Johnson & Bell Shareholder, H. Patrick Morris, received an “Advocate for Diversity” award at the Unity Awards gala event on December 6. The event is hosted by the Diversity Scholarship Foundation, an organization established by attorneys and judges committed to the ideal that diverse law school student bodies are a means of ensuring further diversification in the legal community. The highlight of the evening is the awarding of a variety of scholarships to diverse and deserving law students from across the state. In addition, the Foundation recognizes the tireless efforts of individuals who have made significant contributions to the legal community, including embracing diversity and the ideals diversity represents.
“We are extremely proud of the energy and commitment Pat has brought to diversity efforts at our firm and to the broader legal community,” stated Robert M. Burke, president of Johnson & Bell.
Mr. Morris was licensed to practice in 1983 and has been with Johnson & Bell ever since, where he serves on the Management Committee, the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, as well as being Practice Group Chair for J&B’s nationally recognized Toxic Tort Group. Pat has received many acknowledgements of his professional abilities from his peers, including recognition in the Best Lawyers in America® for mass tort litigation and class actions.
In 2011, Pat received the Sheryl Willert Pioneer Diversity Award from the 16000-member Defense Research Institute (“DRI”) for his work in the early 2000’s in setting the foundation for the later success of diversity programs and committees in defense law firms. Through his diligence, personality, and connections Pat was able to engage over 75 defense firms to sign on to the DRI’s inaugural diversity efforts in 2003-2004, a number that has now grown to over 300. He was the principal author of DRI’s Law Firm Diversity Retention Manual in 2005 and co-chair of the inaugural DRI Diversity for Success Seminar in 2006.
He was given the highest award DRI can give in this arena for his: 1) Behavior which illustrates commitment to inclusion of persons within the institution who are members of traditionally under-represented groups; 2) Demonstrated dedication and commitment to advocating diversity in the legal profession through activity that has a visible, tangible, or measurable impact on the perception of, attitude toward, respect for, and treatment of other persons; 3) Development of contemporary measures to fight discrimination and prejudice in the profession; and 4) Promotion of diversity initiatives and relationships among persons of different races, ages, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientations, religious backgrounds, or physical and mental abilities.
Pat has been a champion of diversity efforts at his own firm, Johnson & Bell, Ltd., as the initial Chair of the Diversity Committee, a position he served in between 2004 and 2019.