Mayer Brown Litigation & Dispute Resolution partner Marcus Christian was selected for the 2014 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity fellowship.
LCLD is a national organization made up of the legal profession’s top general counsel and managing partners of the leading US corporations and law firms.
In addition to serving as a partner in Mayer Brown’s Litigation & Dispute Resolution practice, Mr. Christian is a member of the firm’s White Collar Defense & Compliance group. Prior to joining Mayer Brown, he served as the executive assistant United States attorney at the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, the third-highest ranking position in one of America’s largest and busiest offices of federal prosecutors. In this role, Mr. Christian worked on the senior management team with responsibility for the Criminal, Civil, Appellate, Asset Forfeiture and Administrative Divisions. While he was an Assistant US Attorney, he prosecuted cases involving money laundering, healthcare fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, national security issues and other matters.
TNJ.com recently caught up with Christian and Jeremiah A. DeBerry, director of diversity & inclusion at Mayer Brown, to talk a bit about the fellowship program and diversity in the legal profession.
TNJ.com: Marcus, how were you selected and what do you hope to get out of the program or bring to the program?
Marcus Christian: The firm nominated me. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve had the chance to be a Rhodes scholar early on in my career; I’ve had the chance to be in leadership positions in the non-profit sector as well as the government sector, but you come into private practice and it’s a different model. You not only have to be a good lawyer, but you also have to excel in business development, networking and other aspects of practice development. I hope to learn how to thrive in a global firm like Mayer Brown where people are so successful all around you.
In terms of giving back, when I am able to develop in the way this program has intended, I want to have the opportunity to help pave the way for others in the future.
TNJ.com: Jerry, how did the LCLD program come into existence and is it more of a mentoring program or a networking program?
Jeremiah A. DeBerry: LCLD is a national organization made up of, exclusively, general counsels from Fortune 500 companies and managing partners from about 200 law firms. It was formed 4-5 years ago with the sole purpose of improving diversity in the legal profession, primarily at large law-firms and in-house legal departments. And it focuses on 3-4 different areas: the pipeline of diverse lawyers coming out of law school; talent development, making sure that the diverse lawyers that are in these large law firms and in-house corporate legal departments are getting the training and more importantly, the opportunities that they need to develop and become the best lawyers they can be. So, the sole purpose of this organization, which has approximately 290 members nationwide, is to improve diversity in law.
TNJ.com: How important are these kinds of programs in addressing diversity in the legal field?
Jeremiah A. DeBerry: Yes. These large law firms and in-house corporate legal departments don’t have a lot of women or diverse lawyers in top positions and one of the things that this fellows program that we nominated Marcus for tries to do is ensure that 5 or 6 years down the line when these lawyers are at the stage where they’re ready to assume leadership positions at their firms, they’re ready to do so.