Diversity Committee Chair
Rhea F. Law
Cathy J. Beveridge
Deborah J. Brewer, SPHR
Heather B. Brock
William J. Flynn, III
Kerri S. Haley
Conrad J. Lazo
Corris L. McIntosh, Jr.
Jennifer G. Roeper
Hala A. Sandridge
Linda J. Zhou
Arnold M. Zipper
Fowler White Boggs P.A. strives to be the leader among law firms embracing diversity. Fowler White is proud of its commitment of ensuring equal opportunities for success within the firm. We successfully promote diversity through active recruitment, development, and retention of a diverse group of people. The firm’s workforce — lawyers and staff — throughout each of its offices, reflects these varied cultures. Our wide-ranging talent pool merges diverse experiences, rich cultures, and varied educational backgrounds.
Ensuring Our Commitment
In order to ensure our commitment, Fowler White’s Diversity Committee develops and implements firmwide programs which foster an environment of acceptance and the inclusion of individuals with diverse characteristics. The Diversity Committee is led by CEO Rhea Law who oversees all diversity initiatives and reinforces our collective efforts both within the community and the firm. With the Committee’s guidance, attorneys and staff regularly participate in diversity programs, trainings, events, sponsorships, and leadership seminars.
As we grow, we remain committed to our mission, by continually searching for ways to broaden and enhance our diversity-initiative efforts. Fowler White commits to reflect and to provide, to both clients and employees, the benefits of a well-balanced law firm in terms of age, gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability, marital status, economic background and life experiences. At Fowler White, we strive to internally raise awareness of the benefits of a diverse workforce and to provide an environment allowing each individual to succeed.
- We are proud to be an inaugural member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD). This groundbreaking organization is a cooperative effort between general counsels and managing partners of major corporations and law firms dedicated to making significant, tangible progress on diversity by developing specific goals, implementing measurable metrics and rewarding definitive results. As a member of the organization, we participate in the 1L LCLD Scholars Program, which provides diverse first-year law students with the opportunity to join our Summer Associate program and work with attorneys, paralegals, and other specialists.
- We also strive to increase diversity in the legal field by offering scholarship programs to support individuals with similar goals and interests. Our Law School Scholarship program is open to law students in their second or third year who have demonstrated a commitment to diversity. We award up to two $1,000 scholarships per year through the program. Applications are forwarded to law schools in the fall each year. Our firm also partners with the Hillsborough Education Foundation to award one graduating minority high school senior a $2,500 cash scholarship.
- Our firm founded a corporate partnership initiative to fund a full scholarship for an Academy Preparatory School (APS) student to attend Berkeley Preparatory School. APS provides remarkable young people, without means and from diverse backgrounds, real opportunities for success and fulfillment. These students are given exemplary, preparatory middle school education along with comprehensive life-skills training. Many go on to local independent schools - like Berkeley - where they prepare for college. Our corporate partnership initiative makes this continued educational opportunity a reality for another APS student.
- Fowler White recruits annually at such events including the Southeastern Minority Job Fair, Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair, Howard University School of Law, The Black Law Students’ Association (BLSA) Southern Regional Job Fair and others. Each year, we are a sponsor of the Annual Central and South Florida Diversity Picnics, which allow lawyers and judges to meet law students from across the state and form mentoring relationships.
Fowler White sponsors several events that promote diversity. We have been a long-standing presidential sponsor of the George Edgecomb Bar Association Annual Law Week Scholarship Banquet. Each year, we sponsor the Sickle Cell Association of Tampa Bay’s golf tournament to benefit individuals affected by sickle cell anemia. The firm sponsors the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Minority Business Person of the Year and Business Women of the Year events. We also sponsor the annual United Negro College Fund’s Black History Month Luncheon. Additionally, Fowler White participates in the Annual Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) General Counsel Golf Invitational.
As part of our pipeline efforts, we have partnered with the Florida Diversity Council’s, Tampa Bay Chapter, as an annual executive sponsor of the Tampa Bay Young Women’s Leadership Symposium. This is an opportunity to help promote the development of future business leaders by giving young women access to mentors and businesses that support their goals. We partner with GEBA, who works with an amazing group of middle school students at Franklin Middle Magnet through their Pre-Law Magnet Program and conducts Law Office Visits each year. This is essentially an opportunity for students to see what a law office looks like and learn who works there.
Our attorneys participate in professional, civic, charitable and community activities outside the firm. We support pro bono activities, and many of our attorneys serve as board and committee members for leading community organizations across the state. Some of these organizations include the American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Bay Area Legal Services, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, various Chambers of Commerce, Children's Cancer Center, local Community Foundations, David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Easter Seals, Epilepsy Foundation, Florida Orchestra, Lifepath Hospice, H. L. Moffitt Cancer Center, Metropolitan Ministries, Neighborhood Health Clinic, Sickle Cell Association of Tampa Bay, Tampa Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, United Way and the Urban Scholars Outreach Program at the University of South Florida.
A diverse workforce is a core component of Fowler White Boggs’ Diversity Mission. Perhaps the best evidence and reflection of the firm’s mission statement lies in the number of leadership positions held by the firm’s minority and women attorneys. At Fowler White, we enhance professional opportunities, and create a positive, supportive environment for the firm's women.
We are pleased to announce that we have received a Gold Standard Certificate from the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF). Law firms are eligible for the Gold Standard Certification if they successfully demonstrate that women represent a meaningful percentage of their equity partners, of their highest leadership positions, of their governance and compensation committees, and of their most highly compensated partners. Fowler White Boggs was one of only 32 law firms nationwide to meet the certification requirements.
We have women in every leadership role at our firm, at all different levels, and throughout our different offices. Women attorneys serve as directors, practice group leaders, committee chairs, and executive partners. At Fowler White, women comprise more than half of our workforce. Three women hold administrative leadership positions, and in addition to the firm’s president, women also manage two out of our five different offices.
Our Diversity Committee partners with our Women's Program to develop diverse marketing efforts with our clients and external stakeholders. We are also members of the United States Law Firm Group’s (USLFG) Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity (CORED) as well as its Recruiting and Professional Development Committee where diversity is a focus.
Mentoring at Fowler White Boggs
Fowler White Boggs’ Mentoring Program is intended to foster professional relationships between shareholders and associates. Shareholders provide insight, guidance and support to bolster associates’ performance, morale, career development and advancement within our law firm. By investing in our associates, we invest in the firm’s future.
Commitment to Providing Opportunities to Disabled Individuals
We are committed to providing clients and employees with the benefits of a well-balanced firm in terms of age, gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability, marital status, economic background and life experiences. We continue to create opportunities for disabled workers by partnering with organizations like the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD).
Commitment to Providing Legal Services to the Poor and Underprivileged
Our lawyers have long responded to the legal needs of the poor through volunteer service. We view this not only as a professional responsibility, but also as a duty and community obligation.
In cooperation with TECO Energy in Tampa, Fowler White has established a program through Bay Area Legal Services (BALS) that funds a full-time position to assist with the organization’s on-going needs. Our lawyers also voluntarily represent pro bono clients in various practice areas, including litigation and immigration matters. Over the last 10 years, we have contributed $400,000 to fund the program. This support has enabled more than 57,000 residents to receive free legal services.
Our firm's Pro Bono Committee ensures compliance with the Florida Bar's pro bono service goals and provides venues for attorneys to satisfy this goal. Our lawyers actively participate on the board of our local legal services organization, and have received numerous individual awards for their extraordinary pro bono efforts. Fowler White also received the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Pro Bono Commendation Award in recognition of our commitment to the Courthouse Assistance Project. Most recently, we were nominated as the Philanthropic Corporation of the Year.
In addition, we support the Legal Information Center at the Hillsborough County Courthouse by funding a full-time lawyer.
Attorneys Who Lead
- Sarah Lahlou-Amine received the 2012 annual Pro Bono Award from the Appellate Practice Section of The Florida Bar. The award is given to a member of the Appellate Practice Section who has made significant pro bono efforts in appellate matters.
- Rhea F. Law, CEO and Chair of the Board, was recently selected as a winner
of the 2012 Glass Ceiling Award by The Florida Diversity Council at the second
annual South Florida Women’s conference.
- Rhea F. Law, CEO and Chair of the Board, has been selected to serve on the Multicultural Advisory Council (MAC) of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc. (BCBSF). The goal of the MAC is to accelerate the company’s leadership efforts in expanding its diversity and cultural awareness in business markets throughout the state.
- Hala A. Sandridge, managing shareholder of the Tampa office, has been appointed Director of The Florida Bar Foundation for a three year term beginning July 1, 2011.
- Jennifer G. Roeper was recently selected for Leadership Tampa, class of 2012. A leadership program of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Tampa educates its participants on issues, opportunities, and challenges throughout Hillsborough County.
- Rhea F. Law was awarded the University of South Florida President’s Fellow Medallion by President Judy Genshaft at the USF graduation ceremonies on August 7, 2010. Established in 1988, the President's Fellow Medallion is awarded at the President's discretion to highly distinguished meritorious individuals.
- Sarah Lahlou-Amine received the William F. Blews Pro Bono Service Award.
- Richard G. Salazar is on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay.
- Conrad J. Lazo serves on the Board for the YMCA of the Suncoast.