When Senior Companion Reuben Anderson began his authorized profession in 1967, he was the primary African American graduate of the College of Mississippi Regulation College and one in every of simply six African American attorneys within the state. Because the oldest African American member of the Mississippi Bar, he has paved the way in which for generations of profitable attorneys, neighborhood leaders and changemakers.
Main Change in Mississippi Courts and Communities
Early in his profession, Reuben served as a civil rights lawyer and was assistant counsel for the Mississippi workplace of the NAACP Authorized Protection and Instructional Fund. He was Mississippi’s first African American municipal court docket decide, county court docket decide, circuit court docket decide, and state supreme court docket justice.
Reuben’s distinguished work as an lawyer, and later as a decide, earned him recognition inside and out of doors of the courtroom. All through his profession, he’s been extremely wanted to deal with a number of the state’s most urgent points surrounding variety. He labored for years to construct a world-class civil rights museum in Mississippi. When it opened, he was chosen to guide the museum as its chairman. He additionally heads the state’s Division of Archives and Historical past and chaired the fee tasked with discovering a brand new design for the state’s flag after the Accomplice battle flag image was faraway from it. Reuben has led the cost not solely to protect Mississippi’s historical past, however to create a brighter future for the state by championing causes he’s obsessed with and placing in “the time and power to make it occur.”
Bringing In Numerous Views to Form Profitable Companies
When Reuben left the bench 30 years in the past, he selected to proceed his profession at Phelps. He met with then-Managing Companion Harry Redmon and located that Harry’s imaginative and prescient for the agency matched Reuben’s imaginative and prescient for the longer term. Phelps turned a spot he felt supported in his authorized follow, and as Reuben places it, dedication to variety “all comes from the management.” This management set the tone for a booming litigation follow at a time when Jackson, Mississippi, was a well-liked jurisdiction for mass tort litigation. Reuben noticed the significance of hiring attorneys from various backgrounds that mirrored the inhabitants of the neighborhood the place they practiced. Reuben efficiently shifted from a profession within the public sector to grow to be one of the crucial well-known protection attorneys in Mississippi. His expertise for bringing all views to the desk caught the eye of Fortune 500 firms searching for contemporary views on their board of administrators.
Reuben has served on the board of administrators for AT&T, The Kroger Co., MINACT Inc., Trustmark Nationwide Financial institution, Mississippi Chemical, Burlington Sources, and BellSouth. He served as lead director of the board for 3 of those organizations and acknowledged that the necessity for variety isn’t restricted to the authorized career. “Range interprets to the underside line,” Reuben says. “Corporations which are profitable are profitable of their variety applications, too.” He’s seen this in motion, each on the firms he helped to guide and at Phelps.
Guiding the Subsequent Era of Attorneys
When requested about the important thing to his success, Reuben humbly states that folks thought extremely sufficient of him to ask him to get entangled. His recommendation for younger attorneys is straightforward:
- When you’re concerned about working at a agency, take a look at their management and ensure their imaginative and prescient aligns with yours. What do they worth? What’s the agency’s course? What sort of mentors may you discover if you happen to take a place there?
- Become involved in causes which are essential to you. Encompass your self with mentors and friends who’re additionally working towards change and keep open to alternatives to tackle management roles locally.