Former In-House Lawyer at Wal-Mart Launches Lawyer Networking Website
Posted Sep 29, 2010 4:30 AM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A former in-house lawyer at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. who focused on diversity issues has started a networking website for lawyers called Diverselawyers.com.
“We are called diverse lawyers because of our emphasis on diversity, but also because the practice of law is diverse,” the website explains.
Diverselawyers.com went live Sept. 1, says its founder, former in-house lawyer James Dockery. “The purpose behind the site is to allow lawyers, law students, and staff professionals to build sustainable relationships and not just to know who is connected to whom,” he tells the ABA Journal in an e-mail. The website’s motto: “Create, connect, collaborate.”
Diverselawyers.com is open to all lawyers worldwide, and it’s attracting members from countries including the United Kingdom, India and Africa, Dockery says. Users can participate in discussion groups, check out job listings, post and read legal documents in a shared library, read legal news, and consult a calendar of bar events. The website is supported with sponsorships and advertisements.
Before his latest venture, Dockery was an associate general counsel at Wal-Mart, where he advised senior managers on diversity issues. Before that he was corporate counsel and director of diversity at Clear Channel Communications, where he was chief architect of the company’s diversity strategy. He also served 10 years in active duty with the Air Force as a judge advocate and 13 years as a JAG reservist.
Dockery cites two reasons why he founded the website.
“I felt that although many of the diversity and inclusion efforts were very good, those efforts had not effectively created sustainable opportunities for women, people of color, GLBT and physically challenged attorneys. Therefore, I felt that all attorneys could benefit from the creation and development of an Internet social networking platform,” Dockery explains in an e-mail.
“Furthermore, many of the organizations that focused on diversity did not effectively correspond with each other,” says Dockery, who has been active in bar diversity efforts on both the national and state level. “In other words, there was not a central place where bar associations or diverse groups could collectively post their upcoming calendar of events. For example, several months ago I attended an ABA diversity event in Chicago. Several blocks away the local bar was holding a diversity event. Had those events looked at collaborating together, both events would have been much more impactful.”