Press Release: News Release June 2003: State Bar diversity event slated:

State Bar of Wisconsin

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  • Press Release

    News Release June 2003: State Bar diversity event slated

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    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 commentary.

    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 traditionally represented.

    "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.