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General Counsel Advance Law Firm Diversity Discussion in Third Annual Baker Botts, Chambers Diversity Summit

News Release
NEW YORK, June 20, 2017 - Baker Botts L.L.P., a leading international law firm, and Chambers and Partners co-hosted the 2017 Chambers Diversity Summit which featured a panel of trailblazing General Counsel and a Baker Botts partner offering guidance on creative methods to affect change and innovative ways to increase law firm diversity. The third annual summit was held Friday, June 16th at the Yale Club of New York City and built upon previous years topics, including ‘Advancing the Business Case for Diversity and Inclusion’ and ‘Achieving Your Diversity Goals.’ 

“The panel of prominent in-house counsel committed to advancing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession provided a timely look at what is lacking in the industry,” said Gail Stewart, Baker Botts partner and chair of the firm's Diversity Committee. “There is no better group to promote the significance of the topic and the importance of making meaningful change.” 

“It's easy to say that 'I don't have the time or bandwidth to focus on diversity’,” said Michelle Ifill, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Verizon Corporate Services. “But as with any worthwhile business imperative, it takes intentionality to drive and maintain diverse and inclusive cultures. Companies are willing to help their firms make the necessary changes to meet this business imperative, but the firm leaders must recognize that this is a priority and personally engage.” 

The panel included Ellen Farell, Assistant General Counsel, Toyota Legal One, Toyota Motors North America, Inc.; Michelle Ifill, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Verizon Corporate Services; Matt Lepore, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, BASF Corporation; and Terence Rozier-Byrd, Partner, Baker Botts (moderator). With a keynote speech from Dennis Archer, Chairman Emeritus at Dickinson Wright, this year’s summit proved to be the foremost event on diversity in the legal profession. 

“Chambers Diversity was delighted to team up with Baker Botts for our third annual Diversity Summit,” said Chris Kay, Global Seminars and Diversity Manager, of Chambers and Partners. “As a leading firm in advancing diversity across the globe, our partnership with Baker Botts has seen the Diversity Summit grow year by year with returning attendees praising the passion of our speakers and the tangible takeaways offered. Given that a number of major companies are now declaring that diversity is an essential factor when choosing outside counsel and implementing a variety of policies to directly influence change, this year we focused on ‘Innovative Ways General Counsel Drive Law Firm Diversity’.”

Key highlights from the event, include:
  • Why corporations implement resolutions to encourage law firms to prioritize diversity.
  • What firms can do today to move the needle for diversity.  
  • What measurable success will look like for the industry in the next five years.  

For a recap of the live Tweets from the event, visit @bakerbotts on Twitter. 

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About Baker Botts LLP

Baker Botts is an international law firm of approximately 725 lawyers practicing throughout a network of 14 offices around the globe. Based on our experience and knowledge of our clients’ industries, we are recognized as a leading firm in the energy and technology sectors. Throughout our 177-year history, we have provided creative and effective legal solutions for our clients while demonstrating an unrelenting commitment to excellence. For more information, please visit

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