Former Dow Corning legal chief Cornell Boggs will be joining Quarles & Brady as a senior strategic advisor, where he is set to play an integral role in leading the firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts.
Boggs will help form diverse teams of lawyers to take on strategic projects for the firm’s clients. His goal after he begins work in the firm’s Chicago office Aug. 3 will be to help attorneys from historically underrepresented groups get a chance to work on important legal matters that will help build their careers.
“They can build a relationship with a company that lasts over a sustainable period of time,” said Boggs. “So their voice in the law firm becomes far more visible.”
Corporate legal departments have long been pushing law firms to strengthen their diversity measures, with some going so far as to withhold fees from firms that don’t meet certain goals. Boggs’ new position at Quarles & Brady is an effort to take that in-house perspective directly into a law firm as he’s a veteran of several legal departments.
Boggs, who will also be of counsel at Quarles & Brady, was most recently a senior advisor at boutique recruitment firm Baker Gilmore, where he offered executive coaching and mentoring services to general counsel and chief compliance officers.
Before that, he served as general counsel of Toys “R” Us Inc. and Dow Corning and as chief responsibility and ethics officer for MillerCoors. Boggs has also worked in the legal departments of Tyco Plastics and Adhesives, Intel Corp, Anheuser-Busch, and Monsanto Company. He also sits on the board of directors for Thrivent Financial, where he chairs the governance committee.
In his decades of in-house work, Boggs said he saw far too many lawyers from marginalized groups quit the law altogether after not being given a chance to work on strategic projects.
He said he chose Quarles & Brady for this new role seemingly the first of its kind, because of their “history of inclusive leadership.”
“When I was an in-house counsel, they were a firm I turned to,” he said.
Quarles & Brady has nearly 500 lawyers in 10 offices across the U.S.