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Senior Vice President and General Counsel of DuPont Receives 2011 Champion of Diversity Award
Philadelphia, Pa. – August 4, 2011– Highlighting the diverse backgrounds of its firm leadership, lawyers and staff, and reinforcing the ongoing need for commitment to diversity in the workplace and in our communities, Pepper Hamilton LLP hosted its sixth annual Celebrate Diversity event on July 19 at the firm’s Philadelphia office.
With over 150 guests in attendance, including clients, lawyers, associates, paralegals, staff and alumni, Kassem Lucas, co-chair of Pepper Hamilton’s Diversity Committee, presented Thomas L. Sager, senior vice president and general counsel at DuPont, with the 2011 Champion of Diversity Award.
“Mr. Sager has been a tireless diversity advocate, who has served as a mentor, an advisor, a strategist, a confidante, and a champion for countless diverse attorneys, whose professional lives have benefitted greatly from knowing him. It’s no exaggeration to say that he’s been a true pathfinder,” said Lucas.
In a presentation prior to the reception, Mr. Sager talked to Pepper partners and clients about best practices on diversity for in-house counsel and their respective law firms. In lieu of receiving an honorarium for the presentation, Mr. Sager requested that Pepper donate $2000 to the Support Center for Child Advocates, an organization that provides legal assistance and social service advocacy for abused and neglected children in Philadelphia County.
Nina M. Gussack, chair of Pepper Hamilton’s Executive Committee, welcomed guests and provided comments.
“The great changes in attitudes and perspectives that we’ve seen throughout our profession and here at Pepper didn’t just happen on their own – they are the result of hard work by individuals – people who are never content with the status quo, who by their commitment, sheer determination and force of will, get others to make an extra effort as well,” said Gussack, one of the first women in the nation to lead an AmLaw 100 law firm.
Among those attending were Pepper’s 2009 Champion of Diversity Award recipient, Monique Hunt McWilliams, assistant general counsel, Eli Lilly and Company, as well as several representatives from DuPont Legal and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA), an organization that Champion of Diversity award winner, Sager, was instrumental in creating.
Former U.S. District Court Judge and current of counsel, Honorable James T. Giles, the first African-American lawyer to join Pepper Hamilton and the first person of color to be elected to the firm’s partnership, announced the winners of a firm-sponsored essay contest:
The Honorable James T. Giles Writing Competition essay contest is part of a pipeline initiative to encourage an interest in law school among the diverse student population of Philadelphia’s public schools.
Women and minorities serve on Pepper Hamilton’s managing committees, including the Executive Committee, the Finance Committee, Associates Committee and the Hiring Committee. Female partners serve as the firm’s general counsel and the firm’s professional responsibility counsel. Women lead the Orange County office and a number of practice areas: antitrust, commercial litigation, health effects litigation, investment funds, media and communications, real estate, tax, and sustainability, cleantech and climate change.
In addition, many Pepper lawyers are active in the bar and their communities, and their leadership is evident among the firm’s minority and women lawyers.
About Pepper Hamilton
Pepper Hamilton LLP is a multi-practice law firm with more than 500 lawyers nationally. The firm provides corporate, litigation and regulatory legal services to leading businesses, governmental entities, nonprofit organizations and individuals throughout the nation and the world. The firm was founded in 1890.