Wyatt recognizes the benefits of attaining diversity at all levels of our Firm. Wyatt continually seeks to recruit, develop and retain the highest level of legal talent and to promote and develop that talent without regard to race, color, gender, religion, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, age, disability, military or veteran status.
To that end, Wyatt strives to increase the diversity of its applicant pool by actively recruiting an increased number of qualified candidates to participate in the application process. Wyatt also focuses on the development and retention of its attorneys through efforts such as its formal mentoring program, associate orientation and ongoing training programs.
Diversity Initiatives and Achievements
- Wyatt regularly participates in various minority job fairs including the DuPont and Cook County Bar Association minority job fair events.
- Wyatt is a three-time recipient of DuPont’s “Meeting the Challenge” award for our efforts to promote diversity in the legal profession.
- Wyatt has established the “Wyatt Women’s Network,” to give our female attorneys, clients and referral sources opportunities to meet in relaxed social environments where connections can be made and friendships strengthened.
- The Firm has received International Paper Company’s Legal Department’s “Lighthouse” award for our efforts in promoting diversity in the legal profession.
The Wyatt Diversity Committee
Wyatt’s Diversity Committee is comprised of partners and associates representing all of the Firm’s offices. The mission of Wyatt’s Diversity Committee is to ensure the Firm maintains best practices in the recruitment and retention of lawyers so we can meet our goal of having a team of excellent lawyers that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve.
Wyatt Pipeline Building Initiatives
Wyatt is actively involved in several initiatives aimed at increasing the number of minorities entering the profession of law:
- Wyatt created a $15,000 scholarship for minority law students in honor of our former partner, Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. Dr. Hooks was the former Executive Director of the NAACP, and joined Wyatt to assist the Firm’s clients with diversity initiatives. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor in 2007. Dr. Hooks remained a member of our Firm until his passing in early 2010.
- Wyatt’s Louisville office participates in a summer internship program for Central High School students. Central High is an historic, inner-city school and is the alma mater of Muhammad Ali and generations of local black leaders. Since the inception of the program, Wyatt has employed over 25 students, many on a full-time basis, for the summer. These students are participants in the Jefferson County Legal/Government Career Magnet Program. The students are assigned an attorney mentor and are included in many different Firm events throughout the summer. One participant, second year intern Dwight Haggard, expressed his gratitude by stating in the Louisville Bar Association’s Bar Briefs, “It’s not the work I do, it’s the people I meet. It’s like they’re all fighting for me to succeed…whatever I need, they’ll get it for me. They invest in me to do better. I’m so grateful for it.”
- Wyatt’s Lexington office is participating in the LFUCG Summer Youth Job Training Program this summer. The six week program provides real-world job experience to high school students by pairing them up to work for local employers. The program’s goal is to help the students develop quality job skills and workforce experience. Mattie Morton, SYJTP program administrator, said the program is a wonderful way for businesses to help mentor local youth and foster an environment where they can learn valuable and necessary skills for the workplace.
Diversity in Leadership
Wyatt prepares and encourages women and minority members of the Firm to assume leadership roles, both inside and outside the Firm, and to attain success as business developers. Some notable examples are:
- Women and minority members actively participate in the management of the Firm, chairing various Firm committees and practice groups, including the Professional Personnel Recruiting Committee, Professional Personnel Evaluation Committee and the Health Care, Natural Resources & Environmental, Employment Practices Liability, Data Privacy & Security and Financial Institutions group, as well as serving as members of the Firm Diversity Committee.
- Jimmy Bradshaw is a Director of Kids on the Block of Middle Tennessee, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to educating elementary school children on, among other things, diversity issues. Wyatt is a regular sponsor of Kids on the Block events and fundraisers.
- Michelle Browning Coughlin, founder of MothersEsquire, is the former chair of Wyatt Women’s Network. Ms. Browning Coughlin was appointed as one of 12 Commissioners on the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. She currently serves on the Kentucky Bar Associations’ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Profession committee. She previously served on the ABA National Conference of Bar Presidents Diversity & Inclusion Committee. Additionally, she is adjunct faculty at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law and Northern Kentucky University Chase School of Law teaching Gender & the Law. She is also a frequent speaker at regional, state, and national bar association and legal groups on issues of diversity in the profession, with a particular focus on gender diversity. She was named the 2018 recipient of the KBA’s Nathaniel R. Harper Award for her dedication to retention and promotion of women lawyers.
- Mary Fullington is the 2017-2018 President of the Central Ky network of the International Women in Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC). IWIRC is committed to the connection, promotion and success of women in the insolvency and restructuring professions worldwide. Through a global membership of more than 1,200 attorneys, bankers, corporate-turnaround professionals, financial advisors and other restructuring practitioners, members develop a powerful network of contacts, resources, mentors and friends.
- Sussan Harshbarger was born in Mexico City, Mexico and raised in a multi-cultural environment. She is fluent in the Latin American culture and can speak, read and write Spanish fluently. Her unique background enables her to advise Spanish speaking clients, including those doing business in Puerto Rico and Latin America.
- Kelly Henry is past president of the Women Lawyers Association of Jefferson County.
- Karen Greenwell is involved with The National Conference of Community and Justice, a human relations organization that promotes understanding and respect among all races, religions and cultures through advocacy, conflict resolution and education.
- Mitzi Wyrick is President of the Board of Directors of Dreams with Wings.