While representation of women and people of color among law firms have reached historic highs across the board, structural and cultural obstacles continue to inhibit rapid progress in increasing diversity, especially at the partnership level.*
During a panel event hosted by the Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) Next Generation Committee, Jackson Walker partner James McFall shared his perspective related to diversity, equity, and inclusion issues within media organizations and the media law bar. In addition to James, the discussion included Dino Bovell (Counsel, NBCUniversal) as moderator and fellow panelists Nia Hamm (Reporter, NBC10 Boston), Joe Richburg (Vice President & Associate General Counsel, ViacomCBS), and Rachel Strom (Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP).
The panel, entitled “Action & Allyship: A Roadmap for Diversity in Media Law” and held on September 23, 2020, tackled the state of diversity in the media bar and how the legal profession can improve through a roadmap including six different actions:
- Confront (Your) Privilege
- Expand the Talent Pipeline
- Actively Develop Personal & Organizational Empathy
- Be Bold
- Hold Organizations Accountable
- Do More, Say Less
Founded in 1980 to assist in defending and protecting free press rights under the First Amendment, the Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) is a nonprofit membership organization for media companies and their defense attorneys. In addition to providing a wide range of resources on media and content law and policy issues, the MLRC works with its membership to respond to legislative and policy proposals, and speaks to the press and public on media law and First Amendment issues.
The Next Generation Committee provides a forum for attorneys of any age who have been practicing media law for a decade or less. The Committee aims to increase the involvement at general MLRC events and Next Generation-specific events, writing for MLRC publications, and helping MLRC identify up-and-coming and developing issues in media law.
*2019 Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms, National Association for Law Placement, Inc. (NALP)
James Carlos McFall focuses his practice on media, sports, entertainment, and complex commercial litigation, including cases of alleged fraud, tortious interference, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and theft of trade secrets. He has represented clients in federal and state courts Texas and California. James has been named a “Rising Star” in Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers from 2017-2018 and in 2020.
Since 2015, James has co-chaired the ABA’s First Amendment and Media Law Diversity Moot Court Competition, an annual competition which is designed to introduce minority law students to the practice of media law and to prominent members of the media bar. In addition to co-chairing the Moot Court Competition, James serves as an At-Large member of the Governing Committee of the ABA Forum on Communications Law. He also volunteers his time as President of the Windcrest/Northeast Bridge Builders, a nonprofit that he helped form with his high school classmates and local business leaders aimed at providing resources and improving educational opportunities for students in his hometown of San Antonio.