Insights & News

Stradley Ronon Partner Jon Bloom Instrumental in the Creation of a Worldwide Black Lawyers Forum & Associate Shareda Coleman Named to its Leadership Council

April 01, 2021
Firm News
PHILADELPHIA – Stradley Ronon partner Jon Bloom led the effort to build a global platform for Black attorneys through Meritas. A worldwide alliance of leading independent business law firms, Meritas has member firms in over 120 U.S. cities, and in almost 100 countries around the world. Stradley is the exclusive Meritas affiliate for Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania.

As Chair of the Meritas Race and Equality Task Force, Bloom and team developed wide-ranging initiatives on race for the Meritas organization, its member firms and their 7,500 attorneys. The creation of the Meritas Black Lawyers Forum was the centerpiece of the Task Force’s efforts.

The Black Lawyers Forum provides an infrastructure for Black attorneys within Meritas to create global connections, facilitate mentorship, increase visibility and form a worldwide community. It provides a platform to discuss unique issues and experiences related to professional development and business development. Members of the Forum will connect through regularly scheduled virtual video meetings and events, through a dedicated Meritas online community and through in-person meetings. As the Forum gains momentum, Bloom envisions that “business leaders, in-house counsel, and government officials will want to be a part of the Black Lawyers Forum and play a role in its success.”

“Inspired by my firm’s increased focus on racial inclusion and open communications about race, I envisioned the potential for a similar effort on a global scale,” Bloom explains. “The power of Meritas’ worldwide platform provided us the opportunity to build a community of Black lawyers, not just in the U.S. but from around the world.” Having served in numerous leadership roles in Meritas spanning more than two decades, and through his regular contact with member firms, Bloom recognized that Meritas could offer unique opportunities and connections across jurisdictions. As the idea began to take shape and gained momentum, Bloom looked to his African American colleagues at Stradley for input and guidance.

“Law firms have struggled with ways to improve racial equity and enhance diversity,” Bloom adds. “With the launch of the Meritas Black Lawyers Forum, Stradley and other Meritas firms now have an important new vehicle in furthering their diversity and inclusion efforts. This groundbreaking initiative has sparked a sense of excitement among our member firms and the network’s Black attorneys.”

Stradley attorney, Shareda Coleman, has been selected to serve on the six-person Leadership Council for the Black Lawyers Forum, and will bring her unique voice to the leadership team. As a mid-level associate and social justice advocate, Shareda is committed to amplifying the conversation surrounding racial equity in the legal community. “The Forum provides us with a dynamic platform to enhance mentorship and professional development opportunities for Black lawyers,” Coleman explains. “I’m honored to help lead this initiative not only to provide Black lawyers with greater visibility, but also to provide a safe space to discuss, advocate and address issues of importance to our community on a global scale.” Brian Newby, a prominent African American lawyer in Dallas/Ft. Worth and Managing Partner of his Texas-based Meritas law firm Cantey Hanger, will chair the leadership group. “What better way to begin than to convene with the bright minds, enthusiasm and business acumen of our Meritas Black lawyers to share best practices in professional development and create stronger connections for future business development,” Newby says.

All of Meritas’ Black attorneys worldwide – whether in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia or elsewhere – are invited to be part of this group. “The perspectives that U.S.-based attorneys will hear from Black lawyers practicing in other parts of the world can only enhance the vitality of the Forum,” Bloom notes. “And for a graduating law student who joins Stradley or another Meritas firm to be able to be a part of this international community of Black lawyers on Day One, certainly presents a unique opportunity.”

About Meritas

Meritas is a global alliance of independent, market-leading law firms that provides legal services to businesses worldwide. The Meritas affiliation gives Stradley and other member firms a virtual presence in every major city and business center around the world, enabling them to provide seamless, cost-effective and quality services almost anywhere clients have legal or business needs. Meritas law firms are deeply rooted in their local markets, with a depth of experience in their jurisdiction’s laws and business customs, and with valuable relationships within their local business communities. Meritas attorneys are able to secure jurisdiction-specific legal or business guidance in unfamiliar places, in a responsive manner. Founded in 1990, Meritas has member firms in 253 markets worldwide, with almost 7,500 lawyers.

About Stradley Ronon
Counseling clients since 1926, Stradley Ronon has helped private and public companies – from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations – achieve their goals by providing pragmatic, value-driven legal counsel. With offices in seven strategic locations, our responsive team of more than 200 attorneys seamlessly addresses the full spectrum of our clients’ needs, ranging from sophisticated corporate transactions to complex commercial litigation.

Stradley Ronon is committed to inclusion and equity as core values of the firm. This commitment provides a voice to the unique perspectives of all our attorneys and business professionals, reflects the evolving face of the legal profession, and allows us to provide the highest-quality services to our clients, who are as diverse as we are. Most of all, Stradley is committed to diversity because we believe there is strength in the differences among our experiences and world views. Learn more about Stradley’s diversity and inclusion efforts.
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