As humans, the differences among us are many. We come in different colors, shapes and sexual identities, with different origins, thoughts, preferences and convictions.
But there are core elements we all share. Call it our commonality, our sameness. We all have curiosity and the capacity to laugh, to love, to cry, to pursue freedom.
It’s what makes us, well, human.
Reveling in it all — our differences and our sameness — propels us to greater success, whether we’re talking about a macro view of society or a micro view of a profession.
Slip Missouri’s legal profession onto that slide, clip it under the lens and peer in. You’ll find imperfection, but you also will find hard work and momentum to broaden inclusion and celebrate diversity. The American Bar Association leads the profession nationally through its diversity and inclusion center resource, and The Missouri Bar follows suit with its committee on diversity, forums and training. Local bar associations do the same, from Springfield to St. Louis and Kansas City. A growing number of legal associations are devoted to diverse segments of attorneys doing remarkable work within the profession and the justice system.
The number of firms devoted to the work of diversity and inclusion continues to grow as their leaders recognize that excellence starts with a commitment from the top that builds from below. It’s the individuals of any association or firm who make sustainable change.
When diversity is celebrated and inclusion guaranteed in any endeavor, it’s surely our human essence leading the work.
And then there’s this: It’s the right thing to do.
The individuals we honor through the 2021 Diversity & Inclusion awards do the right thing. They are part of the bedrock that supports a growing foundation of work throughout Missouri’s legal profession.
The honorees we recognize on these pages were selected after considerable deliberation on many impressive nominations. Missouri Lawyers Media did so with the help of a selection committee of attorneys drawn from throughout the state’s legal community — all of whom have devoted much of their own careers to increasing diversity and inclusion in the profession.
Our honorees represent incredible work, often conducted outside of the spotlight.
They are remarkable humans.
And we are all better for it.
Publisher, Missouri Lawyers Media
Diversity & Inclusion 2021 honorees
U.S. Circuit Judge Duane Benton, 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Jennifer Oswald Brown, Oswald Roam & Rew
Seema Chawla, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
Jasmine Chen, Evolved Estates/Donner Applewhite
Judge Lisa White Hardwick, Missouri Court of Appeals Western District
Justin U. Ijei, Rasmussen Dickey Moore
Quentin L. Jennings, Polsinelli
Mark H. Levison, Lashly & Baer
Mira Mdivani, Mdivani Corporate Immigration Law Firm
S. David Mitchell, Ruth L. Hulston Professor of Law, University of Missouri School of Law
Maurice Lamar Moss, City Utilities of Springfield
Catherine Reade, Haden, Cowherd & Bullock
Booker T. Shaw, Thompson Coburn, retired judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District
Sarah Roe Sise, Armstrong Teasdale
Johnny S. Wang, Stinson
Carmen White, Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale
Alexus Williams, St. Louis County Counselor’s Office
Casey Wong, Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard
Missouri Assistant Attorney General David L. McCain and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christa Moss, The Milly Project