Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, a leading international law firm with offices around the world, has hired Michele Meyer-Shipp as its first chief diversity and inclusion officer. Previously, Meyer-Shipp served as vice president and chief diversity officer at Prudential Financial. She has also been repeatedly named on Black Enterprise’s annual list of Top Executives in Corporate Diversity.
Founded in 1945, Akin Gump now has over 900 lawyers around the world, including the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Civil rights icon and business leader Vernon E. Jordan Jr. currently serves as senior counsel.
“Diversity has been a cornerstone of Akin Gump since our founding more than 70 years ago,” said Kim Koopersmith, the chairperson of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, in a statement released Tuesday. “While I am proud of how far we have come as a firm and an industry in fostering a more diverse environment, much work remains. Michele brings a stellar track record of accomplishment in the corporate environment, and I look forward to the leadership and guidance she will provide in helping to make Akin Gump a more inclusive place for all.”
While working for Prudential from 2012 to 2017, Meyer-Shipp was responsible for leading and supporting all diversity and inclusion efforts in addition to ensuring the company’s compliance with equal employment opportunity and affirmative action laws. The insurance company was also recognized by DiversityInc as one of the “Top 50 Companies for Diversity” multiple times during her tenure.
Her responsibilities at Akin Gump will include overseeing diversity programs and initiatives throughout the entire firm and working to ensure that inclusiveness and diversity are reflected in the firm’s policies and practices, states the press release.
“I’m thrilled with the opportunity to join the firm and expand on efforts to ensure that Akin Gump remains a destination for a diverse workforce, a firm that recruits and retains talented lawyers and staff of all backgrounds, and a place where all have the opportunity to excel,” said Meyer-Shipp.
In addition to running diversity initiatives, Meyer-Shipp sits on the board of the National Organization on Disability. She has also served on the boards of GLSEN, Inc. (The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network); Women Presidents’ Organization; and the American Conference on Diversity.