Annual event highlights contributions and legacy of Black attorneys and legal professionals in Arkansas
BCN Staff — Oct. 25, 2021 — The W. Harold Flowers Law Society will host famed “Giant Killer” attorney, trial litigator and philanthropist William E. Gary at its upcoming 2021 Civil Rights Symposium on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021, that honors the legacy of Little Rock civil rights icon, legislator and attorney John W. Walker.
The annual event by Arkansas’ largest professional association for African American lawyers and legal professionals will kick off with a “Meet and Greet” event at 6 p.m. on Oct. 28, 2021, at The 1836 Club, 1406 Cantrell Road in Little Rock. The symposium, entitled “Giants in the Courtroom: The Litigator,” will follow the next day on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021, at 11:30 a.m. It will be held at the William H Bowen School of Law, 1201 McMath Ave., in Little Rock.
The symposium will give attendees the option of participating in online or in-person seminars, beginning with a session by Mr. Gary on “Trial Skills, Preparing to Win.” Gary, whose namesake law firm is based in Stuart, Fla., earned his reputation and famous nickname by taking down some of America’s most well- known corporate giants on behalf of his clients. He also won some of the largest jury awards and settlements in U.S. history, including cases valued at more than $30 billion that earned him national recognition as one of the country’s leading trial attorneys.
In May 2002, Gary was featured in Ebony magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential Black Americans.” Forbes Magazine has also listed him as one of the “Top 50 attorneys in the U.S.” In addition, the famed Black trial attorney has been spotlighted in several of the nation’s most respected media publications, such as The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, Ebony, Jet, People, Black Enterprise, Fortune, The New Yorker and The National law Journal.
“We are excited to have Mr. Gary as a special guest, especially as we honor the legacy of John Walker and strive to embody a community of African-American law professionals playing an active role in their local communities across the state of Arkansas,” said W. Harold Law Society President Denese Fletcher, who practices in Central Arkansas as a civil and criminal trial attorney with expertise in criminal defense in juvenile, district, circuit and federal courts. “In light of the recent discussions on civil rights, racial injustice and social unrest following the death of George Floyd, this is a momentous time in history for Black attorneys and legal professionals to become more engaged in advocating for change.”
Besides Mr. Gary’s appearance, this year’s event will also recognize Pine Bluff attorney Gene E. McKissic, Sr., as the “Carrying on the Legacy” recipient in honor of Walker. The award will be given on the second anniversary of the death of the Arkansas civil rights leader, who passed away at his home in Little Rock on Oct. 28, 2019, at the age of 82.
Other scheduled events and seminars during the W. Harold Flowers Society 2021 Civil Rights Symposium will include:
- Trial Skills: Preparation of a Case, 1 – 2 p.m. – Instructors are Mr. Gary, Attorney Ricky Hicks of The Hicks Law Firm and Attorney Richard Mays, Sr. ; Attorney Tiffany Mays O’ Guinn of Mays, Bird & Associates P.A., in Little Rock will moderate.
- Legacy of John W. Walker Award, 2:15 p.m. – Attorney Gene E. McKissic, Sr.
- The State of Civil Rights, 3:30 p.m. –Attorney Austin Porter of Little Rock will provide an update on the state of civil rights in Arkansas, including issues that were important to Mr. Walker such as education, judicial reform, and voting rights. Porter will also provide a response to Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s opinion that teaching critical race theory (CRT) in Arkansas violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as the “Equal Protection” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. To view Attorney Austin Porter’s full RESPONSE TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OPINION, click on the following link https://img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/b5b3c3d1-fdd4-4c6a-9007-74adda3c09db/CRT.Response.pdf.
Those interested in attending the John W. Walker symposium, click on the following link to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_A8WOJoiYRXKB8VtLcIGJWQ. For more information, contact the W. Flowers Law Society at 501-378-7720.
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