2014 LCLD Fellows Joseph Maron Hanna and Marilyn McClure-Demers were honored with the Sixth Annual Rick Palmore LCLD Alumni Award at the 2020 LCLD Alumni Virtual Leadership Symposium on June 12, 2020. Chosen this year from the 2,600-member LCLD Alumni community of past Fellows and Pathfinders, McClure-Demers and Hanna join a select group of nine other recipients since the creation of the award in 2015.
Named for the founder of LCLD, the Rick Palmore LCLD Alumni Award recognizes the outstanding achievements, commitment, leadership, and vision of Alumni who have had a lasting impact on the legal profession and who continue to advance the mission and goals of LCLD.
Hanna and McClure-Demers have demonstrated a tireless commitment to driving diversity and inclusion initiatives in their local legal communities and beyond, as well as unwavering support of other LCLD Alumni and current program participants.
Here’s more about the 2020 Rick Palmore LCLD Alumni Award honorees:
Joseph Maron Hanna
Joseph Maron Hanna is a Partner at Goldberg Segalla in his hometown of Buffalo, NY, where he is the founder and chair of the firm’s Diversity Task Force and the youngest member of the firm’s five-person Facilitation (Management) Committee, bringing his advocacy for diversity and inclusion to the highest level of Goldberg Segalla’s governance and decision-making. He also chairs the firm’s Retail and Hospitality practice and is the founder and chair of the Sports and Entertainment practice.
Hanna has leveraged his connections in the legal community and positions of leadership to spearhead numerous diversity initiatives focused on mentorship, advocacy, and outreach within his firm and New York, the LCLD community, and around the world.
As president of the Minority Bar Association of Western New York (MBAWNY) in 2011, Hanna created a diversity-focused internship program in collaboration with the University at Buffalo School of Law (UB) to provide opportunities for minority UB law students to gain firsthand experience in the legal system. To date, the program has placed more than 200 students in clerkships in area courts as well as in several area law firms and in-house positions at some of the country’s largest corporations. Hanna has also served MBAWNY as president of its Foundation.
Hanna (center) speaks at the LCLD 2017 Fellows Third Meeting in New Orleans, encouraging the 2017 class to become involved in the Alumni program. (Photo by Jay Haas)
In 2018, Hanna launched the Success in the City networking event in Buffalo, which brings together community leaders to undo the effects of segregation on the city’s business community and quality of life. The first Success in the City attracted more than 160 attendees and launched several diversity-focused projects including the Erie County Family Justice Center, which provides legal aid and mentoring to single mothers, and a mentoring program to match senior African American attorneys in Western New York with local African American law students. The event has since been replicated in cities across the country.
Since 2016, Hanna has served as a New York City Lead for the LCLD Success in Law School Mentoring Program. In this role, he has served as the primary liaison between LCLD and more than 200 local law school students, administrators, and attorney Mentors in New York, with participation growing every year. He has personally served as an LCLD Mentor to diverse first-year law students and organized substantive panel presentations for LCLD Mentees in New York. He has also spoken at a past 1L LCLD Scholars Summit in Chicago and recruited Goldberg Segalla attorneys to conduct mock interviews for the 1L Scholar attendees.
Hanna has served on the LCLD Alumni Executive Council in several capacities over the years—as a 2014 co-class liaison this year, chair of the Outreach Committee in 2017–18, and a member of the 2017 Leadership Symposium Committee. He has been an active member of the Advocacy Group Committee since 2015.
Hanna and a teacher from Harriet Ross Tubman Academy in Buffalo, NY, with donated backpacks full of school supplies. (Photo courtesy of Hanna)
During his term as the Outreach Committee chair, he led a nationwide Backpack Drive, where LCLD Alumni in nine cities across the country collected backpacks and school supplies and donated them to students in need as they started the school year. Hanna also led a national Holiday Gift Drive using the same model in 10 cities across the country.
As a dedicated member of the LCLD Alumni Advocacy Group Committee, Hanna has sought out opportunities to help develop other diverse attorneys. Not only has he served as a mentor to his peers, but he has taken extra steps to support LCLD Alumni by recruiting them for speaking engagements, sponsorships, and other growth opportunities.
Hanna has also demonstrated a deep dedication to public service. He founded Bunkers in Baghdad in 2009 after learning that United States soldiers stationed in Iraq were using makeshift driving ranges to play golf as a popular form of stress relief. The nonprofit organization has provided new and used golf balls and clubs to soldiers stationed in Iraq and 69 other countries around the world.
Bunkers in Baghdad also serves injured veterans at home who are recovering in Wounded Warriors programs and other military installations and VA hospitals in all 50 states. In these settings, the organization provides golfing equipment to help with veterans’ rehabilitation.
“I would not be where I am in my career today without LCLD, and without the relationships, and in many cases lifelong friendships, that I’ve made within this powerful network,” Hanna said, reflecting on his award. “More important than my professional growth, though, is that LCLD has vastly expanded my opportunities and abilities to give back in a variety of ways. I’m honored and humbled to receive the Rick Palmore Award this year, alongside the incredible Marilyn McClure-Demers.”
Hanna (first row, right) with LCLD Alumni and youth during a community service project benefitting Covenant House California in Los Angeles, June 2018. (Photo by Jay Haas)
Marilyn McClure-Demers is Vice President, Associate General Counsel of Corporate Litigation and Discovery Management at Nationwide in Columbus, OH, where she has served as a member of the company’s Diversity and Inclusion Council. With strategic oversight of Corporate, IP, and Class Action Litigation and Discovery Management, McClure-Demers’ role touches on all Nationwide business sections, including property and casualty, financial services, and real estate development.
McClure-Demers is an outstanding advocate for diversity and inclusion in her community, driving change both in her current state of Ohio and in her home state of West Virginia. She is a former president of the Ohio Women’s Bar Association (OWBA) (2016-2017), a past chair of United Way of Delaware County (2014-2016), and the founder and former chair of the organization’s Women’s Leadership Network (2011-2016).
As president of the OWBA, McClure-Demers established a diversity and inclusion council and D&I awards given annually. She has also actively recruited diverse attorneys to the OWBA’s board and overall programming.
McClure-Demers (left) moderates a panel of Nationwide C-Suite executives at the LCLD 2019 Pathfinder Second Meeting hosted at Nationwide in Columbus, OH, November 2019. (Photo by Ira Graham)
Even before becoming an LCLD Fellow in 2014, McClure-Demers advocated for Nationwide to join LCLD in 2009. Since completing her fellowship year, she has led Nationwide to participate in all of LCLD’s programs, and has helped raise funds for the LCLD Alumni All In! Campaign and secured sponsorships for the Alumni Leadership Symposium. She has personally organized major events such as the LCLD 2019 Pathfinder Second Meeting.
In addition to holding many roles on the LCLD Alumni Executive Council including treasurer (2017-2019), secretary (2016-2017), and 2014 co-class liaison (2015-2016), McClure-Demers’ ardent commitment to LCLD’s mission has led her to create partnerships between LCLD and West Virginia-based companies and law firms, as well as the West Virginia State Bar Association and the West Virginia University (WVU) College of Law.
McClure-Demers (first row, left) with LCLD Mentees, Mentors, and WVU College of Law administrators during a Group Mentoring Program event hosted at the college in April 2019. (Photo courtesy of WVU College of Law)
McClure-Demers has often traveled to West Virginia law firms to deliver presentations on the benefits of LCLD membership, establishing an LCLD presence in West Virginia by recruiting five law firm Members. Thanks to her hard work, many attorneys at these firms, and nearly 60 (and counting) law students through their participation in the LCLD Success in Law School Mentoring Program, have been connected to advance LCLD’s mission of creating a more inclusive legal profession.
McClure-Demers’ vision gave West Virginia—a rural state without a large urban center—the ability to provide the same mentoring benefits that are available to diverse students in larger markets. She has since established and planned annual LCLD Group Mentoring Program events for LCLD Mentors and Mentees at the West Virginia University College of Law. McClure-Demers has also mentored several diverse, first-year law students over the years as part of the LCLD Success in Law School Mentoring Program.
Nationwide's Gale King (center, left) EVP and Chief Administrative Officer, McClure-Demers (center, right), and LCLD Member Mark Howard (right), EVP and Chief Legal Officer, along with 2019 LCLD Pathfinders at their second meeting, November 2019. (Photo by Ira Graham)
McClure-Demers regularly invests in identifying and recommending candidates at Nationwide to participate in the LCLD Fellows and Pathfinder programs. She also organizes brown bag lunches for LCLD Alumni to continue the momentum of development, networking, and professional growth provided through LCLD programs. She also leads Nationwide’s participation with partner law firms in the 1L LCLD Scholars Program.
“It is truly my honor to receive the prestigious Rick Palmore LCLD Alumni Award representing corporate America, along with Joseph Hanna representing private law practice,” McClure-Demers said. “At a time when our country needs to see actions line up with words, any meaningful change requires all of us. I am extremely grateful and thank LCLD and Rick Palmore who have led the way. It is incredibly humbling, validating, and inspiring for LCLD alumni to determine my work worthy of this prestigious award.”
Jessica Sabesan is the Senior Communications & Marketing Manager at LCLD. For questions about the Rick Palmore LCLD Alumni Award, please contact Erin Hess, LCLD Alumni Program Manager.