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Sheila GaddisMicrosoft Word - Gaddis bio photo

Partner

Barclay Damon LLP

Years in current role:12

What do you enjoy most about your role?

The most enjoyable part of my role as Diversity Partner at Barclay Damon is the opportunity to meet and mentor diverse attorneys who are starting their legal careers. Their extraordinary talent and enthusiasm for the practice of law is not only exciting but reinvigorating for those of us who have practiced for many years. Attorneys of color are now able to take advantage of the cracks in the legal employment concrete ceiling made by diverse pioneers. Barclay Damon is in the vanguard of law firms that are proactively embracing the fundamental concepts of diversity, equity and inclusion and bringing about demonstrable change.

What do you see as the biggest changes in the legal industry in the next 3-5 years?

The legal industry has changed dramatically during my decades of practice. Technology changes will continue to impact the evolution of the legal industry and how law is practiced locally, nationally and globally. Outsourcing of legal services combined with globalization and technology will directly impact the cost of services and diversify the field. The ABA and state bar associations are examining proposals to expand the nonlawyer practice of law to increase access to justice. Nonlawyer business ventures and reciprocal arrangements once inconceivable will become commonplace. And gender and ethnic diversity of attorneys and staff in the legal profession will remain relevant and aspirational goals.

What are you most looking forward to doing as COVID restrictions ease?

The year of COVID has been unimaginable in many ways. I look forward to greeting family, friends and colleagues in person and exchanging endless virtual Zoom meetings for face-to-face discussions at the restaurant table and the conference table. The taken-for-granted house dinner parties can resume. Travel plans that were postponed are being scheduled. And, most of all, it will be safe to kiss and hug the new grandchild living on the West Coast. It’s hard to define or even explain the profound relief that comes with easing restrictions and feeling it’s becoming safe for all of us to live in the world again.

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