African-American GC group announces initiative to identify and train in-house counsel of color for leadership roles

The Black General Counsel 2025 Initiative has launched its website, www.BlackGC2025.com, part of an Initiative in identifying all African American in-house counsel currently working in Fortune 1000 and large private companies It’s part of its mission to help prepare black lawyers to become GCs of large companies and to ultimately bring lawyers who are “ready now” to the attention of executive recruiters and prominent GCs who can help them reach the GC seat or find other new opportunities.

2025 Initiative founders April Miller Boise, newly announced GC Eaton, former GC of Meritor, Inc., and Ernest Tuckett (in the photo above), former GC Americas of AkzoNobel, assembled an advisory council comprising black GCs and chief legal officers of large companies and other legal industry leaders with the goal of increasing the number of black GCs and chief legal officers in public and large private companies.

“Our main priority is to empower current and future senior black lawyers with the tools, knowledge, exposure and support they need to reach large company GC seats. In launching our website, we have added a resource available to this community of exceptional lawyers that will enhance our ability to reach our goal of 100 GCs in Fortune 1000 and equivalent companies. Reaching this goal would be an incredible leap forward. The influence in the C suite, the aggregate legal spend and the number of hiring decisions under the leadership of these Black GCs can be a game changer for the cause of diversity in the legal profession,” said Tuckett.

Identifying and tracking the number of Black GCs is only a small part of the initiative’s activities and goals. The group seeks to identify so-called “ready now” black GC lawyers. To be deemed ready now, a candidate must be nominated or sponsored by a current or former GC or a chief executive officer and submit his/her credentials for consideration through the “Apply” link on the website. The advisory council has developed core criteria for successful GC candidates, which can be found on the new website. Aspiring GCs can measure themselves against these criteria to determine their readiness and any potential gaps. To develop the criteria, the advisory council sought input from recruiters at search firms including Major Lindsey & Africa, Korn Ferry, Spencer Stuart, Heidrick & Struggles and Barker Gilmore, who have placed hundreds of GCs in large corporations.

The 2025 Initiative is supported by several law firms that appreciate the importance of this issue and the work still to be done. Thompson Hine provided financial and professional support to develop and launch the website. Alston & Bird, Beveridge & Diamond, and Cooley have also provided support and assistance.

African-American GC group announces initiative to identify and train in-house counsel of color for leadership roles

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