Power of Partnerships

Bank of America Honors McGuireWoods for Diversity and Inclusion

November 11, 2020
Ava Lias-Booker, Robert Muckenfuss and Tanya Greene

Bank of America recently honored McGuireWoods with its Law Firm Diversity & Inclusion Award in recognition of the firm’s collaboration and leadership advancing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

In selecting McGuireWoods for the award, Bank of America evaluated the firm’s internal culture for recruiting, retaining, mentoring and promoting lawyers of color, women and LGBTQ+ lawyers, and veterans. It also considered the firm’s external efforts to advance diversity and inclusion, including significant initiatives in which McGuireWoods and Bank of America worked together.

“We value our partnership with Bank of America and the opportunity to collaborate on innovative initiatives to advance diversity and inclusion,” said McGuireWoods Chairman Jonathan Harmon. “D&I are priorities for Bank of America and McGuireWoods and we are honored to receive this recognition.”

In February, McGuireWoods and Bank of America organized a program called “Partnering for Progress in Diversity & Inclusion,” which drew more than 200 attorneys from law firms, corporations and government to the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C. Introduced by Bank of America global general counsel David Leitch, Harmon led a wide-ranging discussion with distinguished lawyers on the challenges and opportunities facing companies and law firms and their shared need to make meaningful progress building and nurturing diverse and inclusive teams.

Joining Harmon were panelists Amy B. Littman, Bank of America’s deputy general counsel and managing director; Robert J. Grey Jr., president of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity; Wade J. Henderson, former president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; and Mark W. Johnson, chief legal, governance officer and corporate secretary of Kimball International. Each shared stories of peers and mentors who paved the way for their advancement, explained how in-house and outside counsel can work together on diversity and inclusion, and discussed how to accelerate progress.

In August 2020, McGuireWoods and Bank of America co-hosted a two-part CLE webcast that included Harmon’s one-on-one discussion with Professor Ibram X. Kendi, the bestselling author of “How to Be an Antiracist,” and a panel moderated by partner Robert Muckenfuss, chair of the firm’s Complex Commercial Litigation Department.

Joining Kendi on the panel were McGuireWoods partners Ava Lias-Booker, chair of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and Tanya Greene as well as Bank of America deputy general counsel Jack Sena and associate general counsel and senior vice president Justin Goggins. They discussed the role lawyers play identifying racist policies and finding a path toward racial equity; how individuals can dismantle policies that promote inequality and be agents of change; recruiting and retaining diverse lawyers; and the importance of pro bono service and civic engagement. The webcast drew more than 1,100 attendees, including McGuireWoods and Bank of America lawyers.

“We are grateful to David Leitch and his team at Bank of America for their leadership and support in this important effort,” said Muckenfuss, who helps manage McGuireWoods’ relationship with Bank of America. “We look forward to continuing our work with Bank of America to promote diversity and inclusion in our workplaces and communities.”