Balch BLOCC Hosts Inaugural Professional & Business Development Summit for BIPOC Lawyers

Balch & Bingham was proud to host its Inaugural Professional & Business Development Summit for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) attorneys in Atlanta, Georgia on April 28 – 30, 2023. 

“During the summit, we focused on enhanced educational opportunities on client engagement, leadership and pathways to partnership, as well as firm economics and compensation,” said Tashwanda Pinchback Dixon, partner in the firm’s Atlanta office and chair of Balch BLOCC. “It was a great success. Everything went off without a hitch.”

The three day event was organized though an affinity network for BIPOC lawyers launched by the firm in 2022, Balch BIPOC Lawyers Opportunities, Culture and Connection, or Balch BLOCC. It was attended by incoming attorneys, attorneys of all levels and equity partners from across the firm’s footprint.

Brandi A. Russell, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer and Director of Talent Management, described the firm’s collective support for Balch BLOCC and the summit as critical to their success.  

“The summit was designed to advance one of the firm’s DEI key priorities, the development of underrepresented lawyers, by supporting internal and external opportunities for professional and business development,” Brandi said. “Balch BLOCC is just one of the many avenues to achieve this goal as we know that it takes the collective action of every member of the firm to support these efforts.”

“The summit was a fantastic opportunity to provide a meaningful sense of connection between the attendees despite the physical distance between our offices,” said David Duhé, partner in the firm’s Gulfport, Mississippi office. “I feel that it was also important, particularly for the younger lawyers, to know that Balch is a place where they have real opportunities to grow and succeed in the profession and the event was a strong showing that Balch is truly committed to providing an environment that will foster that path.”

Balch BLOCC supports its members through professional development opportunities and cross-office mentorship, highlighting the unique challenges facing racially and ethnically diverse communities and aiming to increase and retain the number of racially and ethnically diverse groups within the firm.

“Balch BLOCC was created by our BIPOC lawyers to provide an opportunity to network across the Firm’s footprint, address issues of common interest and achieve success in the practice of law and specifically at Balch & Bingham,” said Managing Partner Stan Blanton. “I am so proud of this group for taking this initiative and the Firm supports and encourages the effort. We recognize that recruitment is only one step in creating a diverse and inclusive law firm. Balch BLOCC is a critical tool in our lawyers’ professional development and job satisfaction. Most importantly, it will help them be better lawyers and better serve our clients.”

The summit included communication and relationship building activities designed to build trust, open lines of communication and increase collaboration. Attendees also engaged in a roundtable with three dynamic in-house lawyers, designed to strengthen and build client relationships. 

Partners from the firm also led robust roundtable discussions about the path to partnership and the significance and benefits of mentorship opportunities.  

“The roundtables provided great insight as I move forward in my career at Balch,” said Rodrigo Martinez Cabello, an attorney at the firm’s Houston, Texas office. “Not only did I improve my understanding about what clients are looking for, I also appreciated hearing perspectives from in-house counsel about building trust-worthy relationships and helping clients achieve their goals. The discussion about mentorship also inspired me to take advantage of the many opportunities at the firm. Not only do mentors have more experience and knowledge than young attorneys, but they also have been on a path similar to my own. They are aware of the struggles and learning curves that an associate fresh out of law school is going through.”

David Duhé also emphasized the importance for events like this summit to bolster the firm’s commitment to sustaining a culture where every member feels empowered to reach their full potential. 

“It is critical to retention for everyone to know that, by working hard and remaining dedicated to their respective practices, this firm will do what it can to help us all succeed,” David said.