Introducing Our 2023 Diversity & Inclusion Co-Chairs
As a way to get to know our 2023 Diversity & Inclusion (“D&I”) Committee co-chairs James D. Kelly, Jason S. Kim, and Morgan Fraser Mouchette, we asked them about how their experience and values impact their commitment to DEI and what they hope to accomplish as co-chairs in 2023.
How do your experience and values impact your commitment to DEI?
James: “I try to bring empathy and a principled moral compass to everything I do. I believe these two traits are critical to an honest pursuit of equity and inclusion. My participation in Blank Rome’s 21-Day Leadership Antiracism Challenge reinforced that being a true ally means taking a proactive position to accelerate progress in the pursuit of genuine DEI.”
Jason: “The single most significant experience that impacts my commitment to DEI is the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which occurred right before finals week of my third year at UCLA School of Law. Why am I committed to DEI? Because, on April 29, 1992, I saw what years of exclusion and inequity left unchecked can do to a community. The values that impact my commitment to DEI are rooted in my faith, which commands me to live a life that reconciles across all boundaries, differences, and divisions and tells me that the ideal world is a diverse one filled with “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language.”
Morgan: “My grandfather, Edwin C. ‘Bill’ Berry, was a civil rights leader in the Chicago Urban League and a leader in the Chicago Freedom Movement in the 1960s. He and my grandmother, an activist, worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to fight against segregation in Chicago housing and public schools and helped win a long-fought battle for the passage of the Fair Employment Practices law in Illinois. Guided by their example, I have always felt a responsibility to expand opportunities for people of color and other marginalized groups and a desire to push against the status quo to ensure that everyone has a seat at the table.”
As a co-chair, what do you hope to accomplish or look forward to in 2023?
James: “2023 offers fresh opportunities to continue our focused build-out of the firm’s DEI strategic plan, and the increased availability of tools to support inclusivity.”
Jason: “I am happy that we are taking a proactive approach to enhance our recruiting and hiring process. This year, I want to see us continue to build on that momentum and hire more lateral attorneys of color in our key growth markets and to invest in expanding our performance review process.”
Morgan: “I am excited to build on the firm’s unique momentum as a result of the 2022 DEI Summit and All Attorney Retreat, where we were able to celebrate the close ties we have developed, especially in the BR United and BR Pride communities. In 2023, I want to continue to expand and hone our programming and strategy to embed DEI as a consideration in our retention of talent, our business development, and our internal programming to ensure that every member of Blank Rome feels supported and valued.”
This article was published in the 2022–2023 edition of Blank Rome’s Perspectives Magazine. To view Perspectives, click the image below.
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