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Underrepresented Representatives: How to Navigate a Profession that Does Not Look like You

Level: Beginner
Runtime: 61 minutes
Recorded Date: July 15, 2020
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  • Explore the Landscape of the Legal Profession
  • Explore the Impact of Inadequate Representation
  • Identify the Roadblocks Faced by Minority Attorneys
  • Identify Tools to Navigate the Representation Gap
Runtime: 1 hour
Recorded: July 15, 2020


The panelists will also discussion the natural consequences that our presence in the profession has on the minority community and the steps necessary to help ensure that the minority population is better represented in the legal profession.

This program was recorded on July 15th, 2020.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Nick Austin

Senior Counsel and Vice President, Corporate Strategic Transactions Group
Wells Fargo

Nick Austin’s work primarily focuses on providing expert counsel to major Fortune 100 businesses. He works at Wells Fargo as Senior Counsel and Vice President in the Corporate Strategic Transactions group, assisting on M&A and Venture Capital transactions.

Nick worked as Mergers and Acquisitions and Venture Capital Counsel at Caterpillar, where he advised senior company executives on legal matters pertaining to M&A and Caterpillar’s venture capital and joint venture projects. Nick helped to establish Caterpillar’s first corporate venture capital initiative, and served as General Counsel of Caterpillar’s Toronto based tunneling business, Caterpillar Tunneling Canada Corporation, where he led legal operations for the entity.

As an associate at the Georgetown offices of Foley & Lardner, LLP, Nick handled M&A and Business Transactions where he advised clients on mergers and acquisitions, commercial contracts, securities and energy related matters. At Foley, Nick served two secondments as In-House Counsel for Cummins Inc. and Sunoco.

Nick is the Chair and CEO of the Young Lawyers Division of the National Bar Association. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the The Black Student Fund, and he previously served as the Treasurer of the Young Lawyers Division of the Washington Bar Association.

Nick earned his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center where he was on the Moot Court team and also served as BLSA President. Nick is a Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College where he served as Editor-In-Chief of the student newspaper, The Maroon Tiger. An aggressive entrepreneur and proud DC native, Nick also owns several DC-area based businesses and properties. Nick is a proud member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

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Thomas A. Saenz

President and general Counsel
Mexican Legal Defense and Educational Fund

Thomas A. Saenz is the President and General Counsel of MALDEF, where he leads the civil rights organization's five offices in pursuing litigation, policy advocacy, and community education to promote the civil rights of Latinos living in the United States. Saenz re-joined MALDEF in August 2009, after spending four years on Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's executive team as Counsel to the Mayor. He previously spent 12 years at MALDEF practicing civil rights law as a staff attorney, regional counsel, and vice president of litigation. He served as MALDEF's lead counsel in numerous cases in the areas of education, employment, immigrants’ rights, and voting rights. Saenz graduated from Yale College and Yale Law School, and he clerked for two federal judges before initially joining MALDEF in 1993.

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Chloe Woods

United States Postal Service

Chloe has experience providing legal counsel to government and private organizations, representing clients in state and federal courts, as well as administrative proceedings. She has demonstrated expertise in legal research and written advocacy, to include legislation, regulatory and policy issues, and appellate brief writing. Prior to her current role as Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Bar Association, Chloe held positions as a Judge Advocate in the United States Air Force; Assistant City Counselor for the City of St. Louis; and Corporate Counsel for Peabody Energy Corporation. Chloe has served at the highest levels of civil and professional organizations of differing size and scope, to include the American Bar Association, National Black Law Students Association, National Bar Association, Mound City Bar Association, The Missouri Bar, Bar Association of Metropolitan St Louis, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis, Northside Community School, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.

While serving on the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association, and as a voting delegate in the ABA House of Delegates, the policy making body for the ABA, she voted in favor of resolutions and policies that will affect the profession of law for years to come. The decisions made and votes cast directly impacted the allocation and management of a budget in excess of $200 million.

Chloe received her Juris Doctorate from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, a Masters in policy from Arizona State University, and her Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in the City of New York. Chloe also holds a Master’s in Education and Training and is passionate about training and facilitation, especially “helping people have that “a-ha!” moment when their light bulb comes on!”

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