Diversity & Inclusion

September 1, 2023

Forman Watkins & Krutz Diversity Pipeline Program Helping Underrepresented Students Pursue Law Careers

The process to becoming a lawyer can be intimidating. Forman Watkins & Krutz started its Diversity Pipeline Program to unveil this process and help underrepresented diverse students from Mississippi’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) confidently apply for law school and pursue careers as civil defense litigators. Initiated in 2021, the FWK Diversity Pipeline Program is a collaboration between the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and Tougaloo College’s Reuben V. Anderson Pre-Law Society and Jackson State University’s Bob Owens Pre-Law Center.  The program includes two phases of development, the Pre-Law Program and the Law School Program. The Pre-Law Program is curated to provide students with the information and preparation needed to make their law school experience more manageable and less stressful. Students who attend the Pre-Law Program are eligible to transition to the Pipeline Program’s second phase, the Law School Program. This phase begins with a bootcamp offered in the Summer prior to students attending law school. As they make their way through law school, the program fosters mentor relationships with firm attorneys and offers a host of professional development opportunities geared towards preparing them for their legal career upon graduation, as well as a mini-clerkship during their December holiday break. Students who complete the Law School Program will then be in consideration for a Summer Associate position with the firm. “The mission of the Forman Watkins & Krutz Diversity Pipeline Program is to expose diverse students to the legal environment so that they can see a path to life as […]

June 9, 2023

Forman Watkins & Krutz Hosts Diversity Pipeline Program for Third Year

The Jackson office of Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP recently hosted eight students from Tougaloo College and Jackson State University for its third annual Diversity Pipeline Pre-Law Program. Kennadie Boykin, Naya Singleton and Alexandria Williams from Jackson State University and Daija Gist, Jontrell Mack, Avery Robinson, Carmen Washington and Montae’l Williams from Tougaloo College participated in this year’s program. They were provided an overview of “firm life,” including an overview of civil defense litigation and the firm’s practice areas, along with discussions regarding the firm’s Pro Bono, Recruiting, and Diversity & Inclusion committees. The firm’s junior associates shared best practices for law school. Students also heard from diverse in-house counsel who work with civil defense firms, including Tiffanee Wade-Henderson, Associate General Counsel – Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer and Litigation at International Paper; Romika Wells, Director of Organization Development and Training at Wayne-Sanderson Farms, Inc.; Bobby Owens, , General Counsel at OCI Americas; and Reginald Paige, Associate General Counsel at Sylvamo North America. There was also a professional development presentation led by executive coach, Candie Simmons, President of CLSimmons Consulting, LLC “The mission of the Forman Watkins & Krutz Diversity Pipeline Program is to expose diverse students to the legal environment so  they can see a path to life as a civil defense litigator,” says Malissa Wilson,  partner and director of the firm’s Diversity Pipeline Program. “If we want to see more diversity, equity and inclusion in our legal profession, and specifically at civil defense firms, programs like these are critical […]

August 16, 2022

FormanWatkins Hosts Diversity Pipeline Program Bootcamp

FormanWatkins recently concluded its Diversity Pipeline Program’s pre-law school bootcamp. Students from Tougaloo College, an historically black college located in Jackson, Mississippi, participated in an all-day educational event featuring a Q&A panel discussion with the firm’s summer clerks on what to expect the first year in law school; a seminar taught by FWK associates, Catherine Pettis and Chandler C. Agee, on case briefing and outlining; and, a mock law school lecture by University of Mississippi School of Law Professor Larry J. Pittman. In addition to the bootcamp, the students spent their spring break at the firm participating in a week-long series of activities that included a civil litigation legal education seminar, attorney shadowing opportunities and panel discussions with outside counsel. In partnership with the pre-law society at Tougaloo College, the FWK Pipeline Program is a firm diversity initiative to recruit stellar students attending historically black colleges and universities with an interest to practice law. All program participants are set to attend law school in the fall on full scholarships. Participants included: Precious Thompson, George Washington University Law School Amber Magee, Suffolk University Law School Clifford Benton, Jr., Suffolk University Law School Pierrerasha Goodwin, University of Alabama Law School Octavius Henderson, Vermont Law School Marvin Dale, Jr., Washburn University School of Law Samuel Patterson, III, Drake University Law School Kevana Funches, Columbia University School of Professional Studies

May 31, 2022

FormanWatkins Partners Participate in the Mississippi Bar’s Diversity Best Practices Workshop

FormanWatkins partner Malissa Wilson culminated her tenure as chair of the Mississippi Bar’s Diversity Committee with a workshop bringing together thought leaders, law school representatives and c-suite diversity officers to discuss diversity, inclusion and equity best practices for attracting and retaining diverse talent at law firms. The half-day workshop featured D&I committee chairs from various Mississippi firms, including FWK D&I Chair, Caroline Upchurch, who spoke on the topic of “What’s Working & What’s Not Working.” The workshop also featured a session on rethinking summer law clerk program recruitment and a corporate D&I representatives roundtable discussion.

May 4, 2022

FormanWatkins Hosts Second Annual Diversity Pipeline Program

The Diversity Pipeline Program is a three-and-a-half-day program for Tougaloo College pre-law students interest­ed in pursuing a career as a civil litigator. The FormanWatkins Jackson office hosted Amber Magee, Kevana Funches, Precious Thompson, Pierrerasha Goodwin and Octavious Henderson for the 2022 Diversity Pipeline Program. In addition to attending seminars providing overviews of “firm life,” civil litigation and the firm’s practice areas, the students partook in discussions regarding the firm’s Pro Bono, Recruiting, and Diversity & Inclusion committees. The students also attended speaker sessions led by diverse in-house counsel who are major firm clients and were given a legal research assignment with an opportunity to prepare a written memorandum of their findings. Firm attorneys led a professional development and resume workshop for the students. The firm also assigned attorney mentors during the program to facilitate discussions and to help with the research assignment. The program concluded with the Tougaloo students attending in-person criminal hearings before U.S. Magistrate Judge LaKeysha Greer-Isaac of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. At the conclusion of the hearings, Judge Greer-Isaac spoke with the students and held a question-and-answer session. This year’s group of students were smart, enjoyable and demonstrated a true eagerness to learn more about the legal profession. Amber, Kevana, Precious, Pierrerasha and Octavious are part of the Reuben V. Anderson Pre-Law Program at Tougaloo College under the direction of Julian Miller, an attorney in the FormanWatkins Jackson office. With highest academic honors, these students recently graduated from Tougaloo College […]

November 29, 2021

Julian Miller Featured in DRI Diversity Insider Newsletter – Launching a Diversity Pipeline Program

When I joined Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP, as a senior associate in October 2019, I did not initially envision my existing role as the pre-law director at Tougaloo College, an historically black college in Jackson, Mississippi, would so quickly intersect with my responsibilities at the firm. As the pre-law director, I was constantly seeking opportunities for my students to gain exposure to the law and legal profession. I have always believed that exposing diverse undergrad students, many of whom would be first-generation attorneys, to the legal profession would have the immediate benefit of improving their success in law school and the long-term benefit of success as a practicing attorney.

October 26, 2021

Sampada Kapoor Elected to Diversity Council for University of Mississippi School of Law

We are proud to announce Sampada Kapoor’s election to the newly formed Diversity Council at the University of Mississippi School of Law. The Council is composed of law school alumnus and works with various departments at the School of Law including admissions, student services, fundraising and bar preparations. Sam also serves on the Board of Directors for the Mississippi Bar Young Lawyers Division and is honored as a Mid-South Rising Star and Leader in Law by the Mississippi Business Journal.

July 1, 2021

FormanWatkins Thanks Baker Hughes for Participating in our Diversity Pipeline Program

FormanWatkins recently welcomed counsel from Baker Hughes to participate in FormanWatkins’ Diversity Pipeline Program.  Regina Jones, Chief Legal Officer, and Amy Blumrosen, Senior Litigation Counsel, spoke to current students and recent graduates from Tougaloo College and Jackson State University about pursuing a career in the legal field.

June 18, 2021

McFarland Serves as Panelist for DRI Diversity for Success Seminar

DRI recently held their annual Diversity for Success Seminar in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Vernon McFarland served on the Law Student Forum Panel designed to give open and straightforward answers to future attorneys on what to expect in the profession.  The discussion included creating a career path, best practices during job interviews and navigating obstacles unique to attorneys from underrepresented backgrounds. University of Mississippi Law FWK Summer Associate, Hope Thompson, attended the seminar and enjoyed the panel and connecting peers and panelists.