as chair of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Minorities in the Profession Committee, co-chair of the Committee’s ¡Adelante! Moving Forward program, and volunteer with Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Lawyer on the Line program. Sharita also serves on Smith Anderson’s Diversity Committee.
Sharita grew up in public housing projects in Raleigh as the oldest of 12 children, and at an early age became fascinated with real estate and housing issues, and the housing disparities that exist among various ethnic and socioeconomic groups. After graduating summa cum laude from North Carolina State University, she enrolled at North Carolina Central University’s School of Law. She worked her way through law school as a single mother of a young daughter and graduated magna cum laude.
Sharita is a member of Smith Anderson’s Real Estate Development Group and focuses her practice in the areas of commercial real estate and real estate development. She assists clients with real estate acquisitions, dispositions and leasing; title disputes; public utility real estate issues; right-of-way acquisitions; condemnation/eminent domain actions; and easement negotiation and drafting.
“We are extremely proud of Sharita and her professional and personal accomplishments,” said Kerry Shad, Smith Anderson partner and co-chair of the Firm’s Diversity Committee. “She is everything a lawyer should be – dedicated to providing excellent service to her clients, and passionate about improving our community and the profession by promoting diversity. She inspires us all to be better lawyers and people.”
Founded in 1912, Smith Anderson has grown to become the largest business and litigation law firm headquartered in the world-renowned Research Triangle region and one of the largest in North Carolina. We provide a full range of legal services to a diverse and dynamic group of regional, national and international companies. Over 100 years of practicing law has grounded our Firm’s culture, informed our perspective, and provided us the insight necessary to help our clients succeed. Over time, our core principles have remained unchanged. We remain personally dedicated to the success, prosperity and betterment of our clients and the communities we serve.