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Press Releases

Nov. 25, 2019

Women Lawyers Honored for Their Efforts to Advance Diversity and Inclusion

North Carolina Lawyers Weekly and South Carolina Lawyers Weekly

From left are Nelson Mullins attorneys Aisha Carpenter, Graham Billings, Carmen Thomas, Donna Tillis, Susan Jackson, Lauren Hunstad, Craig Killen, and Sally Caver.

Charlotte Managing Partner Susan Jackson and Columbia Associate Donna Tillis have been chosen as this year’s recipients of Diversity and Inclusion Awards sponsored by North Carolina Lawyers Weekly and its sister publication, South Carolina Lawyers Weekly.

They will be recognized at a luncheon in Charlotte on December 11, 2019.

The publications collectively named 20 female and male attorneys across the Carolinas as winners of this award, which honors those who are at the heart of advancing diversity and inclusion for all people in North and South Carolina.

Jackson focuses her practice on patents, trademarks, copyrights, and unfair competition, as well as client counseling, licensing, and opinion work. She places particular emphasis on patent and trademark preparation and prosecution.

She was the first female President of the Carolina Patent, Trademark, and Copyright Law Association (CPTCLA), an association for intellectual property law attorneys in North Carolina and South Carolina.  In 2006, Jackson established the Charlotte Women’s Bar (CWB), a chapter of the North Carolina Association of Women Lawyers, where she served as CWB’s founding member and first President. The CWB promoted women in the profession and provided professional development opportunities and an environment in which to pursue common goals.  This organization eventually led to the two organizations that exist in Charlotte today for women attorneys.

For more than three years, Jackson served as Chair of the Firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which provides leadership and the pursuit of key initiatives for achieving firm diversity and inclusion goals. 

Tillis is an associate in the Columbia office where she is a member of the Commercial, Appellate, Consumer, and Employment Litigation team.

She serves as Chair of the Recruiting Committee’s Diversity Subcommittee for the Columbia office, where she supervises partners and associates on the firm’s efforts to find, recruit, and keep outstanding diverse (i.e. minority and LGBTQ) law school candidates. She served on the firm’s Ad Hoc Diversity Committee for purposes of addressing internal diversity questions. She is an integral link between Nelson Mullins and the University of South Carolina School of Law’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA) chapter.

In May 2019, Nelson Mullins awarded Tillis The Early Start Diversity Award: For Individual Contributions by an Associate Attorney to Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP Diversity and Inclusion Goals in recognition of her work. In February 2019, the Firm selected Tillis as of one of two of the Firm’s first participants in the Legal Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Pathfinder Program.  Founded in 2009, LCLD is an organization of more than 300 corporate chief legal officers and law firm managing partners who are personally committed to creating a more diverse and inclusive legal profession.

Established in 1897, Nelson Mullins has more than 800 attorneys and government relations professionals with offices in 11 states and Washington, DC. For more information on the firm, go to