Norris Cunningham entered the legal profession a bit more than a decade after Mills did, following a stint in Air Force. He was offered a position at Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman P.C. in 1995 pending his graduation in 1996, and until late June, it was the only firm where he’d worked.
As the first African-American attorney at Hall Render, Cunningham said the firm was intent on helping him succeed, and he credits his time in the service with providing him a level of maturity he believes helped his prospects. But by being first, he also shouldered an unspoken burden.
“I don’t think there are any African-Americans in any position who haven’t felt the pressure of doing well because of the pressure of how it might look if you don’t succeed,” he said. “There’s constant pressure you deal with as a minority attorney, or a minority in any profession where you’re the only one, or the first one.”
Now, Cunningham is a name partner at Katz Korin Cunningham, after the health litigation practice he leads migrated from Hall Render last month.
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