DLA Piper announces new diversity and inclusion leadership

Lenora Ausbon-Odom named chief talent development and inclusion officer, Edward “Smitty” Smith named national diversity and inclusion partner

DLA Piper is pleased to announce that Lenora Ausbon-Odom has been named the firm’s chief talent development and inclusion officer, and Edward “Smitty” Smith has been named national diversity and inclusion (D&I) partner.

Ausbon-Odom has served as DLA Piper’s director of professional development since 2017. In this role, she has been involved in a number of strategic initiatives, including leading the firm’s D&I educational programming and shaping the curriculum for its Emerging Leaders programs. She has designed and led the firm’s performance assessment and review process, advised firm lawyers on career development plans and opportunities, designed resources for real-time learning, and helped develop relationships with historically Black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions to foster a stronger pipeline for the advancement of diverse lawyers.

“We are thrilled that Lenora has taken the reins in this exciting new role. Joining our D&I and alumni engagement efforts with talent development is a natural progression of the work we have accomplished and bolsters our commitment to the development of our people, who are the heart of our business,” said Jackie Park, DLA Piper’s co-US managing partner. “Lenora’s leadership will help us integrate our efforts more holistically, creating a comprehensive talent management strategy that supports a diverse and inclusive environment where all our people can succeed and thrive.”

Before joining the firm, Ausbon-Odom served in consulting and management roles at EY and Deloitte for more than 19 years. She received her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She also completed a certificate program in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

DLA Piper is also pleased to announce that Edward “Smitty” Smith, who serves as managing partner of the Washington, DC office and chair of the firm’s Regulatory and Government Affairs practice, has assumed the role of national D&I partner, succeeding Raymond Williams, who served in the position for several years.

Smith, a partner in the firm’s Telecommunications practice, has been involved in local and national diversity and inclusion initiatives for several years and has counseled firm clients on the development and improvement of their own programs.

“We are very pleased that Smitty has taken on the role of national D&I partner. This position is a natural extension of the work that he has long been committed to and will provide an opportunity for him to act as an advocate for the firm’s D&I initiatives as he collaborates with our clients and the broader legal industry,” Park said.