McGuireWoods was recognized for its innovative initiatives to support military veterans, winning the award for Veterans Program of the Year in Chambers and Partners’ Diversity & Inclusion Awards: North America 2021.
The firm’s Veteran Lawyers Network supports military veterans inside the firm and leverages the experience of McGuireWoods’ lawyers to provide legal assistance to service members nationwide. Central to these efforts is the firm’s work on pro bono matters referred by the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP). In 2020, 38 McGuireWoods volunteers contributed a total of 574 pro bono hours to NVLSP clients and took on 12 new matters.
The firm also collaborated with clients and legal aid organizations to host multiple pro bono clinics in which lawyers assisted veterans with legal needs such as benefits concerns, landlord-tenant disputes, wills, expungements, mortgage matters and foreclosure issues. In addition, McGuireWoods was a sponsor of the national Wreaths Across America program, which featured holiday wreath-laying ceremonies and Arlington National Cemetery and 2,100 locations in the United States, at sea and abroad.
“McGuireWoods is proud to support military veterans in our firm and in our communities and grateful to receive this recognition,” said partner John Thompson, a U.S. Army veteran and chair of the firm’s Veteran Lawyers Network. “We are fortunate to have the opportunity to assist men and women who have served our country in uniform.”
Chambers’ annual awards program honors firms and individuals for advancing diversity and inclusion across the United States and Canada. Winners were announced June 17 in a virtual ceremony.
In addition to the honor for Veterans Program of the Year, McGuireWoods chairman Jonathan Harmon was a finalist for Diversity & Inclusion Lawyer of the Year; partner Mark Kinghorn was a finalist for Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year; and counsel Tanisha Reed was a finalist in the Future Leader category. McGuireWoods also was a finalist for Outstanding Firm for Pro Bono.
Harmon was a finalist for strengthening the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, establishing new initiatives and enhancing efforts to provide meaningful support and leadership roles for lawyers of color and women and LGBTQ+ lawyers. An influential leader in the legal profession and business community, Harmon created and moderates the firm’s monthly Leaders in Color webcast, where top lawyers from corporate legal departments and civil rights organizations offer insight on inclusion, leadership and racial justice.
Kinghorn, a partner in the Charlotte office, was recognized for exceptional pro bono service. He has been instrumental in the success of the firm’s one-of-a-kind Charlotte Triage project, which brings together local law firm and corporate legal department leaders to expand pro bono services for low-income Charlotte residents and ease the burden on legal aid organizations.
Reed, counsel in Charlotte, is an advocate for racial justice and equality. She is a member of the firm’s Racial Justice Task Force and a former executive board member and treasurer of the John S. Leary Association of Black Attorneys. At the request of Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, Reed joined the mayor’s Racial Equity Initiative, which challenges local businesses to play a role in racial justice efforts.
McGuireWoods was shortlisted in the Outstanding Firm for Pro Bono category for providing critical legal assistance to low-income and underserved communities, including helping clients break free from human trafficking, gain asylum, escape domestic violence, challenge unfair prison sentences and obtain disability benefits.
“Diversity and inclusion have long been core values at McGuireWoods and we are pleased to be recognized,” said partner Ava Lias-Booker, chair of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. “Fostering a culture that encourages diverse ideas and opinions is critical to delivering innovative solutions for our clients.”