Jackie Stone: D&I Groundbreaker

McGuireWoods partner Jackie Stone’s reputation as a diversity and inclusion groundbreaker has long been known throughout McGuireWoods, and on Oct. 3 at the National Women in Law Awards in Washington, D.C., it was recognized on a larger scale when she was honored with a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. Presented by Corporate Counsel and InsideCounsel, leading ALM publications devoted to coverage of the in-house community, Jackie was one of only six women to receive the honor.

The first female African-American partner in a major law firm in Virginia, Stone created and chaired the firm's Diversity & Inclusion Committee and played a key role launching the firm’s Diversity Action Council (DAC). As hiring partner for more than 20 years, she also recruited many diverse lawyers, including Jon Harmon — now McGuireWoods’ chairman and the only African-American leader of an Am Law 100 firm.

The D&I Committee focuses on identifying, attracting and retaining diverse talent. It helps incorporate inclusiveness in the firm’s professional development, supports retention through its lawyer networks and mentors diverse lawyers.

“It’s the more individual, hands-on opportunities that we have to take advantage of,” Stone said. “If you help one person, then they are going to mentor the next person and on and on. That’s going to make the difference.” Stone herself has mentored countless law students and lawyers who have joined McGuireWoods, and has counseled GCs, in-house lawyers, judges, community and elected leaders, and many others in pursuing their careers.

The DAC holds firm leadership accountable for promoting and developing diverse attorneys by ensuring all firm resources are effectively deployed to further their careers. Every month, DAC members meet to rigorously assess each department’s progress in advancing D&I.

Stone’s achievements also paved the way for the firm’s continuing D&I innovations. Developed by the DAC and the firm’s in-house data analytics team, McGuireWoods recently created a custom diversity dashboard to systematically identify opportunities for recruiting, developing, promoting and retaining diverse lawyers, as well as track the firm’s long-term progress, ensuring accountability. This ensures diversity isn’t measured just once a year; it’s woven in to day-to-day operations.

The firm also partners with clients to improve diversity and inclusion and promote collective goals, such as ensuring more opportunities for women and diverse lawyers to lead and work on matters the firm handles for clients as outside counsel.

“Jackie is an exceptional attorney and a trailblazer for women and diverse lawyers, as well as a mentor to me and countless others who have built successful careers at McGuireWoods,” said Harmon. “We are a stronger firm because of her skills and leadership, and we are proud that she has received this well-deserved accolade.”

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