Change starts with us. We believe in the power of experience – all experiences. Our firm was founded by attorneys who stood against discrimination on the basis of religion, and our history includes our partners actively joining the public protest in September 1958 against closing the schools during the Central High Crisis, among other efforts. Diversity, equity and inclusion have always aligned with our core values.
Today, we are actively involved in promoting social change, addressing injustice, removing obstacles, and using our talents, resources and position to make a difference. Here is how we are doing that in our firm:
- Created the Chief Diversity Officer position, a firm partner who reports directly to the Managing Partner and Board of Directors and spends a dedicated amount of time to CDO responsibilities.
- Developed a three-year DEI action plan that identifies timelines, metrics and measures of success as well as making recommendations for infrastructure and practices that advance diversity, equity and inclusion within the firm.
- Expanded our DEI Committee to include Mitchell Williams attorneys, professional staff and representatives from all firm committees with the goal of adding experiences and voices from all levels of the firm.
- Created a firm-wide survey to complete annually to measure internal change and provide an outlet for confidential feedback.
- Redesigned our law clerk interview and evaluation processes to control for implicit bias in the hiring process.
- Implemented mandatory implicit bias trainings firm-wide and inclusive leadership trainings for people managers.
|Chair Melissa Bandy, Chief Diversity Officer
||Jacob McElroy, Attorney
|Kayla Anousakes, Legal Assistant
||Nate Read, Attorney
|Devin Bates, Attorney
||Anna Regnier, Attorney
|Cara Butler, Attorney
||Derrick Smith, Attorney
|Sharnae Diggs, Attorney
||Kim Smith, HR Director
|Kheva Flowers, Paralegal
||Julia Strickland, COO
|Karen Freeman, Attorney
||Bridgette Stricklin, Accounting
|Megan Hargraves, General Counsel
||Jeff Thomas, Managing Partner
|Heather Haywood, Marketing
||Sarah Waltermire, Paralegal
|Bre Hendrix, Attorney
||Jordan Wimpy, Attorney
Internal change is not enough. While we absolutely believe that DEI commitment, efforts and education should be foundational within our firm, we can not be satisfied with in-house-only ideals. Mitchell Williams is engaged beyond our walls in dialogue, initiatives, pro bono work, community projects and more to advance larger DEI goals. Here are some of the key ways we promote diversity, equity and inclusion within the legal profession and in our larger communities:
- Pledged a multi-year financial commitment to create the Mitchell Williams Excellence Initiative at the University of Arkansas School of Law to support the Constitution Days Delta Initiative and the Business Law Program.
- Established the Mitchell Williams Legal Diversity Fellowship at the University of Arkansas School of Law.
- Support of the LEAP program, as well as related programs, at the University of Arkansas Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law.
- Established two summer intern positions specifically for Arkansas Commitment student scholars.
- Provide monetary and volunteer support through our Take Time to Give charitable giving program for nonprofit organizations in our communities, many of which promote diversity, equity and inclusion as part of their own core values.
- Minority Corporate Counsel Association
- National Bar Association
- Association of Law Firm Diversity Professionals
- Law Firm Alliance Diversity Council
We are a work in progress. There is still so much to be done on every front – in our own firm, our profession and our communities – but Mitchell Williams is committed to increasing awareness, understanding and involvement. We make mistakes. We miss opportunities. We learn. And then we continue moving forward together.