Moore & Van Allen Appoints Joshua Lanning to Co-lead DEI Advice, Audits & Assessments Practice


Moore & Van Allen PLLC (MVA) is pleased to announce that Member Joshua D. Lanning has been appointed to serve as co-head of the firm’s DEI Advice, Audits & Assessments practice group alongside Member Valecia M. McDowell.

The group, formerly known as the Civil Rights & Racial Equity Assessments practice, conducts public facing, and confidential and privileged DEI assessments of companies and other entities. The team has expanded its focus to include providing particularized and thoughtful advice related to an organization’s DEI initiatives, assisting clients in mitigating legal risk  despite the notable trend of legal challenges to such programs.

“We are proud to be one of the first law firms in the nation that is blazing a trail in this important work and Josh brings a wealth of relevant experience and perspective as the new team co-head,” said McDowell. “With demand growing every day, we renamed our practice the ‘DEI Advice, Audits & Assessments’ practice to reflect the breadth of our counsel and capabilities. We aim to ensure our clients feel understood and heard as they navigate the complexities of these sensitive matters.”

With two decades of practice experience, Lanning has tried and won numerous cases to jury verdict and has successfully argued state and federal appeals in areas ranging from constitutional law to securities entitlements. He focuses his practice on class action defense, antitrust, and commercial litigation. He has also litigated numerous civil rights matters, and currently serves as co-lead counsel in Timothy B. v. Kinsley, a challenge under the integration mandate of Title II of the ADA against North Carolina’s liberal placement of children with disabilities in foster care into psychiatric residential treatment facilities.  His clients are a diverse set of people and businesses ranging from individuals and families to large national and international banking institutions. Lanning was named a Henry Luce Foundation Scholar in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for his work in assisting with the implementation of its new Domestic Violence Act.

The DEI Advice, Audits & Assessments team takes an evidence-based approach to clients’ matters, evaluating regulatory risks as well as both quantitative and qualitative data to bring diverse perspectives and an independent and credible point of view to the findings and recommendations delivered.

“Congratulations to Josh as he assumes this new and well-deserved leadership position, and I want to thank our team for their astute efforts in skillfully navigating the ever-changing landscape of civil rights and equity matters,” said firm Managing Partner and Chair Thomas L. Mitchell.

Alongside Lanning is co-head McDowell, who has dedicated a significant portion of her career to civil rights and racial equity issues. She has been frequently recognized for this work, having been named Charlotte Woman of the Year, a North Carolina Woman of Justice, Forbes Top 200 Lawyer, and a Financial Times top “innovative practitioner” in recent years. In addition, she is a past recipient of the Julius L. Chambers Diversity Champion Award and has also been recognized for excellence in the law by Chambers & Partners, Lawdragon, Best Lawyers, and others. The balance of the team shares the same commitment to justice and equity, with two-thirds of the team being diverse based on race, gender or both. The team also consists of numerous members of the firm’s Diversity Committee.



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