Maria L. H. Lewis, Drinker Biddle Chief Diversity Officer and Counsel, recently received two prestigious awards: the Justice Juanita Kidd Stout Woman of Distinction Award from The Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Champions of Social Justice and Equality Award from the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) of Rutgers Law School-Camden.
The Justice Juanita Kidd Stout Woman of Distinction Award is presented to an outstanding woman attorney of color, who has “helped to advance the education or careers of other women of color within the legal profession and beyond.” It also honors those who “create new directions for women of color, while maintaining character, poise, and professionalism.”
For more than 20 years, BLSA’s Martin Luther King Jr. Champions of Social Justice and Equality Award has been bestowed upon individuals of great accomplishment in their profession who have made a lasting, positive impact on their community.
Maria is the firm’s Chief Diversity Officer (CDO). A key position, the CDO plays an integral role in development of the firm’s policies and procedures and in fostering a diverse and inclusive environment throughout the firm. She is a current member of and previously served as the Chair of the Philadelphia Regional Hiring Committee, which promotes diverse hiring and retention. Maria is also the first firm-wide internal Career Counselor to all non-partner attorneys. In this role, she serves as a confidential resource to attorneys in navigating career decisions and other professional workplace matters.
With more than 20 years of experience, Maria is a litigator who has handled numerous employment and commercial litigation lawsuits. She also counsels her clients on issues in the workplace, including advising on discrimination and retaliation claims; conducting internal investigations; and conducting management and employee training on diversity, implicit bias, sexual harassment, and workplace violence.