Moore & Van Allen fosters a culture of diversity, belonging, and inclusion at our firm and in the many communities we serve. Diversity is embraced and promoted across the firm in our recruiting, development, and promotion programs for lawyers and staff with different personal backgrounds and experiences. There is unequivocal strength in diversity, and we believe different perspectives enable us to better serve our clients. We are committed in our efforts to continue to intentionally build and strengthen an inclusive environment.
Message from Leadership
We remain steadfast in our belief that in order to achieve the best outcomes we must also remain open and supportive of diverse experiences and perspectives. We are a proud to support a culture where we work hard to welcome, include, value and listen to everyone.
Tom Mitchell, Chair, Management Committee
Amy Johnson, Co-chair, Diversity Committee
Valecia McDowell, Co-chair, Diversity Committee
- Moore & Van Allen’s 4th annual Diversity Conference was held virtually in January 2022. This conference is designed to introduce 1L law students to leaders and career opportunities in the legal industry.
- Our Diversity Scholarship Program is a unique summer employment opportunity for students finishing their first year in law school. 1L Diversity Scholars participate in the firm’s 10-week summer associate program.
In October 2021 MVA’s Management Committee unanimously approved and established a billable-hour credit policy for diversity- and inclusion-related work. The policy provides associates, counsel, and staff attorneys with up to 50 hours of billable credit on an annual basis for diversity and inclusion activity. The goal of the policy is to recognize firm attorneys who are individually and collectively supporting efforts that will continue to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace. Offering billable credit for diversity and inclusion efforts aligns with the firm’s Diversity Statement, which recognizes that having people with different backgrounds and lived experiences enriches the firm’s ability to provide the highest level of legal services.
MVA Chair Tom Mitchell continues to actively participate in the Carolinas Social Impact Initiative, an effort to foster a more inclusive community and reduce systemic barriers to social and economic mobility in the Carolinas. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder in May 2020, 24 law firm leaders came together in Charlotte to discuss how they could harness their energy and resources to address racial disparities and social injustices. This group eventually formed the Carolinas Social Impact Initiative, focusing on four areas: supporting minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs; advancing educational opportunities; supporting family stability and social justice; and improving access to social capital and career opportunities.
MVA continues to participate in the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance (LFAA) and was the first Carolina-based law firm to join the effort when established in 2020. LFAA is committed to leveraging the resources of the private bar in partnership with legal services organizations to amplify the voices of communities and individuals oppressed by racism. The group focuses particularly on anti-Black racism, to better use the law as a vehicle for change that benefits communities of color and to promote racial equity in the law. MVA Financial Services Members Sonny Ha and Kimberly Zirkle serve on the LFAA’s education and banking working groups, respectively.
Over the past year, the firm’s Black Attorney Resource Group (BARG) – led by MVA Litigation Associate Jules Carter – met both virtually and in person, to create and nourish connections among firm attorneys. Founded in 2020, the affinity group has placed building fellowship among members at the center of its resource-building strategy.
The MVA Lawyers of Color (LOC) group also continued to stay in touch through a series of virtual happy hours and small in-person gatherings to provide support to one another throughout the pandemic. In early 2021, LOC members gathered virtually for an interactive session to discuss best practices for client development. The group is led by MVA Litigation Member Nader Raja.
The Women of Moore & Van Allen (WoMVA) group also continued to support its members through a variety of virtual and safely distanced in-person events over the course of the past year. The group found creative ways to make virtual gatherings engaging. Throughout the year, WoMVA provided support to expecting mothers through the WoMVA Advocate Program, a peer-to-peer mentoring initiative that offers encouragement and guidance to women before, during, and after their parental leave. Topics vary depending on individual need, and include finding reliable childcare, communicating pre- and post- parental leave needs to team members, and in-office lactation needs and support. WoMVA is led by Litigation Member Mary Katherine Stukes and Financial Services Member Meredith Reedy.
In response to the verdict delivery in State of Minnesota v. Derek Michael Chauvin, the MVA Diversity Committee invited colleagues to gather virtually and reflect on the moment. Ninety-six employees from the Charlotte and Charleston offices joined in solidarity on the morning of April 21, 2021. Attendees were greeted by MVA Diversity Committee Co-Chairs Amy Johnson and Valecia McDowell, who offered their own personal reflections, followed by the collective group participating in 9 minutes and 29 seconds of silence.
Throughout 2021, the firm hosted a series of cultural celebrations open to all employees. These efforts offer an opportunity to increase cultural awareness among staff and also serve as an opportunity to foster deeper connections among one another. Programs offered throughout the year recognized Black History Month, International Women’s Day, Women’s History Month, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and National and Charlotte Pride Months. Additionally, the firm hosts an annual event in honor of Charlotte Civil Rights Attorney Julius Chambers which gives recognition to other civil rights champions like South Carolina Judge Matthew Perry, Jr. who helped to increase equity and opportunity both within the legal industry and broader community.
Like the Wells Fargo Legal Department, MVA is a current participant and founding member of the Charlotte Legal Diversity Clerkship Program (CLDC). In 2021, MVA Bankruptcy and Restructuring Member and Team Leader Zachary Smith assumed the role of co-chair of the CLDC program for two years. MVA looks forward to participating with Wells Fargo in the 2022 installation of the CLDC program.
MVA continued its partnership with PFLAG Charlotte in 2021 by hosting a summer seminar, “Fostering LGTBQ+ Allyship and Advocacy,” that highlighted important LGBTQ+ nomenclature and provided practical steps for creating an inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ co-workers, friends, and family. Financial Services Member Amy Johnson is a PFLAG board member and provided opening remarks for the presentation. MVA was proud to serve as a 2021 sponsor of Charlotte Pride, a leader in LGBTQ+ visibility that strives to enrich, empower, strengthen, and make visible the unique lives and experiences of LGBTQ+ people in Charlotte and the Carolinas. Charlotte Pride adapted to the unique challenges presented by the pandemic throughout the October and November Pride season by offering a series of virtual and small in-person events, including pop-up shops, a film festival, a job fair and community conference, and an interfaith service. MVA employees and their families showed their support by participating in a variety of activities.
Over the summer of 2021, MVA employees were invited to “get on the virtual bus” to learn about Charlotte’s history and how past decisions continue to influence our community. Hosted in partnership with MVA’s long-time community partner, the Community Building Initiative (CBI), the “Charlotte in Black & White … and More” bus tour is an innovative, interactive approach to bringing the history of Charlotte to life. Founded in 1997, CBI’s mission is to provide people and organizations with the knowledge, skills, and courage to fight bias, remove barriers to opportunity, and build a more equitable and just Charlotte-Mecklenburg. MVA Litigation Members Valecia McDowell and Josh Lanning have supported the organization through service on the CBI Board of Directors, and Josh is currently participating in the Class 2021 of CBI’s Leadership Development Institute.
In the summer of 2021, the MVA Diversity Committee launched the Books of Belonging program in the firm’s Charlotte office, offering MVA employees the chance to borrow various children’s books focusing on stories about differences, both physical and invisible. The effort was inspired by programming offered at Trinity Episcopal School and designed to support MVA employees and their families in their personal desire to celebrate and understand differences.
MVA was a proud sponsor of the inaugural Carolinas’ Veterans Day Festival at Truist Field on November 11. Hosted by the Veterans Bridge Home, the family-friendly event was open to the entire community and focused on celebrating those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. MVA Employment Specialist LaWanda Stevens attended the event, along with MVA employees John Allen, Travis Bakken, and Dennis Robinson, who are also veterans. The team met with attendees to discuss employment opportunities and had the chance to enjoy the event as well.
2022 Annual Report
The Diversity and Management Committees are proud to present our 2022 Diversity Report: The Art of Diversity. The annual publication highlights the firm’s ongoing initiatives and future goals, and can be found here.
In crafting this report, we wanted to demonstrate the investment the firm has made over the past year in evaluating the impact of our diversity and inclusion efforts to date. We recognize that undertaking a critical review of our commitment helps to strengthen our future actions. As such, we commissioned artist, Stacy Utley, to capture visually our collective experience of conducting a cultural assessment and identifying strategic action that will positively impact our colleagues, workspaces, and communities in the years ahead.
As you review the report, we hope you enjoy the images of the artist’s creative process and pause to reflect on the finished painting, entitled BRIGHTER HORIZON. We are pleased to revel the finished work at the end of our report, and it will be proudly displayed in our Charlotte office.
Recruiting & Retention
Moore & Van Allen is committed to recruiting, developing and promoting lawyers and staff of every gender, race, religion and sexual orientation. Working closely with the firm’s Management, Diversity and Recruitment committees we have adopted several initiatives designed to support these values. We believe there is unequivocal strength in diversity and remain unwavering in efforts to leverage that power for our clients.
Moore & Van Allen’s annual Diversity Conference is a one-day seminar designed to introduce 1L law students to leaders and career opportunities in the legal industry. Students are selected through a competitive application process and gain exposure to the climate of diversity in the legal industry through various networking opportunities, interactive panels, and presentations from MVA members, clients and other leaders in the legal profession.
Launched in January 2019, Moore & Van Allen’s Diversity Scholarship Program is a unique summer employment opportunity for students just finishing their first year in law school. Open to all first-year law students, we evaluate candidates based on their academic performance, communication skills, demonstrated leadership qualities, work experience and community involvement. Selected students will have the opportunity to participate in the firm’s 10-week summer associate program for 2Ls and may receive up to $35,000in additional scholarship money.
Moore & Van Allen is a founding participant and longstanding partner of the Charlotte Legal Diversity Clerkship (CLDC). Established in 2006, the CLDC program operates with one basic goal—to improve diversity in the Mecklenburg County Bar by attracting top first-year law students with diverse backgrounds to Charlotte through corporate and law firm summer internships.
The Diversity Committee strives to cultivate and maintain relationships with several community partners including, but not limited to, the following:
- Community Building Initiative, a nonprofit organization established in 1997 by government and civic leaders, which is dedicated to issues of access, inclusion and equity in the Charlotte community.
- Charlotte Legal Diversity Clerkship, a highly competitive summer program that identifies and exposes qualified minority students to the Charlotte legal community. Moore & Van Allen served as one of the founding organizations of the program.
- Moore & Van Allen is proud to serve as a Diversity Champion sponsor of the Mecklenburg County Bar’s diversity and inclusion efforts.
- Carolinas-Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council that expands business opportunities for Minority Business Enterprises by adding economic value to the supply chain, while increasing economic opportunities for the minority business community.
- We serve as a sponsor of the Women Lawyers of Charlotte and ensures membership to the organization for our female lawyers.
PFLAG Charlotte supports families, allies and people who are LGBTQ+, to educate about issues important to LGBTQ+ communities, and to advocate in our communities for a more equitable future for all.
- Moore & Van Allen is a proud annual sponsor of the North Carolina Human Rights Campaign Gala in Charlotte, NC.
- We are a proud sponsor of the annual YMCA MLK Holiday Breakfast benefitting the McCrorey YMCA.
- Moore & Van Allen is a sponsor of the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation's annual McMillan Dinner which recognizes a diversity champion within the local bar; funds from the event help underwrite summer clerkship opportunities at local legal services institutions.
At Moore & Van Allen, we recognize that having people with different racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds, countries and regions of origin, genders, gender identities and expressions, generations, physical abilities and sexual orientations is critical to our ability to provide the highest level of legal services. By fostering an inclusive work environment, we come together as one extraordinary team with the common purpose of providing truly outstanding legal services to our clients. Our commitment to diversity goes beyond our firm to the communities we serve through extensive outreach initiatives. These core principles are embraced by the firm’s leadership.
MVA receives Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality recognition
For the sixth consecutive year, MVA again earned a perfect 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index. The survey rates businesses on their commitment to LGBTQ inclusion practices in employee benefits, professional development and accountability, as well as public commitment.
WomenInc. magazine named Moore & Van Allen to its Top 100 Law Firms for Women
The list was published in WomenInc. magazine’s fall 2019 issue. Law firms were selected based on a demonstrated commitment to supporting women in the legal profession.