Carl D. Smallwood, a partner at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, was honored for his leadership in promoting diversity in the legal profession at the Columbus Bar Association’s Martin Luther King, Jr. reception on January 21, 2009.
Smallwood received a unique award from the Columbus Bar Association (CBA) honoring his exceptional vision and leadership in promoting diversity in the legal profession. In remarks made at the event, CBA president Elizabeth Watters emphasized his “pioneering vision and tireless leadership in advancing diversity in the Columbus legal community.”
Smallwood responded, “Martin Luther King, Jr. was a transformative leader. I have been transformed by my law school, the Vorys firm and the CBA. The pool for legal talent is broader, deeper and more diverse than is reflected in the profession. I hope my efforts, joined with yours, in some small way have served to transform the schools, firms and this profession for the better.”
Smallwood was elected the CBA’s first African-American president in 2000, at which time he led 22 firms to sign the Managing Partners’ Diversity Initiative (MPDI), a five-year action plan intended to address the lack of diversity in local law firms, focusing efforts on the recruitment, assimilation and retention of minority attorneys at participating firms in Columbus. The MPDI was renewed in 2006 with a focus on retention. Since 2000, the number of minority attorneys at those firms has grown by 102%. Smallwood currently serves as the President of the Law and Leadership Institute, LLC, a statewide diversity pipeline program for promising high school students. He also has been active in diversity-focused programs sponsored by The Ohio State University and the Michael E. Moritz College of Law, where he is a past president of the Law Alumni Society and Black Law Alumni Society, and a member of the Moritz College National Council.
Smallwood was named an Ohio Super Lawyer in Civil Defense Litigation from 2005 through 2009. He received his undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University and his law degree from The Moritz College of Law.