Mutual Respect. Inclusion.
Left to Right: Wandini Riggins, Kameelah Shaheed-Diallo, Stephanie Cassman, Theresa Parish and Lesley Pfleging Attending the DRI: Sharing Success: A Seminar for Women Lawyers
Since its inception in 1955, the law firm of Lewis Wagner, LLP has been committed to diversity. Diversity is not a new or special program at the firm; diversity is integral to the firm’s culture.
In the early 1970's, Robert Wagner joined with Patrick Chavis, Sr., and Patrick Chavis, III, to form one of the first racially integrated law firms in Indianapolis, Indiana. Later, Robert Wagner, Ed Lewis and others formed the firm now known as Lewis Wagner, which continued its commitment to diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace and in the profession.
The Firm members believe it is their responsibility to bring together individuals of different backgrounds. As a result, Lewis Wagner has consistently employed significant numbers of women attorneys and attorneys of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds.
Lewis Wagner has also been a strong supporter and one of the original participants in the Indiana State Bar Association’s “Gateway to Diversity Program”. The program links Indiana’s legal employers with minority law students and Indiana CLEO fellows to enhance the diversity of law students in Indiana’s legal community.
As an outward expression of the Firm’s commitment to diversity, the Firm recognizes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a “Firm Holiday” and the Firm is closed for business on that day. The firm is also headquartered in an area with historic significance to the African American community. The building is part of the Madame Walker theatre complex, named after the first female millionaire, and was designed by a group of African American architects in Indianapolis, Alpha Blackburn and Associates.
An active, internal diversity committee was established to develop initiatives and manage the firm’s accomplishments. The committee, made up of Partners, Associates, Paralegals and legal assistants, oversees the firm’s long range plan on diversity issues including fostering an inclusive work environment, recruitment, retention, community involvement and sponsorship of diversity programs and events.
The firm promotes diversity and inclusion within the firm and without. For example, it hosted a pitch–in for all employees to Celebrate Diversity through Food. In this process the firm sent out firm emails to highlight facts about different cultures along with recipes from that culture. The firm also encourages its members to utilize diverse suppliers of services when needed. This year the firm’s entertainment committee utilized an African American caterer to cater the firm’s 1st annual holiday picnic.
As evidence of the universal commitment to diversity within the firm, several members of the firm have taken leadership roles in National, State and local Bar Association Diversity committees and programs including the American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS), the Defense Research Institute (DRI), the Indiana State Bar Association, and the Indianapolis Bar Association.
In acknowledgment of these efforts, the Committee for Racial Diversity in the Legal Profession of the Indiana State Bar Association presented Lewis Wagner with the Rabb Emison Award at a ceremony held October 5, 2006, during the bar association's annual meeting. The Award plaque states that it is given "In recognition of the significant contribution made in advancing opportunities for minority lawyers in legal employment and the legal profession." Lewis Wagner is proud of this honor and is committed to continuing its efforts toward diversity in the profession.
Lewis Wagner Diversity Flyer
Lewis Wagner Women in Law Flyer
2012: Indiana Minority Business Magazine Champions of Diversity Award
2011: Mayor of Indianapolis Celebration of Diversity Award for Workforce Development
2010: DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar, the single largest defense attorney association in the world with over 22,000 attorneys represention thousands of law firms, Law Firm Diversity Award.
2010 Indiana Lawyer's Diversity in Practice Award Finalist
Indiana State Bar Association's 2006 Rabb Emison Award for its commitment to promote diversity and equality in the legal profession.
Look for Lewis Wagner at the Following Events:
- DRI Women in the Law Seminar, March 13-15, 2013
- DRI Diversity for Success Seminar, May 30-31, 2013
- Indiana Black Expo Corporate Lunch, July 19, 2013
- Indianapolis Bar Association's Diversity Job Fair, August 7-8, 2013