Kim Shumate '92 Makes History as Youngest Columbus Bar Association President
|A Buckeye family: Kim was honored as the Moritz Outstanding Recent Alumna and her husband Keith just finished a term as Moritz Alumni Society President.|
"Years and years ago, you would think there would have been attorneys involved at younger ages," Shumate said of her historical place at the head of the local bar association. That place also is marked by heritage and the bar's recent push toward diversity, with Shumate being the first minority woman to lead the bar.
In 2000, Columbus attorney Carl Smallwood '80 became the first African American to head the local bar. At the time, Supreme Court of Ohio Chief Justice Thomas Moyer '64 said the profession should look forward to a day when it was not noteworthy to have a minority lawyer take on a prominent leadership role among attorneys.
Shumate said that this largely is the case now, though she said the CBA's efforts at diversity led to significant encouragement as she pursued leadership roles within the organization since she joined the bar in 1992.
"It's a culmination of a lot of work in that area for the bar. A lot of organizations have left diversity to chance, but the CBA took a very proactive role in terms of trying to make diversity a reality. We do that by recruiting leaders who are diverse from the population. It's certainly one of the reasons I was able to get involved early," she said.
She added that her place as the bar's second African American president would only be significant if she were to be the last minority to head the CBA.
In addition to continuing the CBA's diversity partnership initiative, Shumate said the bar in the coming year would focus on expanding its membership and encouraging younger attorneys to take on active roles within the organization. She said she hopes to serve as an example to younger attorneys.
Having celebrated its 135th birthday earlier this year, the bar will spend much of the coming year charting its future course, she said, adding that bar members need to determine what changes are in store for the local profession for the next 15 years, including deciding whether to find a new home for the bar association.
Part of being the youngest bar president in the organization's history is taking the eventual role as the youngest past president in CBA history, but Shumate said she would remain active in the organization after her tenure comes to an end next summer.
"I'm sure my boss would like me to just return my focus to OSU," she said.
By Jeremy Holden, Daily Reporter Staff Writer
Reprinted with permission of The Daily Reporter. Copyright 2004