By Michael Tomberlin
Alabama Power has formed an alliance with the Magic City Bar Association (MCBA) that will diversify the attorney pool that provides legal services for the company while also creating opportunities for internships, continuing legal education credits and social gatherings and networking.
“This is really groundbreaking,” said Sidney Jackson, past president and current board member with the MCBA. “The Magic City Bar has never had a formal partnership with Alabama Power.”
Jackson said combining Alabama Power’s resources with the talents and resources of MCBA will be mutually beneficial while both organizations can also partner to benefit others.
“It’s not just to create business, it’s to give back to the community,” he said. “I think this is going to be great and I look forward to what we can do as the future goes on.”
Tony Smoke, senior vice president of Marketing and Economic Development at Alabama Power, said the company is looking to diversify the pool of attorneys it uses for the company’s business.
“For our company we use legal services for lots of different things,” he said. “This Magic City Bar Association partnership allows us the opportunity to do a very good job of diversifying our spending with those who are out here looking to provide a service.”
Alabama Power and the MCBA kicked off their alliance at an event earlier in May. A panel of attorneys who hold executive positions at Alabama Power talked about how their legal backgrounds have served them in their current roles.
In addition to Smoke, the panel included Myla Calhoun, vice president of Alabama Power’s Birmingham Division; Houston Smith, vice president of Alabama Power’s Governmental Affairs; and Alexia Borden, Alabama Power’s general counsel.
“Magic City Bar Association is a tremendous organization in this city and being able to partner with them and learn from them and them learn from us and being able to broaden our presence within the legal community as a corporate partner is just incredibly important,” Borden said.
Smith said his department relies heavily on the legal profession.
“Our engagement in public policy wouldn’t be effective without the support of our legal team,” he said. “In addition to helping us navigate the matrix of campaign finance and ethics laws, our attorneys help us think through the implications of proposed legislation so we understand how it could affect our customers and our company.”
Calhoun said she is excited about what the partnership will mean for future generations.
“I’ve been involved from a distance with the Magic City Bar Association for a number of years,” she said. “The work that the Magic City Bar Association does with students – both those in law school and those aspiring to be in law school – and those young lawyers just coming out, really to nurture them and make sure they have the resources they need is important. I think it is particularly important in Birmingham.”
Ruby Jackson is an attorney at Alabama Power and an MCBA board member. She was a proponent for the alliance.
“I think this partnership is not only going to benefit lawyers who are practicing and looking for opportunities to partner with the company, but also law students and creating that pipeline of talent in the energy industry of those who have law degrees and legal careers and backgrounds. I do think it’s an area where minorities don’t necessarily focus and so just the exposure to this side of the business I think is fantastic,” she said. “For me it was a no-brainer. We’re right here in the city, we have people who are inside of Alabama Power who are already members of the organization and, so, a true partnership, it was just something easy that we could do and facilitate. I’m just excited about what’s to come from this partnership and all of the opportunities that will follow.”
Sidney Jackson shared in the excitement.
“If you think about it, law is involved in pretty much everything,” he said. “So, when you take these two organizations together, Alabama Power – not only the attorneys of Alabama Power, but everything that Alabama Power is doing – in conjunction with what Magic City Bar Association is doing and all of the attorneys that are a part of that organization, pair the two up and the possibilities are limitless.
This story appeared originally on www.alabamanewscenter.com