Carol Ross-Burnett served as the first Manager of Diversity & Inclusion (“D&I”) for the law firm of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP. Sheppard Mullin is a full-service, global law firm with eleven offices in the U.S. and four international offices. As Manager of D&I, Ms. Ross-Burnett worked closely with firm leadership to direct and implement internal and external diversity and inclusion initiatives that would enhance diversity in the recruiting, retention, promotion, and advancement into leadership roles of Sheppard Mullin’s diverse attorneys. She was instrumental in launching the Firm’s first affinity groups for attorneys of color and LGBTQ attorneys, and expanding the number of affinity groups for women lawyers from two offices to ten.
An important part of Ms. Ross-Burnett’s work has been to monitor D&I best practices in order to help position Sheppard Mullin as a leader in this area, and to serve as a resource for clients and other external entities. She has presented D&I training and education for partners, associates, summer associates and staff, and also brings in expert speakers on important topics such as implicit bias and generational diversity.
Ms. Ross-Burnett recently transitioned into a new, more outward-facing role at Sheppard Mullin as Senior Advisor, Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Partnerships. In this role, she will work closely with partners, clients and other external constituents to collaborate and partner on D&I initiatives.
Ms. Ross-Burnett is currently completing a three-year appointment on the California State Bar Judicial Council Advisory Committee on Providing Access & Fairness. She is also a member of and leader in the Association of Law Firm Diversity Professionals. Past California State Bar appointments include the Council on Access & Fairness, the Board of Legal Specialization, and the Advisory Committee on Legal Professionals with Disabilities. During her law school tenure, she served on the NALP Board of Directors, and as two-term co-chair of its diversity committee. She also served on the ABA Commission on Opportunities for Minorities in the Profession (now the Commission on Racial & Ethnic Diversity), where she was founding co-editor of the Commission’s nationally distributed newsletter.
Prior to joining Sheppard Mullin, Ms. Ross-Burnett was Assistant Dean of Career Services & Multicultural Affairs at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, and a diversity consultant with her own practice serving law firms, law schools and other legal organizations. She is a speaker and published author in the area of diversity and inclusion. Her publications include stories in Chicken Soup for the African American Soul, and Chicken Soup for the African American Woman’s Soul.
Ms. Ross-Burnett is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and holds a 60-unit master's degree in counseling from San Francisco State University. She also holds a certificate of completion from the Leadership Development in Interethnic Relations (LDIR) program in Los Angeles.