Notes from our Diversity Committee

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Attorneys Serving the Community Raises a Record-Breaking Sum for Helping Restore Ability

Carrington Coleman partner, Kelli Hinson, was the Lead Co-Chair this year of Attorneys Serving the Community, a group of over 400 women attorneys who pool their time, talents, and resources to raise money for area charities while also providing mentoring and leadership opportunities for women lawyers. Their fundraising activities included the Heart & Sole 5K and a Silent Auction, and culminated in a 1000-guest luncheon at the Omni Hotel. Under Ms. Hinson’s leadership, Attorneys Serving the Community raised almost $400,000 for this year’s beneficiary—Helping Restore Ability –and netted the largest amount in the group’s 29-year history.

My JIOP Experience, Michael Lin

Having an opportunity to intern with, develop a relationship, and be mentored by a sitting judge is invaluable for a law school student. The Judicial Intern Opportunity Program (“JIOP”), a program that places internships with sitting judges in several states for underrepresented minority law school students, provided me with that opportunity.

My experience through JIOP was priceless. Through the internship, I researched real life legal issues, learned to effectively analyze these legal issues in a practical way, and wrote memoranda to the judge on these issues. The internship also allowed me to learn through observance. I witnessed the entire process of jury trials, from the process of selecting jurors to verdicts, and even had opportunities to converse with jurors after verdicts to get better understandings of the jurors’ perspective on important issues and how decisions were made. This provided me with a glimpse into court rules, procedures, and the rules of evidence. Just as important, however, was learning court etiquette, how to the effectively communicate with judges, court staff, and other counsel, and to develop relationships with these judges, court staff, and attorneys practicing in a variety of legal areas.

As a practicing lawyer with Carrington Coleman, I can now truly appreciate the experience, knowledge, and skills gained from the JIOP internship in becoming an effective lawyer—from effective legal research to writing and communicating, and very importantly, professionalism. As a long-time sponsor and supporter of JIOP, Carrington Coleman continues to make it possible for more students like me to have this invaluable opportunity.

Service: It’s What’s Good For You

Every year, a CCSB partner circulates Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” It’s long – as Dr. King observed,”what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?” But it’s absolutely worth the time to read. It’s written in response to a letter Dr. King received questioning the wisdom and timing of his efforts to promote civil rights. It is clear from the letter that Dr. King is frustrated or perhaps saddened by the suggestion, but over the course of the lengthy letter (which he wrote in longhand), his explanation of his approach and its timing is patient, tolerant, and moving.

There are so many quotable lines in the letter, but one in particular rings true as we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Dr. King notes that he has heard that he and others should be patient, because they will “receive civil rights eventually” In response, Dr. King wrote, “Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills.”

In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service, because it concluded that was the best way to honor a man whose life was about action, not rest. Because the fact is, time doesn’t cure all ills. For those keeping score, it doesn’t heal all wounds, either. We cure the ills, and we heal the wounds. And we do that by getting up and doing something. It’s the greatest gift we can give others . . . and ourselves.

When faced with a problem – whether a personal problem or world hunger – it’s easy to say that we’ll do something about it tomorrow . . .or next week . . or next month. But that’s not going to fix anything. Why not do something today, so that tomorrow you can look back and see what you’ve accomplished?