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Diversity & Inclusion 2022: Reginald Harris

Partner, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

Reginald HarrisReginald Harris knows what it is like to have a hard time finding others who look like him in the workplace or in leadership positions.

“I have children; I have nieces and nephews; I have godchildren,” he writes. “And I want them to be able to have an easier time navigating their careers and their endeavors by understanding that their race, color, gender or any other characteristic that has nothing to do with their ability to work, is not something that holds them back.”

Named in 2020 by Missouri Lawyers Weekly as one of the Top 30 Lawyers in White-Collar Defense, the University of Iowa graduate spent more than a decade and a half winning notoriety and awards in the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Missouri where he served as White Collar Chief, directed the office’s civil rights program and developed and implemented strategies related to the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods.

Since 2019, he has dealt with white collar criminal matters, corporate compliance issues, internal investigations and civil and appellate work as a partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner.

Currently, he serves on the boards of non-profits that enhance the lives of youth from disadvantaged backgrounds including ArtWorks and Big League Impact.

What goal remains unfulfilled for you as an attorney and advocate for Diversity & Inclusion?

I would like to the help establish a formal network of young, diverse lawyers in the region recently out of law school and connect them with more seasoned lawyers as an additional opportunity for mentorship. We still have first generation lawyers coming up through the ranks, and they often do not know what they do not know. The more we can expose them to opportunities for mentorship, the more we can help them avoid unnecessary pitfalls.

What must Missouri’s legal community do to promote meaningful and long-term diversity within its legal/justice system?

Those who are already engaged in DEI work should stay engaged. And those who are not – and may be sitting on the sidelines – I would encourage them to seek to become educated on DEI issues. Sometimes we rely on other people’s perspectives regarding an issue and we do not seek to learn about it ourselves.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you:

From seventh grade through high school, I attended through the desegregation program. I lived in North St. Louis (in the Walnut Park and North Pointe neighborhoods) and was bussed all the way to the Lindbergh School District in South St. Louis County.

2022 Diversity & Inclusion Awards