Waller is committed to creating and fostering a welcoming workplace and community for female and minority lawyers, paralegals and staff.
Women’s Leadership Council
For more than 15 years, the Women’s Leadership Council has comprised women attorneys at Waller, including Katie Stenberg, former member of the firm’s Board of Directors, and current Board member, Amanda Jester. The Council provides peer mentoring, conducts specialized training programs addressing issues faced by women professionals at all stages of their practice careers, organizes special networking events, and teaches business development skills.
In 2013, the Women’s Leadership Council initiated and branded the “Shine the Light” series of documentary screenings on issues critical to women. The next in the series is scheduled in November 2016 and includes a panel discussion with community leaders on topics such as domestic violence and the challenges women and girls face to achieve self-empowerment and move into leadership positions. Around 90 guests attend each of these events.
Our women attorneys also are actively involved in numerous professional and business organizations. This involvement serves to expand their professional networks as well as to provide leadership opportunities. Organizations in which Waller women attorneys have been active include:
- CABLE (a professional women's networking group)
- Lawyers’ Association for Women
- Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands (pro bono programs)
- Legal Association of Women
- Nashville Women’s Political Caucus
- National Association of African-Americans in Human Resources
- Urban Leagues of Young Professionals
- Women’s Bar Association
Waller provides financial support to a wide range of organizations and events that support women and women in business:
- Nashville Celebration of the 85th anniversary of women's suffrage
- "Men Who Believe in Women 'Good Guy' Awards," the annual award given to men who support women in measurable ways. In past years, two of the firm's male partners have served as co-chairs of the event
- Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee
- Lawyers' Association of Women (LAW)
- Nashville ATHENA Awards
- Nashville Women's Political Caucus
- Third Annual Economic Summit for Women presented by the Tennessee Economic Council on Women and the Women’s Economic Council Foundation, Inc.
- YWCA of Nashville & Middle Tennessee
The firm prohibits discrimination against any member of the Waller community based on sexual orientation, and we were one of the first law firms in Nashville to offer full health and insurance benefits to same-sex partners. Waller has also reached out to the Tennessee LGBT community by sponsoring the annual Equality Dinner hosted by the Tennessee chapter of the Human Rights Campaign. Waller is a corporate sponsor of the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and Ron Snitker, Executive Director of Business Development at Waller, serves on the Chamber's Board of Directors.
In addition, Waller is a founding sponsor of the Tennessee Stonewall Bar Association, an association of attorneys, judges, law students, paralegals, and other legal professionals who support the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, and oppose discrimination based upon sexual orientation or gender identity. Meeting at least on a quarterly basis, one meeting is held at Waller each year. Waller partner, Carla Fenswick, is a Founding Member of the Board of Directors and Corporate Secretary for Tennessee Stonewall Bar Association and paralegal, Jeana Clark, also serves on Stonewall's Board of Directors. Additional Waller attorneys are members.
Waller also participates in pro bono legal clinics for the LGBT community through Nashville Cares. We co-sponsored programs at Vanderbilt Law School - our first program, "Dialogues in Law and Religion: The Future of Gay Marriage," was co-hosted with Vanderbilt Law School's OUTLaw and the Divinity School's GABLE groups. Our most recent program, co-sponsored with Vanderbilt OUTLaw, was a panel discussion on the timely topic of school bullying, Tennessee's proposed "Don't Say Gay" legislation, and the First Amendment.