The first annual Minnesota Lawyer-Diversity & Inclusion Awards honor those who have contributed to the advancement of diversity and inclusion in the practice of law, going above and beyond in creating a more diverse and inclusive community.
When Jerry Blackwell founded Blackwell Burke P.A., he wove excellence and diversity into the firm’s DNA based on his longstanding commitment to both: “I wanted to build a law firm doing institutional work where diversity lives as a leadership priority and to be an example of how a diverse environment can work in fact and not just as a marketing slogan or aspirational goal,” says Mr. Blackwell.
While many firms are struggling to attract or retain diverse talent, Blackwell Burke, equally balanced in both gender and race, remains the most diverse firm in Minnesota that engages in institutional representation of Fortune 500 companies as national or trial counsel throughout the country. “Our diversity goes beyond headcount. We support and encourage all efforts to open doors to inclusion and equal opportunity in the Minnesota legal community.”
Diversity, even in a minority-owned organization, doesn’t just happen; competition for top talent is tough, and retention is all about creating a healthy environment in which the organization’s diversity must be rooted.
Mr. Blackwell was co-founder and twice president of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers (MABL). He has received recognitions from the National Bar Association for leadership in diversity.
Mr. Blackwell co-founded the Twin Cities Committee on Minority Lawyers in Large Law Firms (TCC) around 1990. The TCC was the first organized effort in large Minnesota law firms to prioritize diversity. The TCC created the Minnesota Minority Job Fair, which was turned over to the Hennepin County Bar Association, bringing Minnesota employers qualified minority candidates from around the country.