Congratulations to Wittliff | Cutter managing partner María Amelia Calaf (aka MAC) on her recognition by Texas Lawyer for championing diversity within the legal community.
Honored in the publication’s annual “Texas Legal Awards” issue, she is one of 10 attorneys throughout the state who have been selected as “Diversity and Inclusion Champions” for their work in promoting inclusive practices and supporting diverse attorneys.
Her nominator, Wittliff | Cutter partner Leah Bhimani Buratti, describes MAC as someone who “consistently makes time for women who reach out to her for guidance about their careers, their challenges, and everything else.”
“I was one such lawyer,” continues Leah, “and even though she barely knew me at the time, she took time to have a thoughtful conversation with me about my career. Years later, I joined her at Wittliff | Cutter.”
MAC’s mentorship work extends beyond one-on-one guidance. Among her many initiatives, she recently helped found an Austin “Cafecito,” a local chapter of a networking group for Latina lawyers and law students. In addition, she is a board member of Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association (MAMAs) Austin, was a steering committee member of the Texas Minority Counsel Program for several years, and has mentored young female attorneys through the Travis County Women’s Lawyers Association. She also supports Minority Women Pursuing Law, a UT Austin undergraduate pre-law organization, from which the firm hired its current intern, Nayeli Lara.
Ultimately, however, MAC believes that effective diversity and inclusion does not need to be overly complicated.
“My personal experience is that the most meaningful investment in DEI is relatively basic: mentoring,” she told Texas Lawyer. “Every firm, of any size, has the ability to mentor diverse young lawyers and law students. And any lawyer, regardless of race, gender or ethnicity can mentor a diverse lawyer or law student.”
These relationships, she adds, are key to opening doors and creating opportunities for Latinas, which historically make up less than 2 percent of the profession.