MIP Event Recap: Insights from NCBA’s Minority Corporate Counsel Panel

Robyn, a Black woman with black hair that is tied back, wears a white blouse. By Robyn Magee 

The legal landscape is evolving, and diversity in the legal profession is becoming increasingly important. Recognizing this, the Minorities in the Profession Committee of the North Carolina Bar Association recently hosted an enlightening event – the “Minority Corporate Counsel: Being Diverse in Corporate Law” panel. The purpose of this event was to provide a platform for students and alumni interested in corporate law to connect with and gain insights from diverse in-house attorneys and legal professionals in the corporate sector.

The agenda for the event included a panel discussion on the challenges, opportunities, and experiences of minority attorneys in corporate law. The panel featured accomplished legal professionals, including Sidney Minter, Associate Counsel at Advance Auto Parts; Janean Dunn, Senior Counsel for Global Employment Law at IQVIA; Joi Ponder, Senior Staff Counsel at SECU; and Valyce Davis-Woolaston, Counsel at Dominion Energy Services, Inc.

Some key takeaways gleaned from the panelists’ discussions include:

1. Impacting Change: Despite the underrepresentation of Black attorneys, the panelists highlighted how being in spaces like corporate law allows individuals to influence positive change within their organizations.

2. Diversity Within Corporate Law: Corporate law is not a narrow field; it encompasses a broad spectrum of roles and responsibilities. The panelists shed light on the various aspects contributing to the overall umbrella of corporate law.

3. Pros and Cons of In-House vs. Private Practice: The discussion delved into the advantages and disadvantages of working in-house versus private practice, offering attendees a nuanced understanding of the different career paths within corporate law.

4. Shifting Perspectives on Work-Life Balance: A significant revelation came from the personal experiences shared by the panelists, challenging negative perceptions of work-life balance in corporate law. The attorneys emphasized the importance of valuing personal time alongside professional achievements.

The panel successfully accomplished its purpose of fostering a more inclusive and open-minded approach to the corporate legal sector, while encouraging the attendees to expand their networks because if there is anything law school has taught us – you never know where you may end up!