Norton Rose Fulbright has appointed US head of employment Shauna Clark as its next US and global chair, making her the first woman of colour to hold either role.
They are the latest of a series of firsts achieved by Clark during her career at NRF – she was also the first woman of colour to head the Houston office, become US head of employment and join the global executive committee.
And when she succeeds Durban partner Andrew Robinson in the global position on 1 January, she will also become the only woman of colour chairing an Am Law 200 law firm, according to NRF. The global position rotates annually across the firm’s regions; however, Clark is also succeeding San Antonio partner George Scofield as chair of the US practice and will enjoy a three-year term at the helm, working alongside US managing partner Jeff Cody.
Gerry Pecht, NRF’s recently appointed global chief executive, said: “Our people and clients will benefit from both her legal prowess and excellent judgment in the courtroom and the boardroom, as well as her invaluable perspective on diversity and inclusion issues.”
Clark, who joined the firm in 1994, said she would “work with colleagues and clients to advance racial equality, diversity and inclusion throughout our firm and the legal profession”. She added: “Following this year’s traumatic events across the US and in other parts of the world, making a positive change stands as even more of a priority, both at Norton Rose Fulbright and throughout our communities.”
In an interview with the Legal 500 legal directory, she gave an insight into her philosophy, arguing that ‘women lawyers need to have the freedom, equal opportunities, and sponsorship to develop and showcase their talents without man-made hindrances’.
Clark is a ranked individual in the Texas section of the Chambers and Partners US directory for undertaking ‘business-critical disputes on behalf of employers, including discrimination, retaliation and wage and hour claims’.
In September, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer appointed Asia managing partner Georgia Dawson as its next senior partner, making her the first woman to lead a magic circle UK firm.