Diversity & Inclusion
At Lightfoot, we strive to create and maintain a work environment where top-notch attorneys from all backgrounds are welcomed, trained and challenged to be superior trial lawyers. Diversity and inclusion are core principles at our firm; we recognize that value and power are found through a diverse and inclusive collection of ideas, skills and strengths. We are focused on diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our firm, including tangible action, constant learning and continuous improvement.
Recruiting And Mentoring Top-Notch Talent Across The Spectrum
We actively seek out diverse legal talent, not only through on-campus interviews, but also through lateral hiring searches, a pre-law program focused on diversity, a diversity scholarship and participation in national and regional minority job fairs such as the Southeastern Minority Job Fair and the Southern Region of the National Black Law Students Association Job Fair.
Our firm’s unique structure and philosophy allow us both to recruit young, diverse hires and dedicate meaningful time and resources to their training and development, bolstering a diverse, skilled next generation of trial lawyers. We equip our diverse talent with tools for success through initiatives such as partner-associate mentoring and targeted programs that address professional performance, leadership development, business development, team engagement and career fulfillment.
Our inclusive approach to hiring and personal development expands beyond our lawyers. We make an intentional effort to ensure that every corner of the firm is diverse and that every person understands that they are an important part of our team, including management, staff and vendors. We believe it critical for firm leadership to promote diversity and inclusion initiatives with all employees. This important focus is reflected in Lightfoot being named the nation’s “Best Midsize Law Firm to Work For” four years in a row by the career and recruiting website Vault and a “Best Place to Work” by the Birmingham Business Journal for the past five years.
As an African-American female in the legal industry, working for and being part of a firm that is dedicated to diversity and intentional about inclusion makes me so proud. Because of these efforts, Lightfoot understands individuals from all walks of life, and is able to look through that lens to address our clients’ problems efficiently and find the best solution for each unique circumstance. Progress for Lightfoot means progress for our clients, the law, and each other.— Bridget Harris
A Diversity Committee Focused On Actionable Improvements
We have a dedicated Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee that regularly examines the firm’s efforts and progress and develops strategies for continued improvement in this important arena. The committee, made up of both attorneys and non-attorney firm management, brings valuable insight and ideas supporting our diversity initiatives both inside and outside of the firm, including recruiting, mentoring and retention of diverse talent. For example, Lightfoot's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee proudly established two such initiatives in 2020: our annual Diversity Scholarship and the Lightfoot Trial Academy.
Midsize Mansfield Rule
Our firm is pleased to be participating in Diversity Lab’s second cohort of the Mansfield Rule for Midsize Firms, part of a national initiative to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in the legal profession. Lightfoot is one of more than 70 mid-sized law firms across the United States participating in the 2021-2023 cohort. The 18-month program launched on September 15, 2021 includes periodic check-ins on measurable goals, as well as collaboration with other participating law firms who share our values for promoting a more inclusive legal industry.
Always striving to improve, we also consistently monitor our internal performance, including voluntary surveys and ongoing evaluation of our processes for talent development, human resources and compensation. Knowing that education and awareness are essential for diversity and inclusion, we focus on real data collected to measure against our diversity and inclusion goals year over year.
Leaders Who Are Creating A More Inclusive Legal Community
Our commitment to diversity and inclusion goes well beyond our own self-interest in attracting top-notch, diverse legal talent. Our lawyers devote hundreds of hours — and the firm provides thousands of dollars — each year to local, state and national efforts to diversify our community and the legal profession. Wherever the local legal community has made strides to be more diverse, Lightfoot lawyers have been there leading the way. For example, Lightfoot lawyers have:
- Served as vice co-chair of the Alabama Defense Lawyers Association’s first diversity task force
- Serving as a vice co-chair of the Alabama State Bar's first task force on diversity
- Served as a founding member of the Alabama State Bar’s Hispanic Outreach Committee
- Served as a founding member of the Alabama State Bar’s Spanish Speaking Lawyer’s Committee, as chair of its Rules Subcommittee, and a member of its legislative review task force
- Served on the Birmingham Bar Association's Task Force on Diversity Initiatives
- Served as co-chair of the Diversity in the Profession Committee of the Alabama State Bar Association
- Presented annually to 1L members of the University of Alabama’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA) chapter on how to succeed in law school
- Sponsored the Alabama State Bar Minority Pre-Law Conference Program as a firm
- Received multiple awards by the University of Alabama’s Black Law Students Association for the firm’s commitment to diversity
- Spoken on numerous diversity and inclusion-related panels on both a local and state bar level.
We believe that promoting diversity and inclusion is about putting words into action, and we pursue that goal beyond our local communities as well. That’s why our lawyers routinely organize, lead and participate in national seminars devoted to diversity in the legal profession, and why they support and promote the careers of female and minority lawyers across the country. Some ways our attorneys have been involved in creating a more diverse legal community at a national level include:
- Serving as the Past President for Region VII of the Hispanic National Bar Association's Board of Governors
- Serving as Chair of the Business Development Committee of the DuPont Women’s Legal Network
- Serving as a board member for the Young Lawyers Division of the National Bar Association, the nation’s oldest and largest national association of predominantly African-American lawyers and judges
- Serving as diversity liaison for the DRI Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Seminar
- Participating in the annual DuPont Minority Counsel Network meeting
- Serving as co-chair of the DuPont Minority Counsel Network’s Mentoring and Retention Committee
- Served as a founding member and chair of the Defense Research Institute (DRI) Women in the Law committee
- Serving as program chair of the DRI Diversity for Success Seminar
- Serving as program chair of the DRI Women in the Law Seminar
We at Lightfoot pride ourselves on thinking outside the box, and our approach to diversity and inclusion is no different. We are proud of our efforts and achievements, while always looking for ways to improve individually and collectively. If you would like additional information, please contact Chris King, the chair of our firm's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, or Melody Eagan, our Managing Partner.