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Image of Sara Turnipseed

April 13, 2022

In Commemoration of Sara Turnipseed

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, a full-service national law firm, has dedicated a conference room in the Atlanta office in honor of the late Sara Turnipseed, who joined the firm in 1996. Designed to commemorate her generosity, vivacity, and resilience, the Turnipseed conference room is located on the sixth floor of 201 17th Street NW in Atlantic Station.

Turnipseed served as an equity partner at the firm, working as a team leader in the Atlanta office for 17 years. She was dedicated to advancing other women forward, ensuring they were hired and promoted, and she took large strides in their careers. She was recognized by her colleagues and within the legal community for her diligence and dedication and was awarded the Kathleen Kessler award by the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers and the Randolph Thrower Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2015, Nelson Mullins also established the Sara Turnipseed Women on the Go Award in her honor to celebrate contributions by attorneys and policy advisors within the firm who actively promote the success of women in the Bar in any phase of their careers.

A tireless advocate in the workplace, Turnipseed was also committed to making improvements in her community. Over the years, she served on the boards of the Atlanta Urban League, Decatur Education Foundation, Georgia Academy of Children and Youth Professionals, and the Spina Bifida Association of Georgia, and she served as chair of the City Schools of Decatur School Board from 1998-1999.

The firm acknowledges Sara Turnipseed’s influence during Women’s History Month as this month has been set aside to honor the contributions made by women throughout history. Her impact was felt by many at the firm, and a few of her colleagues shared a few words below.

Nelson Mullins partner Holly Hempel said, “As one of the women lawyers who worked for her and with her for years, I speak on behalf of many female lawyers at Nelson Mullins and beyond and say she was our champion, our leader, our role model, and our trusted advisor and confidant.” Hempel recently hosted a virtual client meeting in the Turnipseed conference room. Hempel is positive that Sara, as such a fierce advocate for females, would be proud to know that women attorneys at Nelson Mullins are hosting and leading important client meetings not only in a room dedicated to Turnipseed, but any room. Hempel notes that many strive to follow in Turnipseed’s footprints as she paved the way for many to succeed.

“Sara was a fierce advocate for women and people of color. Long before the firm had sophisticated measures to monitor our progress in the DEI space, Sara was there pushing the needle in a manner that was raw, truthful, and unapologetic. She cared enough to tell you the truth, because she understood the value of honesty to the professional development of women in a profession that is decidedly white and male. As the first Black female partner of color in the firm, I was always challenged by Sara to know my value and own my voice. Not only did she encourage self-advocacy, but she was also there to back up any woman, including myself, who stood in their truth, in a way that reflected her brand of Southern charm that was tinged with wit, humor, and grit. Sara was a trailblazer, advocate, and all-around bad ass,” said Nelson Mullins partner Anita Thomas.

“Sara Turnipseed was an excellent mentor. She was tough, but she was compassionate. She insisted on our producing the highest quality work and performing perfect client service. She pushed us to take on difficult tasks in order to build our skills and our self-confidence. She taught me that as a woman lawyer I needed to not only be an excellent lawyer, but to also be an excellent manager of people – which included knowing how to be direct with people and brave about speaking up for what was right. She was a champion for all of her mentees, men and women alike. She balanced her family and work commitments not as “super woman” but instead sharing openly with us the challenges that balancing act required and letting us know it could be done. She found humor in all situations and was quick to laugh. She was one of a kind,” said Nelson Mullins partner Taylor Daly.

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