The primary goal of our affinity groups is to play a key role in the firm’s ongoing efforts regarding diversity and inclusion around the areas of leadership, culture, advancement, recruiting and communication. Our affinity groups focus on the unique issues of the respective group and highlight the positives, deal in truths, and encourage optimism and interaction with people outside the groups.
The African-American Affinity Group (3AG) is an extension of our diversity and inclusion strategic plan at Bass, Berry & Sims, and was formed to serve as a forum for African-American attorneys at the firm to exchange ideas and information relevant to their unique experiences as minority attorneys. The goals of the group are to mentor African-American attorneys and to foster an inclusive and supportive environment for personal and professional development within the firm.
The 3AG and its membership actively participate in a number of programs, activities, sponsorships, organizations, and community service that benefit the African-American community. Our 3AG group is led by Lillian Blackshear, a member in our Nashville office.
Recent Programs and Activities
- With April 4, 2018, marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Bass, Berry & Sims had the great honor of hosting Julian Blackshear, Jr., to commemorate Dr. King’s legacy in his fight for equality and humanitarian rights. During a luncheon at the firm on April 3, Mr. Blackshear shared his first-hand experiences of how Dr. King’s vision and leadership directly impacted his life. To read a recap of his discussion, click here.
- Since 2008, the firm has sponsored a scholarship program at Fisk University benefiting two students each year interested in pursuing a legal career.
- 3AG regularly partners with the Nashville Bar Association and its Diversity Committee to host a high school intern at the firm each summer. The primary focus of this program is to expose diverse high school juniors and seniors to the legal profession.
- The firm regularly sponsors a table at the Napier-Looby Foundation Banquet in Nashville and the Julian Blackshear Scholarship Gala held annually at the University of Tennessee College of Law.
- In January 2017, the firm hosted the Second Annual Vanderbilt Black Law Students Association Alumni (BLSA) Reception and Dinner. The event allowed Vanderbilt BLSA alumni across the country to reconnect and to celebrate the accomplishments of its members. Speakers for the evening were Judge Waverly Crenshaw (class of 1981), Ruth Johnson (class of 1975) and Quinton Thompson (class of 2015).
- In February 2017, the firm sponsored the inaugural Unity in Diversity Scholarship Banquet hosted by the National Black Law Students Association, the University of Memphis Benjamin L. Hooks Chapter. Keynote speaker for the event was Robert Grey, President of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity and Former American Bar Association President.
- Also in February 2017, representatives of the firm attended the 49th Equal Opportunity Day Luncheon hosted by the Urban League of Middle Tennessee. The event attendees included the Honorable Megan Barry, Mayor of Nashville; Clifton Harris, ULMT President and CEO; and Donald Cravins, the National Urban League’s Senior Vice President for Policy and Executive Director of the Washington Bureau.
- 3AG also assists the firm with the integration of our African-American summer associates, entry-level associates and lateral attorneys to help build solid foundations and relationships within the firm.