Our Diversity Mission Statement:
The Firm recognizes that diversity is central to its success. A diverse work force is not only the right thing to do, but is also absolutely essential to our continued ability to provide the highest quality of legal services to our clients. Thus, we believe that having employees of varied ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, socioeconomic level, and abilities makes our firm stronger, both at the individual level and as a community. As a result, a fundamental priority of the Firm is to recruit, retain, and promote attorneys, professionals, and staff members of diverse backgrounds.
Methods for Maintaining and Furthering Diversity:
We believe the best way to maintain and foster diversity is to recruit, retain, and promote diverse talent. To help ensure that we do so, we have implemented various internal programs and have partnered with outside organizations to promote diversity related goals.
Firm Leadership and Diversity
Through direct coordination with the Firm’s Executive Committee, our diversity efforts are maintained and evaluated by an equity partner. The responsible equity partner reports directly to the firm’s Executive Committee on no less than a quarterly basis regarding the effectiveness of the program and to offer suggestions to improve the Firm’s diversity programs. Our experience has shown having one partner in charge of our Diversity initiatives allows the Firm to move quickly on issues, be proactive, and better meet the needs of its professionals.
The Firm’s diversity initiative includes two affinity groups – the Diverse Attorneys Group and the Womens Group. Our hope is that, through these groups, our attorneys find any support they might need and concerns germane to members of these affinity groups can be raised and addressed.
The Diverse Attorneys Group has quarterly meetings. All attorneys interested in the Firm’s diversity initiative are invited to participate in these meetings and discuss diversity related topics and/or listen to guest speakers discussing same. The supervising partner for the diversity initiative also meets on a quarterly basis with associates in the firm interested in the diversity initiative to discuss concerns, issues, or questions.
The Womens Group meets quarterly to discuss issues and concerns attendant to being a female attorney in the current legal marketplace. Topics addressed in the past include business development techniques for women and work-life balance. In addition, the Womens Group has co-sponsored a variety of women’s business networking events.
The Firm has a mentoring program that is designed to provide individual guidance to all associates. In addition to reporting to a supervising attorney, each new associate is assigned a partner who serves in the role of as a mentor. In order to foster communication and bolster the mentor-mentee relationship, the individual partner serving as a mentor for an associate is not in the associate’s reporting chain for billable work at the Firm. We have found that the structure of our mentoring program provides significant cross-mentoring for all of our professionals throughout the firm as people of various backgrounds learn more about each other.
Associate Liaison Committee
In order to foster a dialogue between the partnership and associates, the Firm created the Associate Liaison Committee. The Committee, comprised of five associates elected by their peers, presents questions and issues to a partner assigned to work with the Committee. The partner then works with the Committee to resolve the various matters.
Involvement with Other Groups
The Firm participates in the Cook County Bar Association’s Minority Students Job Fair annually. In addition, we have sponsored a wide-ranging series of different diversity related events or programs in the past. By way of example, the Firm has sponsored the Chicago Bar Association’s Breaking Barriers-Building Bridges seminar, programs planned by the Defense Research Institute and the Cook County Bar Association, and a Diversity in the Law Program for college students considering a career in law. The Firm is also a member law firm of the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms and the California Minority Counsel Program and a corporate sponsor of the National Association of Women Business Owners.
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