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Ogletree Deakins Taps Michelle Wimes as Director of Professional Development and Inclusion

   |   Press Release

KANSAS CITY, MO – September 19, 2011 – Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. (Ogletree Deakins), one of the nation’s largest labor and employment law firms, welcomes Michelle Wimes as Director of Professional Development and Inclusion. In her role, Wimes will focus on and lead the recruitment, orientation, retention and advancement of a diverse group of attorneys across the firm’s national platform of 40 offices, as well as provide diversity and compliance consulting to the firm’s clients. Wimes will also lead the training of the firm’s attorneys and staff with regard to performance management practices and professional competencies. Additionally, she will maintain and expand relationships with national, local and specialized diversity organizations; bar associations; and law school affinity groups. Wimes, who will be based in Ogletree Deakins’ Kansas City office, joins the firm from Shook, Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P. where she was the Director of Strategic Diversity Initiatives.

“Diversity is a core value of the firm and we have a long and proud tradition among our lawyers and staff,” said Kim Ebert, Ogletree Deakins’ managing shareholder. “In fact, earlier this year Ogletree Deakins was named a Top 100 Law Firm for Diversity by MultiCultural Law magazine. In her role, Michelle will drive professional development and inclusion ensuring we are providing best-in-class service and knowledge to our clients and growing the leaders of tomorrow.”   

Wimes is a nationally renowned speaker and presenter on diversity and inclusion issues in the workplace on topics such as, “Engaging Decision-Makers and Practice Group Leaders in Diversity and Inclusion Efforts”; “Aligning Associate Competencies and Diversity Principles”; and “Reconciling Diversity, Inclusion & Meritocracy: Challenges & Opportunities”. She has presented before organizations such as the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, the Center for Legal Inclusiveness, the National Association of Legal Professionals, the National Bar Association, and the Defense Research Institute.
Under her leadership, Wimes garnered national recognition for her former firm including the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s Thomas L. Sager Award; Altria Law Department’s Inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Award; The Human Right Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index Award; and Working Mother and Flex-time Best Law Firms for Women Award.  

Earlier in her legal career, Wimes handled all aspects of employment litigation with particular focus on matters involving employment discrimination, harassment, and civil rights issues. She advised school districts on education-related issues such as student discipline, constitutional, personnel and policy issues. She also represented clients before the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as local, state and federal courts. 

Wimes is very active in her community by serving in leadership positions with the Domestic Violence Prevention Center. She also serves on the Executive Board of the Association of Law Firm Diversity Professionals.

Prior to a career in law, Wimes was an elementary school teacher in Kansas City. She received her B.A. from the University of Missouri and performed graduate work at the University Of Seville in Spain. Due in part to her studies, Wimes is fluent in Spanish. Wimes earned her J.D., with trial advocacy honors, from Tulane Law School where she was a law clerk for Tulane’s Legal Assistance Program and Secretary of the Black Law Students’ Association.

About Ogletree Deakins

Ogletree Deakins is the nation’s third-largest labor and employment law firm, representing management in all types of employment-related legal matters. The firm has more than 550 lawyers located in 40 offices from Miami to Los Angeles. In addition to handling labor and employment law matters, the firm has thriving practices focused on business immigration, employee benefits, and workplace safety and health law. Ogletree Deakins represents a diverse range of clients, including more than half of the Fortune 50 corporations in the United States. For more information, please contact Ryan King, public relations manager, at (404) 870-1742.

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