After the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor tragedies, Camille Roe was invited to join The Missouri Bar’s Special Committee on Lawyers of Color.
“In this time of a pandemic and civil unrest across our nation,” she says, “we now have some much-needed initiatives to help with diversity and inclusion issues for practicing law in Missouri.”
Even as a child, Roe wanted to be an attorney.
“I got derailed from that path because I didn’t know any attorneys who looked like me,” she says. “Then in college, I saw Black attorneys practicing law. I realized I could do that.”
As a single parent, Roe graduated from law school and started practicing law when her daughter was 10. Now, her daughter is 19 and a college student.
“I am a role model and source of representation for my daughter,” she says. “I do my best to show her what she can achieve. She can see someone within her sphere who is actually succeeding.”
Roe is the first person in her family to earn a J.D. and practice law.
Today, she handles employment litigation, including both state and federal claims, and mediation at JacksonLewis. Her trial experience includes numerous labor and employment matters, as well as lawsuits by private parties and by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). She has handled cases involving claims of race, age, disability and sex discrimination, as well as sexual harassment and retaliatory discharge.
Roe recalls the first time she went to trial and got a verdict in her client’s favor.
“I wasn’t just sitting at the table,” she says. “I was in the thick of things. I got to do the closing argument. As a junior attorney at the time, I was honored that lead counsel trusted me to be the last word to the jury.”
Two years into her career, she had her first win on a summary judgment motion.
“That was a super stressful situation,” she says. “I worked really, really hard and put in a lot of hours to make sure the motion was what it needed to be so my client could walk away from the case.”
The case was appealed to the federal appeals court, and she won again.
Recently, Roe facilitated the CLE, “Improving Allyship in 2021: A Conversation on Promoting Anti-Racism in the Legal Profession,” as a joint effort between the Association of Women Lawyers and the Black Female Attorneys Network. This CLE addressed the barriers that female attorneys of color encounter in the workplace, and how allies can work to remove those barriers.
As a Black woman in this profession, Roe has learned that representation matters.
“2020 helped me see a lot of things clearly and gave me a clear push into 2021,” she says. “I want to see everyone represented in the legal community. I’m taking the steps I can take to make that an eventual reality.”