Clarence Wilbon has been elected Chair of the Adams and Reese Executive Committee, effective January 1, 2023. Wilbon will become the first African American in the law firm's 71-year history to be elected to chair its Executive Committee. He is a Litigation Partner, resident in the Memphis office. Wilbon has practiced at Adams and Reese since 2014 and was elected to the EC in 2021.
"It is an honor to chair the Executive Committee of a law firm that has such a storied tradition of providing high-quality legal service, establishing long-term partnerships with leading businesses, trade organizations, and connecting to all of our communities through the volunteer service that we have become known for," said Wilbon. "I understand the significance of becoming the first African American to serve as EC Chair, but I also want to recognize the multiple generations of diverse leaders at Adams and Reese who have played significant, impactful roles in moving our firm forward. I am excited to continue to work with firm management, leadership, fellow partners, attorneys, administrators, and staff, as we enter 2023."
The Executive Committee consists of six partners, elected by fellow partners to serve a three-year term. Adams and Reese has close to 300 attorneys and advisors located in 21 offices across 10 states throughout the Southern United States and Washington, D.C.
"This is an easy transition to Clarence, who will do an outstanding job leading our Executive Committee," said B. Jeffrey Brooks, who is finishing his fifth term as EC Chairman. "Through working with him on the EC, I have seen Clarence lead and champion projects that have strengthened Adams and Reese. He exemplifies our firm's core values and advances our culture that values collaboration of professionals from all backgrounds to enhance the legal counsel we provide."
Wilbon has enjoyed a 23-year practice advising clients throughout the Southeast in litigation matters. He represents companies concerning risk management, product liability, contract disputes, employment, restrictive covenants, and business disputes. He litigates in state and federal courts, in bench and jury trials, and in appellate actions before state courts in Tennessee and Kentucky and the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal. Wilbon also works closely with Adams and Reese's newly launched HBCU/Minority Serving Institutions practice team.
Wilbon is a Litigation Counsel of America Senior Fellow and among Best Lawyers in Commercial Litigation, Banking and Finance. In the community, he graduated from the Tennessee Bar Association Law Leadership Class and Memphis Bar Association Leadership Forum.
"This is a historic and defining milestone for our law firm," said Adams and Reese Managing Partner Gif Thornton. "Clarence has built a successful litigation practice representing clients all over the Southeast. He has established himself as a key leader in the firm. He brings excellence to everything he touches. Every room gets better when he walks in. He mentors our younger attorneys, and dedicates himself to fulfilling our vision and executing our strategy."
As Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, Wilbon led the charge for Adams and Reese to achieve Mansfield Rule 5.0 Certification, a national standard by Diversity Lab recognizing law firms that demonstrate commitment to DEI and make progress in diversifying leadership. Wilbon oversees mentorship programs such as Adams and Reese's ARROW (Advancement, Recruitment, and Retention of Women), AdvanceLaw Diversity Mentorship, and DAAP (Diverse Attorney Advancement and Promotion). He has installed programs that support law students and younger students to consider law careers, such as the Adams and Reese 1L Minority Fellowship, National Association for Law Placement/Street Law Legal Diversity Pipeline, ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship, and Memphis Bar Association Summer Law Internship.