Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP has appointed Baltimore partner Deborah St. Lawrence Thompson as chair of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee. Thompson served as vice chair of the Committee in 2020 and looks forward to working with the team and the firm’s leadership to create an inclusive and equitable environment for diverse colleagues and to build on the strategic goals of the firm through engagement within and outside of the firm.
“The Committee’s theme for 2021 is engagement — engagement between colleagues within teams, between offices and departments, and collaboration with organizations outside of the firm,” Thompson said. Thompson’s vision is to use the tools and activities of the Committee to increase the visibility and profiles of women and diverse attorneys and to provide platforms, opportunities, and the support necessary to help laterals and new hires fully integrate into the firm and enable women and diverse attorneys to elevate to partnership.
“As a female partner and a mother, it is also important to me that young female associates know that you can be promoted and you can run teams and succeed in this profession and still have a personal life,” Thompson said. “The firm’s support has been very important, and I really appreciate it. I look forward to continuing to work with the leadership to bring value and value-add to our colleagues and the firm.”
The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee was established as a standing committee in 2005 and has provided leadership for achieving firm goals of a diverse workplace ever since. Informed by best practices, it provides strategic direction and embedded support through connections with other firm committees and with groups, teams, and offices. The Committee reports to and regularly engages with the Executive Committee and firm leadership to assess progress and support initiatives that continue to build a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture.
Thompson has a great deal of experience in organizations that aim for equity. She served as Bylaws Chair and Parliamentarian for the Baltimore Chapter of Jack and Jill of America and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Living Classrooms Foundation, which delivers holistic programs and services to aid residents of all ages in East Baltimore. She has also served on the boards of the Associated Black Charities and Humanim.
In her practice, Thompson represents a broad array of clients in complex cases in jurisdictions around the country, primarily in commercial litigation, mass tort litigation, products liability, toxic torts, and labor and employment law. She has been recognized as one of the Top 250 Women in Litigation by Benchmark Litigation for the past three years. Thompson has earned an esteemed reputation as a defense attorney, and she is a member of DRI – The Voice of the Defense Bar, the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys, and the International Association of Defense Counsel. She is slated to lead CLE planning efforts for the 2022–2023 year as Continuing Legal Education Committee Chair for IADC.