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 2023 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.
Susan A. Bocamazo, Esq.
Publisher, Missouri Lawyers Media
David Bell, Wyrsch Hobbs & Mirakian, Shareholder
Nimrod T. Chapel, Chapel Law Group/NCAAP, Attorney
Charla Claypool, Lewis Rice, Member
LaceShionna N. Cline, Littler, Associate Attorney
Belinda Dantley, Saint Louis University School of Law, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Lilian Doan Davis, Polsinelli, Shareholder
Mary Elizabeth Dorsey, Florissant Municipal Court, Municipal Judge
George W. Draper III, Missouri Supreme Court, Judge (retired)
Gabriel Gore, St. Louis Circuit Attorney
Jackson County Court Appointed Special Advocates, Non-profit organization
Richard Hein, Hein Law Firm, President Hispanic Bar Association of St. Louis
Sylvester “Sly” James, Wickham James, Mediator
Jolie L. Justus, University Health, General Counsel
Ronald Nguyen, Law Office of Ronald Nguyen, Attorney
TaRonda Randall, Husch Blackwell, Senior Counsel
Lauren Schuster, Armstrong Teasdale, Partner
Mark E. Stallion, Greensfelder, Officer
JR Swanegan, University of Missouri School of Law, Assistant Dean of Admissions
James L. Truesdell, Brauer Supply Company/Saint Louis University School of Business, Chairman/Assistant Professor
J. Nicci Warr, Stinson, Partner