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Mary Samuels & Whitney Della Torre Discuss Susan B. Livingston Boot Camp for Success with Law360 Pulse

Mary Samuels, partner in the firm’s Birmingham office, and Whitney Della Torre, attorney in the firm’s Augusta and Atlanta offices, were recently featured in Law360 Pulse where they discussed the evolution of Susan B. Livingston Boot Camp for Success - an event designed to equip incoming law students from underrepresented backgrounds with the necessary tools to succeed in law school and throughout their professional careers.  

The two-day workshop, dedicated to infusing diversity into the attorney pipeline, includes students from groups historically underrepresented in the legal profession and from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as students facing other significant barriers to entering the legal profession.  

In the Q & A article “Balch Attorneys Discuss 10-Year-Old Pipeline Boot camp,” Mary and Whitney, both members of the firm’s Boot Camp committee, spoke with Law360 Pulse on how the program has evolved over the years. Mary, who has been involved since the inception, and Whitney, a graduate of the program, shared their unique perspectives on the profound impact the program has made on more than 500 incoming law students over the last decade. The Boot Camp Committee is co-chaired by Irving Jones and Katelyn Caldwell, attorneys in the firm’s Birmingham office who have been deeply devoted to the success of the program.

“Back in 2011, Susan Livingston was a leader at our firm, and a mentor to me- and I would say every female at our firm at the time,” said Mary. “She recognized the importance of diversity in the legal profession and she grabbed three associates – luckily I was one of them, and we formed a committee. We met with [Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law] and went over the idea of a program. The first year, we had about 10 students participate. Fast forward to 2021, and we have grown to more than 100 student participants.” 

“Boot Camp provided me with confidence and self-esteem going into my first year, so that I felt, walking in, like I was on equal footing – if not ahead of a lot of the other students with just knowing what to expect,” said Whitney. “And that’s exactly what I hear from other students, that they feel more equipped going into their first year.” 

Mary Samuels focuses on regulatory compliance and permitting matters under the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act (Section 404), National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and National Environmental Policy Act, as well as FOIA and state open records act matters, and general indoor air quality issues (mold, asbestos, OSHA compliance) for utilities, companies and financial institutions across the U.S.

Whitney focuses her practice on litigation and environmental defense and compliance.  She primarily works with a variety of corporate clients and defends those clients at every stage of litigation. She started her practice representing business interests in a wide variety of environmental matters. She continues to advise clients on administrative and compliance matters at the federal and state level.