Kimberly Richardson

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Esq.Attorney • Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt & Howlett L.L.P. • Grand Rapids, Mich. • Age: 30

Since passage in November 2006 of Proposal 2, a state constitutional amendment to prohibit certain types of affirmative action in state entities in the state of Michigan, Kimberly Richardson, Esq., has taken an active role in helping public entities throughout the state continue to achieve their diversity initiatives, including organizing a breakfast series for women and minority contractors to discuss issues with leading construction companies about winning bids for public contracting opportunities.

Richardson graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and recently received a law degree from Indiana University’s School of Law. In her second year at law school, she won the school’s Moot Court Competition, and in her third year was inducted into the Order of Barristers, a national honor society for courtroom advocacy. Soon after graduating, she secured a position as an attorney in the Labor & Employment Practice Group at Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt & Howlett L.L.P., a leading firm in Michigan and the Midwest.

Richardson has used her experiences as a youth in Flint, Mich., to fuel her success. “I plan on using all of my opportunities to go well beyond what’s expected of me,” she states. “I don’t limit myself to what I see before me; I go by what I know is possible.” Richardson holds fast to her favorite motivational quote from Charles Hamilton Houston, the Black lawyer known as “The man who killed Jim Crow”: “A lawyer’s either a social engineer or he is a parasite on society.”

Richardson is no parasite. She sits on the West Michigan advisory board of the United Negro College Fund, the board of directors of West Michigan Film Video Alliance, and on the Grand Rapids Bar Association Diversity Committee and is a founder of the Black Professionals and Executives Network. She plans to teach labor relations history as it relates to immigrants and African-Americans.

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