The second annual Rick Palmore LCLD Fellows Alumni Award was presented to 2012 Fellow Yvette V. Gatling, Shareholder at Littler Mendelson, P.C., and 2011 Fellow Kamran Q. Khan, Assistant General Counsel at Altria Client Services, Inc., by the LCLD Fellows Alumni Executive Council at the Fifth Annual LCLD Fellows Alumni Conference on June 24, 2016.

The Palmore Award recognizes the outstanding achievements, commitment, and leadership of LCLD Fellows Alumni who have paved the way for and assisted with the advancement of LCLD Fellows, Fellows Alumni, and other LCLD program participants. 

Rick Palmore is the Founding Chair Emeritus of LCLD, and it was his combination of vision and hard work that was responsible for the founding of the organization. He continues to inspire LCLD Members and other leaders within the legal profession to push the frontiers of diversity and inclusion.

Please read below to learn more about how Gatling and Khan each earned this prestigious award.

Yvette V. Gatling

As the first LCLD Fellow at Littler Mendelson, P.C., Yvette Gatling has acted as a leader in the recruiting and retention of diverse attorneys at the firm. She has also been a key contributor to the development of the LCLD Fellows Alumni Outreach Committee, and she has supported her Fellows Alumni colleagues as well as other diverse attorneys in the Houston community. Gatling also helped to recruit a Littler client, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., to join LCLD.

Yvette Gatling (c) and Shaun Willie (l) accept the first
annual Fellows Alumni Community Service Award
(2015) on behalf of the Fellows Class of 2012. Reena
Bajowala, 2013 Fellow, is pictured at right. (Photo by
Charles Belt)

Until recently, Gatling served as the Hiring Shareholder for Littler’s Houston office, where she greatly expanded initiatives for the professional development of diverse attorneys. An integral member of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Council, Gatling has served on a subcommittee that analyzes the promotion and retention of diverse attorneys. During Gatling's time on the council, it has maintained and expanded programs for diverse attorneys through its four affinity groups, a Women’s Leadership Initiative, and a Career Advocacy Program that is designed to create successful cross-gender and cross-race mentoring relationships at the firm. Additionally, Gatling mentors new diverse associates and lateral shareholders as part of Littler’s new program, “Investment for Success.”

Further, Gatling has been essential to the growth of the LCLD Fellows Alumni Outreach Committee, which connects the Fellows Alumni to high-impact community service projects and regional Alumni networking opportunities. As a member of the Outreach Committee since its inception, she has helped organize various service projects and fundraising campaigns to benefit organizations such as Aid for Victims of Domestic Violence, Overtown Youth Center in Miami, the Youth Empowerment Project of New Orleans, and the Albany Park Theater Project in Chicago.

Throughout the year, Gatling supports Fellows Alumni in their career development by participating in Advocacy Groups, and provides them with networking opportunities by organizing regional Fellows Happy Hour events in Houston, and Fellows gatherings at other conferences that she attends. She also serves as an LCLD Mentor to a first-year law student as part of the Success in Law School Mentoring Program. 

Yvette Gatling (c) with a group of other Fellows Alumni
at the Fellows Alumni Conference in June. (Photo by
Shaun Willie)

Gatling’s colleagues at Littler also know her as an LCLD ambassador. During her fellowship year in 2012 and her involvement with the Fellows Alumni since then, Gatling has shared the lessons and strategies from Fellows conferences with diverse attorneys at her firm. Additionally, Gatling makes it a point to update Tom Bender, LCLD Member and Co-Managing Director at Littler, and other firm leaders about Littler’s diversity and inclusion efforts and LCLD events. 

Taking it a step further, this year Gatling helped to persuade a Littler client, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., to become an LCLD Member as part of an effort to build diversity in the legal profession in West Virginia. After Mylan joined LCLD, Gatling partnered with Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company (another Littler client and LCLD Member organization) to organize a meeting at the West Virginia University College of Law to discuss ways to increase diversity in the legal profession statewide.

Gatling is also active in the greater Houston community and around the country. She is a board member of the National Employment Law Council, and a former board member of Houston Community Voicemail. She has also served on the Women’s Committee of the Downtown Club and the Downtown Group, and she has spoken on panels to many youth organizations at law schools, colleges, and high schools. Click here to learn more about Gatling’s legal practice.

Kamran Q. Khan

Kamran Khan has proven himself to be a champion of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and in his community. Khan has helped mentor and advance the careers of several LCLD Fellows Alumni. Additionally, he has enriched the LCLD Fellows and Fellows Alumni programs by helping to persuade law firms to participate in the Fellows Program early on, becoming involved in the strategy and planning of LCLD initiatives and speaking at Fellows events.

Kamran Khan (r) speaks to LCLD Mentees as part of a
Group Mentoring Program event at McGuireWoods in
March 2013. (Photo courtesy of McGuireWoods LLP)

Khan currently serves as the Chair of the Diversity Committee for the Altria Client Services (ALCS) Law Department in Richmond, Virginia. The Diversity Committee has been instrumental in establishing a flex-time pilot program for ALCS lawyers, creating a “Diversity in Action” award for Altria’s outside counsel, and hosting an annual Diversity CLE that spotlights diverse outside counsel for potential business development opportunities at Altria. The Diversity Committee has also played an important role in creating a diversity scorecard to better assess outside counsel firms and establishing a Summer Intern Program for diverse, first-year law students. Khan is also involved in planning the annual ALCS Diversity Roundtable, in which Altria meets with outside counsel to discuss progress in diversity recruiting, promotion, and retention.

Before joining Altria, Khan began his career at Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. (SHB) in Kansas City, Missouri, where he was a founding member of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee in 2000. In this role, he advised many senior partners on matters of diversity. He helped to expand the role of diversity at SHB by raising awareness of its importance, as well as its value in expanding business relationships and increasing SHB’s involvement in the legal community. He also served on SHB’s Hiring Committee, where he was instrumental in recruiting a number of diverse attorneys, and on the Mentor/Mentee Task Force, where he served as both a formal and informal mentor to many diverse attorneys. In January 2006, he also became the firm’s first partner of South Asian descent.

As an LCLD Fellow Alumnus, Khan has become a mentor and advocate for several other Fellows Alumni, making key introductions and helping them to earn recognition and ascend to positions of leadership. Having spoken at various Fellows events, Khan has also provided valuable business insights to outside counsel from the perspective of corporate legal counsel. As a member of the inaugural class of LCLD Fellows, Khan has also played a role in recruiting his alma mater, SHB, and other firms to participate in the LCLD Fellows Program. He also served as a lead organizer for Altria’s Learning Experience in 2014.

Kamran Khan (c) with a group of Fellows Alumni at the
2016 conference, many of whom nominated him for
the Rick Palmore Award. (Photo by Jay Haas)

Khan has also helped to enrich other LCLD programs by serving as an LCLD Mentor and speaker for the Success in Law School Mentoring Program, and by participating in LCLD’s early Partnership and Pipeline Committee and Secondment initiative.

In addition to his participation with LCLD, Khan has spoken at diversity events for the American Bar Association, Minority Corporate Counsel Association, North American South Asian Bar Association, Pittsburgh Legal Diversity Forum, University of Virginia, Richmond Legal Diversity Alliance, and the South Asian Bar Association of New York. Khan has also been involved in the Defense Research Institute, where he has served as the corporate vice-chair of the Complex Commercial Litigation Committee and corporate vice-chair of the Diversity Committee. He also served as vice-chair of the 2010 DRI Diversity for Success Seminar, an annual conference at which he spoke in both 2009 and 2011.

Khan has been an active and valued member of the various communities in which he has lived. While living in Kansas City, Kamran served as a board member for Camp for Kids, and he participated in the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Centurions Leadership Program. After moving to Richmond, he joined the Richmond Legal Diversity Alliance. Click here to learn more about Khan’s legal practice.