Before Damien Atkins was the general counsel of The Hershey Co., before he served as the top lawyer for Panasonic USA and before he was an in-house leader for AOL, he was an associate at a New York law firm where the primary billing partners were white men.

This was the late 1990s. And a general counsel named Vernon Baker of ArvinMeritor Inc. gave Atkins a “huge break,” simply by making a point of saying, “I’d like to see some African Americans on my matters,” Atkins remembers.  

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