Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and Inclusion
Our firm is deeply committed to helping diversify the legal profession; we are working to do all we can to ensure the firm reflects the community around us. Our firm has a Diversity Committee, which actively looks for ways to support diversity in our profession as well as in our community as a whole.
We adopted the following Diversity Mission Statement that drives our efforts:
In all that we do, English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability or veteran status. Our goal is to create a law firm that reflects the diversity in our community and helps our clients feel at home with us. We work diligently to reach many different populations with our services and in our hiring and recruitment efforts, and always ensure that any type of discrimination is never tolerated. We see value in hiring diverse attorneys and team members, and believe that doing so increases our value to our community.
This mission statement extends the legacy of several leaders in our firm who have sought ways to ensure that all are welcome in the legal profession.
During his term at Kentucky Bar Association president, Buzz English, a partner at ELPO, spear-headed the KBA’s re-commitment to the Kentucky Legal Education Opportunity program. The program provides $5,000 scholarships to 15 first-year law students who qualify as diverse. Students must be enrolled in Kentucky law schools, and must also attend a two-week summer residential program, which is designed as a pre-law preparatory program. When Buzz became KBA president in July 2009, the KLEO program was underfunded and in danger of ending. He worked diligently to raise funds for its continuation – which it does to this day. Buzz is also a regular attendee of the KBA’s Diversity and Inclusion Summit, and he recently joined the ABA’s Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund Fundraising Committee.
Bob Young, who serves as managing partner of our firm, chaired the American Bar Association Law Practice Division’s diversity committee, and continues his support of the ABA’s efforts to diversify the profession. Bob leads our diversity efforts today, creating a diversity committee and redoubling our efforts to find candidates of all types for open positions at our firm.
Led by attorney Rebecca Simpson, our firm is also in the process of developing a high school mentoring program to encourage diverse students to enter the field of law. In doing so, we hope to encourage students from a wide variety of backgrounds to consider the legal profession.
ELPO team member Francisco Serrano helped organize an Immigration Law Forum in 2017. Our firm supported the forum, and attorneys Brett Reynolds and Heather Coleman Brooks served on a panel at the event.
We are committed to creating a diverse firm because Southcentral Kentucky is diverse — more so than anyone from the outside would assume. One organization we credit with diversifying our community is the International Center of Kentucky, which is headquartered in Bowling Green. The organization serves as a refugee resettlement center, assisting with their assimilation into community life by providing employment, educational, housing, and other social services. Oysara Demir, a team member at our firm, came to Bowling Green through the International Center and came to work for ELPO after studying to be a paralegal at Western Kentucky University. She was born in Uzbekistan and immigrated to the U.S. from Russia, and is now a crucial team member.
The presence of Western Kentucky University greatly enriches our community in many ways. The University welcomes students, researchers and faculty to Western Kentucky University from varied backgrounds. They come here to learn and teach, and our hope is that they feel as welcome and accepted here.
Companies bring workers here for the many businesses that have operations around the world. We assist businesses with headquarters in China and Japan who are making components for auto manufacturers located in Kentucky, including the Corvette assembly plant, which is located here in Bowling Green, and Toyota, which is located in Georgetown, Kentucky.
We are the leading law firm in Western Kentucky that handles immigration law, assisting businesses with bringing foreign workers and their families to our community. We hope that they come to stay, and enrich our community with their presence and talents.