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Christopher Fowlkes

2019 Diversity & Inclusion: Christopher Fowlkes

Growing up in Milwaukee, Christopher Fowlkes was only 5 when he formed the ambition to become an attorney. His business-owner father was the client of an African American attorney who had graduated near the top of his Harvard Law School class. “He had opportunities to go to big Wall Street fi rms, but chose to open his own shop in Milwaukee and be- came very successful helping small business people like my father.”

Fowlkes came to the University of Minnesota on a football scholarship and graduated from the U of M law school in 1998 to achieve his dream.

Colleagues say he has become a major force in advocating for diversity, reaching out to traditionally disadvantaged groups to help others follow in his path. Fowlkes has spearheaded a variety of programs and other events with the objective of increasing the number of deserving, diverse individuals — especially women and minority candidates — at Twin Cities law firms. He’s also active in recruiting and attracting diverse talent to the Twin Cities.

Fowlkes, who became a hiring partner at Barnes in 2016, is planning to expand the firm’s efforts to recruit diverse talent for each of the firm’s 14 offices nationwide.

He led the firm’s participation in the Minnesota Minority Recruitment Conference, a diversity initiative which brings in minority students from across the U.S. to interview and get hired at Minnesota firms and corporations.

“Everything is intentional,” Fowlkes said. “You have to be committed to this and persevere. It takes work and effort to make sure the people who are responsible for diversity at each local law school know who we are and that we have a presence on campus.”

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