A vital aspect of the firm's commitment to diversity is our outreach to the community. Many of our attorneys, paralegals, and staff are actively involved leading and serving at organizations that represent the unique interests and concerns of minorities, women, children/youth, veterans and the economically disadvantaged. The firm has also developed educational programs for our clients and the community on issues such as immigration, affirmative action and the multinational workforce.
The firm regularly hosts events such as the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Hispanic Heritage Month Business & Community Award Celebration, the Annual NAPABA Southeast Regional Conference, the Tennessee Human Rights Commission Reception, Black History Month Celebrations, and Anti-Defamation League events.
Outreach To Diverse Business Communities
Recent examples of the firm’s involvement with the diverse business community include:
- LGBT Power Lunches – In 2016 and 2017, Waller sponsored a business series hosted by the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce providing professional development and education for business owners and professionals.
- Diversity Dialogue: Leading Change - Waller and Fifth Third Bank partnered in a panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities of building and leading a diverse and inclusive organization. Matt Burnstein, Chairman of Waller, led the dialogue with panelists Mayor Karl Dean; Don Abel, CEO and President of Fifth Third Bank Tennessee; Gary Garfield, CEO and President of Bridgestone Americas; and Agenia Clark, CEO and President of the Girls Scouts of Middle Tennessee.
- Diversity Seminar Series – In 2013, the firm partnered with Fifth Third Bank in a series of four seminars created specifically for minority-owned businesses and diverse chamber of commerce members to provide resources needed to develop and maintain a successful diverse-owned business.
- Labor and Employment Roadshow Series – We partnered with the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to hold seminars in Middle and East Tennessee addressing topics such as labor and employment, healthcare, and immigration issues.
Pro Bono Programs
Waller’s award winning Civil-Legal Advocate Program comprises about 30 attorneys and paralegals who work in teams to represent women who have been referred by the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands at Protection Order hearings.
Waller is the only Nashville law firm taking pro bono Protection Order cases from Legal Aid as part of its Civil-Legal Advocate Program, and since October 2015 we have represented 57 petitioners (currently about eight cases each month). Team members are taking part in training that will enable them to expand the program to include representation of children in the Circuit Court.
Partner Vinh Duong, who heads the firm’s Immigration Practice, leads our work in helping people seek new opportunities in the United States through free Citizen Clinics for individuals and families, and assist special immigrant juveniles in obtaining permanent residence in the United States.
The firm staffs legal clinics for the LGBT community through Nashville CARES.
Other examples of Waller’s commitment:
- Being among the first firms in our community to elect female and African American partners. Former Waller partner Waverly Crenshaw was sworn in to the United States District Court of the Middle District of Tennessee in July 2016. Judge Crenshaw stood alone as minority partner in a majority law firm longer than any other African-American attorney in Nashville and was the first minority member of any Nashville law firm’s Board of Directors.
- Signatory to the American Bar Association’s Commission on Disability Rights’ “Pledge for Change,” an affirmation of Waller’s commitment to disability diversity.
- Corporate membership and sponsorship of organizations, such as:
- Napier Looby Bar Association
- Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce
- Tennessee Stonewall Bar Association (Founding Sponsor)
Attorneys who are actively engaged as general counsel, or board or committee members, of organizations that actively promote diversity, include:
- Matthew Burnstein, Member, Board of Directors, Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- Chase Cole, Committee Member, “Men Who Believe in Women ‘Good Guy’ Awards”
- Vinh Duong, Fellow, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity; President, Tennessee Asian Pacific American Bar Association
- Carla Fenswick, Member, Board of Directors, Tennessee Stonewall Bar Association; Member, Board of Directors, Tennessee Equality Project
- John Park, Fellow, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
- Jennifer Weaver, Member, Board of Directors, Tennessee Stonewall Bar Association