February 26, 2015
On Saturday, February 7, 2015, the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association (“MBLA”) hosted the third series of its Rainmakers’ Roundtable Program entitled, “In the Room: How to Successfully Bid on New Business.” The program was developed based on the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s Creating Pathways to Diversity® Conference Blueprint Program held in July 2014, which was attended by Doreen M. Rachal, President of the MBLA and Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts in the Asset Forfeiture Unit, and Jermaine Kidd, Co-Chair of the MBLA Programs and Professional Development Committee and an Associate at Morgan, Brown, & Joy, LLP. Because of the decreasing, and very low, percentage of African Americans in the partnership ranks in Massachusetts law firms, Doreen, Jermaine, and Scott Mays, Co-Chair of the MBLA Programs and Professional Development Committee and Assistant General Counsel of Tufts Health Plan sought to incorporate a similar program into the MBLA’s Rainmakers’ Roundtable Series, an interactive three-part series designed to produce and advance the next generation of African-American managing and equity partners, in-house counsel, solo practitioners and federal and state judges. Ms. Rachal was instrumental in retaining the program facilitators, law firm coaches, and in-house counsel.
The program was held in the Boston office of Jones Day, the program sponsor, and featured a distinguished group of in-house counsel from across the United States. The program panel included the following:
- Robert Johnson, Managing Partner, The Solomon Group, LLC
- Sherry Williams, Former Chief Compliance Officer, Halliburton Company
Law Firm Coaches
- Walter B. Prince, Partner, Prince Lobel Tye LLP
- Benjamin F. Wilson, Managing Principal, Beveridge & Diamond PC
- Dominic Blue, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, MassMutual Financial Group
- Bruce Jackson, Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft Corporation
- Winston S. Kirton, Senior Corporate Counsel, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
- Stephanie S. Lovell, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
- Christopher McDavid, Vice President and Counsel, United Technologies Corporation – Pratt & Whitney Division
- John Shasanmi, Senior Counsel, DuPont
- Damian Wilmot, Assistant General Counsel, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Approximately thirty Massachusetts attorneys of color participated in the program; participants had varying levels of experience (junior attorneys to current partners), varying backgrounds (law firms, non-profit organizations, and government), and varying practice areas focuses. Participants were placed into law firm groups and provided a request for proposal. Each firm was given an hour to develop a pitch for new business to the in-house panel, and each firm was given 20 minutes to make an effective and persuasive presentation. Immediately following the mock pitch presentations, the program facilitators, law firm coaches, and in-house participants provided candid feedback to all of the attorneys, focusing primarily on how to develop an effective and persuasive pitch and the importance of strategic networking and building relationships. The feedback provided will have a long-lasting impact on these participants and will be instrumental in helping them to become successful Rainmakers in Massachusetts.