|For Immediate Release
||CONTACT: Christi Powers
State Bar of Wisconsin
(800) 444-9404, ext. 6025
org cpowers wisbar wisbar cpowers org
State Bar diversity event slated
Lead attorney from General Motors to speak
MADISON, June 13 - The State Bar of Wisconsin will
sponsor its annual diversity event on Thursday, June 19 from 10:30 a.m.
to 1:30 p.m. at the Milwaukee Athletic Club. The program offers lunch,
an opportunity to network, and both state and local speakers who will
provide insight on diversity outreach.
Attorney E. Christopher Johnson, Jr., vice president and general
counsel for General Motors (GM), is the keynote speaker, and Cory
Nettles, secretary for the Department of Commerce will offer opening
comments to the group of 70-75 attendees. Additionally, State Bar
President-elect George Burnett will present opening remarks while
Attorney Deidre Elliot, vice president of the Wisconsin Chapter of the
American Corporate Counsel Association (WISACCA), will provide closing
Johnson's presentation, "Driving Diversity: A Business Imperative at
GM," will outline the company's commitment to support and integrate
diversity in an effort to increase and embrace different life
experiences, cultural views and beliefs.
With GM since 1994, Johnson initially served as general counsel on
global policy and planning matters. Appointed vice president and general
counsel in October 2001, he currently manages GM's North American legal
services and is a member of the GM North America Strategy Board. Among
other accomplishments, Johnson graduated with honors from the New York
Law School in 1981 while serving as president of the student body.
Previously he attended the United States Military Academy at West Point
and attained the rank of captain while serving in the U.S. Army from
1973 to 1978.
"We are fortunate to have Chris as our keynote speaker," said
Attorney Gerry Gonzalez, a member of the State Bar's Diversity Outreach
Committee. "General Motors has very strong diversity initiatives - it's
an integral part of their corporate culture. Also, GM is the largest
consumer of legal services in the world, so this makes for a unique
perspective on diversity matters, too."
Through the State Bar of Wisconsin Diversity Counsel Program, lawyers
work together to increase opportunities for women and minority lawyers
and improve their hiring prospects in areas where they are not
"With the State Bar's continued efforts to promote diversity, we are
pleased to present this free program," said Attorney Wendy D. Calvert,
chair of the State Bar's diversity outreach committee. "Events such as
this provide a platform to learn more and address issues that face women
and minority lawyers. In the end our aim is to help bridge this gap in
the legal profession" she said.
The State Bar of Wisconsin is the mandatory professional association,
created by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, for attorneys who hold a law
license in Wisconsin. With more than 20,000 members, the State Bar aids
the courts in improving the administration of justice, provides
continuing legal education for its members to help them maintain their
expertise, and assists Wisconsin lawyers in carrying out community
service initiatives to educate the public about the legal system and the
value of lawyers.