Since its inception in 1955, the law firm of Lewis Wagner has been committed to diversity and inclusion. 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.
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.
- 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 representing 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, February 17-19, 2016
- Indiana Black Expo Corporate Lunch, July 15, 2016
- Indianapolis Bar Association's Diversity Job Fair, August 2, 2016
- Power of Women’s Fund Philanthropy Event, October 6, 2016