Aug. 4, 2021
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP is proud to recognize Charles Huddleston, Carmen Thomas, and Amber Hendrick as honorees for the 2021 Diversity Awards. Both in and outside of the firm, all three of these attorneys reflect Nelson Mullins’ ongoing mission to enrich a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture.
“I can’t think of any three people more deserving of the firm’s 2021 Diversity Awards than Charles, Carmen, and Amber,” said Deborah St. Lawrence Thompson, current chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and a partner in Baltimore. “Each one of them understands that diversity, equity, and inclusion is not just important but central to the practice of law or any industry, for that matter, and it shows in the work that they do.”
The Sheryl Ortmann Diversity Award is bestowed on an attorney making significant achievements in promoting diversity in the legal profession. The award is named after the firm’s first female partner. This year’s award was presented to Atlanta of counsel and past chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Charles Huddleston. Huddleston has devoted a great deal of his life and career to make diversity, equity, and inclusion a reality at Nelson Mullins and throughout the state of Georgia. One of his nominators called him a “calming force” in 2020, with real, thoughtful, and important reflections to impart during an otherwise tumultuous year.
“I have come to learn that Charles is one of the most sincere, knowledgeable, and empathetic allies and advocates for the advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion that I have ever known,” said one of his nominators. “Charles is a real treasure, and we are fortunate to have him at Nelson Mullins leading and influencing our DEI efforts.” Huddleston served as chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee from 2020 to 2021.
The Sara Turnipseed “Women on the Go” Award recognizes contributions by attorneys and policy advisors within the firm who actively promote the success of women in the legal profession. It honors the late Nelson Mullins partner Sara Turnipseed and her tireless commitment to issues of gender equity and the promotion of opportunities for women in the legal profession and in the firm. This year’s award was presented to Columbia partner Carmen Thomas. In her leadership roles as chair of the firm’s Associates Committee and leader of the associates working group for the Litigation Group, Thomas prioritizes initiatives surrounding the recruitment, retainment, and advancement of women and diverse lawyers.
“Carmen tirelessly gives her time and skills to helping other women advance in their careers. What sets Carmen apart is that she is proactive about her mentorship, making a point to check in with women lawyers in the firm regarding their goals, progress, and business development plans,” said one of her nominators. “She is able to balance so much responsibility with ease, and it is truly an inspiration to others around her.”
The Early Start Award recognizes outstanding efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the legal profession early in a career. Los Angeles associate Amber M. Hendrick (formerly Columbia associate) won the honor for her untiring commitment to racial equity both within and outside of the firm. “Amber is on the frontlines of racial equality and justice,” said one of her nominators. “Amber’s involvement in these causes is an inspiration to our office and encourages us to fight for equality alongside her.”
On the Diversity Subcommittee of the firm’s Recruiting Committee, Hendrick has put action to talk, partnering with UofSC Law’s Black Law Students Association on workshops and events, recruiting at Historically Black law schools, and working with the Columbia Urban League on behalf of the firm. She brings the same passion to making the profession more racially equitable in her work on the South Carolina Bar’s Diversity Committee, where she helped develop programming for members to discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion issues. In June 2020, she helped organize and spoke at the Bar’s Lawyers Standing Against Racial Injustice walk and die-in. Hendrick is the third recipient of the Early Start Award, which was first introduced in 2019.
Established in 1897, Nelson Mullins is an Am Law 100 firm of more than 800 attorneys and government relations professionals with offices in 11 states and Washington, D.C. For more information on the firm, go to www.nelsonmullins.com.
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