"The Philadelphia Bar Association AN ACTION PLAN FOR DIVERSITY"
The Philadelphia Bar Association: AN ACTION PLAN FOR DIVERSITY INTRODUCTION On September 22, 2009, Chancellor Sayde J. Ladov convened a special two-hour summit entitled “Our Dialogue on Diversity.” As the Philadelphia Bar Association’s first such summit, this event was far more than a traditional “talking heads” panel. The 12 distinguished panelists discussed not only their own experiences, but also what they believed the future of diversity should be and how best to achieve it. Chancellor Ladov asked that their stories and recommendations be formulated into an action plan for the future: a plan geared to today’s realities that recognizes, maintains and continues to explore the legal community’s commitment to diversity. What emerged over the course of two hours is, in fact, a multi-faceted approach to continuing both the Association’s and individual members’ work to achieve diversity within our legal community. As with any approach, not all things are meant to work for all people. However, certain themes consistently appeared. Many were articulated with such poignancy and focus that there is no way to improve on what was actually said. To listen to a podcast of the summit, go to http://www.philadelphiabar.org/page/ Podcast. DEFINITION OF DIVERSITY • “‘Justice, Justice Shall Ye Pursue.’It is not necessary to complete the diversity that Justice requires, but we must be a part of the ongoing process to address it.” (The Honorable Norma Shapiro). • “A seat at the table — not the kid’s table and not an invisible seat.” (Sayde Ladov) • “Diversity as a goal is not just diversity that exists at the start of a generation’s career, but also diversity that is maintained and that allows career advancement within a law firm for those who want it…Choose your career path defined by what your goals are. Everybody must have equal opportunity and a level playing field so that they are able to set their own goals whatever they may be. Women and men must both be viewed as having power.” (Roberta Liebenberg) • “Diversity is power. I can make a mistake and stay. Having power is the opportunity to learn from failure, the opportunity to have future success. Being a lawyer is a career, not a job, and the practice of law includes the opportunity to progress. Such power allows true success, which is surviving your mistakes to live another day.” (Tom Fitzgerald). • “For the LGBT Community, diversity is the ability to be increasingly open about who you are from the start. Many changes have been made. However, we must all keep a watchful eye to make sure that we don’t fall backwards.” (Lynn Zeitlin) • “Diversity is not equality. Diversity is the opportunity to succeed in whatever capacity an attorney chooses. In government service, success is easier to achieve than in the private sector, because my colleagues look like me, and we are serving the public at large. We all feel an obligation to protect our public community. We succeed in choosing to do this. For the private sector, diversity means loosening up the pool of candidates for jobs. Don’t limit it to the top 5% of Ivy League graduating classes. There is a huge number of attorneys who as candidates will be better than that 5%. Open up the pool and look past the grades. Look at the public service sector as a place to recruit incredibly fine attorneys.” (Brandi Bryce) • “Diversity ebbs and flows. Push hard so that diversity is no longer an initiative but a way of life instinctively, just like the green initiative has become.” (Richard Negrin) • “Diversity is part of life, and life is a process. You learn every day, law, life, everything else.” (John Encarnacion)“Diversity does not mean differences. Some people like vanilla ice cream, others like chocolate. These differences do not have the same history of inequality of opportunity. It is those differences with a history of inequality of opportunity that constitute diversity. “ (Jamie Ray-Leonetti) DIVERSITY AND SUCCESS The goal of diversity and inclusion is that each individual have the same chance and opportunity for success no matter how that individual defines it. This might be consistent over a career, or it might change several times during a person’s professional lifetime. Some descriptions of success are: • “Have the respect of and respect for your colleagues. Effect change and help people. Be satisfied with your work, both intellectually and as a human being. Have fun. If you want to achieve this within the structure of what is considered the traditional large firm environment, so be it. But remember to make the focus of your professional life the core values of the legal profession.” (Andrew Chirls). • “Focus not on success, but rather, on satisfaction as a lawyer. That is what is important. There must be equality of opportunity for this to happen.” (The Honorable Norma Shapiro) • “Work success is the opportunity to control your own professional destiny.” (Nadeem Bezar) MOVING FORWARD -- HOW TO CONTINUE WORKING TOWARDS DIVERSITY “The future is what we want it to be. Don’t wait for opportunity — go and grab it. Ask for it — repeatedly. Force yourself into an uncomfortable position. Always move forward, take the risk. You must if you want to succeed. Ask for help from friends or mentors, a judge, a businessperson, someone with whom you can have a beneficial relationship. That is how the world is made.” (Heather Holloway) Collectively as a Bar Association “Keep the issue on the table. Don’t let it go away. Keep banging away at it. We may often be preaching to the choir, but in many places, inequality of opportunity for diverse people is part of the DNA of the organization. The church in which the choir sits needs to have new windows and new walls.” (Vernon Francis) • The Statement of Diversity Goals adopted by the Board of Governors in 2008 is a start, but it is not enough. • The Board must continue to actively support legislation at all levels that impacts diversity in a positive way. There is truth that Philadelphia is a small bastion of equality in a Commonwealth otherwise plagued with inequality of opportunity. • Join Committees and Sections that will go to the Board of Governors with resolutions and recommendations that positively impact diversity issues. • Work towards this Bar Association becoming a leader across the state in advocating for diversity, and help to bring other Associations within the state along. • The level of involvement in the legal community, through this and other Bar Associations, is key to developing and maintaining your independence. It also allows you to give back to your community, which is vital to your development as a human being. Individually: • Show an interest in the lives of other lawyers in the firm. Ask them how their families are, and also show an interest in something they do outside the firm. This allows them to get to know you as a person and not just a diverse attorney. It will result in your getting assignments. • When looking at a law firm and deciding if you wish to pursue working there, be sure to learn about the firm as a whole as well as its recruitment efforts. If the firm has a non-diverse or limited recruitment pattern, then don’t even think about working there. Remember: There are many firms that are not part of the AM LAW 100 at which you can work, make a lot of money, and have a rewarding professional life. Don’t discount other law firms the way you may have been discounted because of paper credentials. Dig a little deeper. See if your own definition of success meshes with the firm’s culture. Go to the firm website, see if there are people of color, do they make partner? How many women are there, do they make partner? Learn who is on the hiring committee and look at the financial background of the firm. Recognize that an artificial credential does not mean that somebody is a good lawyer. There are many attorneys who have not attended the most expensive schools and graduated in the top of the class who are unsurpassed in their areas of expertise and the respect they have from their colleagues. • Look at who is on the firm’s hiring and management committee. Ask about the firm’s method of evaluating its lawyers. Is there a system of evaluation with enough attorneys so that there are checks and balances to overcome both personal animosities and either expressed or sub rosa prejudices? Do only one or two senior attorneys make all the decisions about compensation and promotion, or is there a system in place where everybody has a chance to succeed? Seek out a mentor within the firm. It doesn’t have to be a minority. It should be somebody who will assure that you get good assignments and who treats you like a member of their legal team and not just a briefcase carrier when you go with them to see a client. This is not easy, and it will be an uphill battle. However, do everything you can to make that happen. Go out and get it — do not wait for it to come to you. • If you find yourself working at a firm or a company where you are not comfortable, stay and fight, or move on to another place where you are comfortable. Neither option is right or wrong. They are just that — options. For Those With Power Who Have Achieved Success: • Remember and teach others who do not know: Since 2007, the number of women entering law school has dropped 15%. Further, the number of women equity partners has been static at 16% for the past 20 years. 86% of women of color leave law firms after 7 years. Law firm parity between men and women will only be complete in the year 2088. Understand that one reason is because retention is a problem. The goal is not just to hire diverse individuals. It is to help maintain them, support them, allow them to learn and to achieve, so that they advance in the firm and stay. • Make sure that you recognize the importance of the “pipeline.” Make sure that your firm’s or company’s succession planning includes the opportunity for all attorneys to work with all clients. Make sure there are incentives for retiring attorneys to work and meet with diverse members of the firm so that clients stay with the firm, and that the diverse attorney has clients that provide him or her with actual power in the future. This will allow future generations of lawyers who are not yet even in law school to have the equality of opportunity and the desire to remain attorneys that is required not only for personal success, but for the success of our profession as a whole. • Understand the business imperative for diversity. Once you understand it, make sure others in power understand it as well. • Make opportunity for diversity a part of everyday life. Things are better than they used to be, but at higher levels, they are not anywhere near where they should be. • When able: INSIST ON IT. Assert the power that you have. • Whether Black, White, Asian, male, female, LGBT, healthy or challenged, if that attorney is able to be a whole person in the workplace and not worry about their color, or concealing who they are or what their vulnerabilities might be, that individual can approach his or her work as a whole person who, by definition, will be able to focus more energy and more creativity on their lawyering, which benefits the client, the employer and the lawyer. For Those Who have Achieved Their Success: • Equality of opportunity is a moral imperative. • If you have succeeded, recognize your personal obligation to help the person who is not getting the equality of opportunity that you had, or is fighting the inequality of opportunity that you overcame. It is a personal, professional and societal obligation. It is also the key to the future. • Specifically, if you are in a setting where you can get quality assignments given to that person, make sure that happens. Talk to your colleagues about the quality of the work that person does and recommend that they give that person assignments that will help their path in the firm. • Remember that mentoring is truly a lifetime commitment. In return, the person who has been mentored by you will understand their obligation to mentor somebody in the pipeline who will be working after they are no longer there. FOR THE FUTURE — FOR EVERYONE • The equality of opportunity, mandated by the diversity within our profession and society, is both a moral and business issue. • It is essential to have diversity in many different ways. Making sure there is a potential leadership pool in every area of law practice is essential to the continued viability of law practice. • While some progress has been made at the lower levels within the legal profession, upper echelon positions of power and influence show that diversity has stagnated. • The number of women applying to law school is dropping. • Diversity must be thought of as a part of everyday life. Change must come not from just the bottom up, but also from the top down. • What we are trying to achieve is the growth of inclusion in all aspects of our society and profession. Whatever diverse population into which a person fits, the issue of inclusion is overreaching for all diverse populations, and that must be the goal that is sought for, pushed for and argued for. And at all times we must remember that actions not only speak louder than words, but also force change. • Complete diversity will have been achieved when it is no longer an issue because it is a natural part of all of our lives in every aspect of our lives. • The time for inclusion is not the future – the time for inclusion is now. IN ADDITION Following is a list of summit attendees. See who you know on the list and talk to them. Share strategies that have worked for you. See who needs help that you can provide. Do your part. Diversity Summit Attendees NAME COMPANY Rodelyn Alcidonis Community Legal Services Karen S. Ali Pepper Hamilton LLP Hon. Jacqueline F. Allen Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division Barbara L. Ashcroft Temple University Beasley School of Law Nolan N. Atkinson, Jr. Duane Morris LLP Mitchell L. Bach Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC Ellen D. Bailey Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC Danielle Banks Stradley Ronon Natalie Bej The Vanguard Group Barbara E. Bell Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP Renee Bergmann Thorp Reed & Armstrong, LLP Nadeem A. Bezar Kolsby Gordon Robin Shore & Bezar Arthur J. Bousel Lawyer 2 Lawyer Career Management DaLesia Boyd Woodcock Washburn Peter J. Boyer McCarter & English, LLP Elisa N. Bramble Brandi J. Brice City of Philadelphia Law Department Doris DelTosto Brogan Villanova School of Law Butler Buchanan Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin Hope Caldwell City of Philadelphia Law Department Reuben S. Canada Woodcock Washburn Chad A. Carder Barrack, Rodos & Bacine David Caroline C/o Lynn A. Marks Leslie S. Carter Wilmington Trust of Pa. Liz M. Chacko Friends of Farmworkers Amara S. Chaudhry Equality Advocates Pennsylvania Andrew A. Chirls Haines & Associates Steven L. Chung LundyLaw Daniel Clifford Weber Gallagher Simpson Stapleton Fires & Newby LLP Jennifer S. Coatsworth Margolis Edelstein Dana D’Agostino Equality Advocates PA Albert S. Dandridge, III Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP Gregory Blechman David Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin Crystal D. Deazle Univ Of PENN Law School LaWanda F. Dyson Lavin, O’Neil, Ricci, Cedrone & DiSipio Stewart J. Eisenberg Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C. John Encarnacion White and Williams LLP Phyllis H. Epstein Epstein, Shapiro & Epstein P.C. Virginia G. Essandoh Ballard Spahr LLP Robyn Y. Ettricks Vanguard Group Lawrence S. Felzer SeniorLaw Center Marisol Ferguson Feldman, Shepherd, Wohlgelernter, Tanner and Weinstock Adiah Ferron Ballard Spahr LLP Arlene Rivera Finkelstein University of Pennsylvania Law School Thomas O. Fitzpatrick Fitzpatrick & Long, LLC Abbe F. Fletman Flaster Greenberg Wanda E. Flowers Sunoco, Inc. Lanertia Foster Vernon L. Francis Dechert LLP Rudolph Garcia Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC Carmela M. Ginsberg Bennett, Bricklin & Saltzburg, LLP David B. Glancey University of Pennsylvania Maria V. Go MD Veritas LLC Lisa Goldstein Special Counsel Sammetria Goodson Adria Greene Nigel Greene Rawle & Henderson LLP Sidney M. Grobman Law Office of Sidney M. Grobman Neil K. Haimm Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP Daniel P. Hartstein Law Offices of Daniel P. Hartstein, LLC E. Carolyn Hochstader E. Carolyn Hochstader Dicker, LLC Wendell F. Holland PA Public Utility Commission Heather J. Holloway Thorp, Reed & Armstrong Malika Holmes First Judicial District; Chambers of Hon. Ann M. Butchart Robin C.V. Holts Sydney T. Howe-Barksdale Widener University School of Law Karen M. Ibach Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads Jane B. Jacobs Community College of Philadelphia Ronnie L. Jacobs C/O Nicole White Roberta L. Jacobs-Meadway Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC Ken L. Johnson GlaxoSmithKline Melissa Johnson Girl Scouts of Eastern PA Tanya M. Johnson Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads Nikki Johnson-Huston City of Philadelphia Law Department Jobina Jones-McDonnell Reed Smith LLP Lois Kimbol Hon. Marlene F. Lachman Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division Sayde J. Ladov Offit Kurman LLP Sharon Larmore Marisa H. Lattimore Tsiwen M. Law Law & Zaslow, LLC Rochelle D. Laws Fox Rothschild LLP Shawane L. Lee Weber Gallagher Simpson Stapleton Fires & Newby, LLP Robert T. Lehman Archer & Greiner, P.C. William J. Leonard Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel, LLP Nicholas J. LePore, III Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis,LLP Roberta D. Liebenberg Fine Kaplan & Black Joyce B. Link Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads Rosemary J. Loverdi Dilworth Paxson LLP Kassem Lucas Pepper Hamilton, LLP Romola O. Lucas Jennifer Magness Post & Schell, P. C. Sarah Maguire Equality Advocates PA Sabrina Sacks Mann Sacks Legal Search Lynn A. Marks Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts Allan K. Marshall Marcia Martinez-Helfman Zia Business Partners, Inc. Saleem M. Mawji Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads Amy McHale Maria H. Mendes Hartstein Law Offices of Daniel P. Hartstein, LLC Laura J. Merianos Vanguard Michele Nicole Miller Lavin, O’Neil, Ricci, Cedrone & DiSipio LaRasz A. Moody Villanova University School of Law Fenita L. Moore Dilworth Paxson LLP Jennifer Moore Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads Margaret Morris Reger Rizzo & Darnall LLP Kenneth A. Murphy Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP Richard Negrin ARAMARK Elizabeth Nicolas Marissa M. O’Connell City of Philadelphia Law Department Julianne Oothoudt Julie B. Palley Pennsylvania Securities Commission Joo Y. Park High Swartz LLP Sunah Park Tiffany Partlowe Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law Rasheedah Phillips Community Legal Services of Philadelphia Fabiana Pierre-Louis Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads May Mon Post The Post Law Firm David E. Prewitt Bennett, Bricklin & Saltzburg, LLP Amber M. Racine Anapol, Schwartz, Weiss, Cohan, Feldman & Smalley, P.C. G. Bradley Rainer Reger Rizzo & Darnall LLP Jamie C. Ray Center for Disability Law Policy Louis J. Rizzo Reger Rizzo & Darnall LLP Karen L. Roberts Flaster/Greenberg PC Jennifer Lynn Robinson Horstmann, Geller, Wiley, Petro & Robinson Walter E. Robinson Allstate Insurance Company Martha C. Romney Jefferson School of Population Health Debra S. Rosen Archer & Greiner, P.C. Cindy Rosenthal Philadelphia Legal Assistance Burt M. Rublin Ballard Spahr, LLP Kimberly M. Ruch-Alegant Alegant Law, P.C. LeaNora Ruffin Widener University School of Law Mary Russell Fine, Kaplan & Black, R.P.C. John E. Savoth Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett and Bendesky Mary Gay Scanlon Ballard Spahr, LLP Rebecca H. Schatschneider James E. Beasley School of Law at Temple University Howard D. Scher Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC Daniel Segal Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin Colleen F. Shanahan Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin Hon. Norma L. Shapiro United States District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania Noma Shaw Marta Sierra-Epperson Law Offices of Stephen P. Ahem Ira Silverstein Thorp Reed & Armstrong Bernard W. Smalley Anapol, Schwartz, Weiss, Cohan, Feldman & Smalley, P.C. Michelle L. Smith PA Department of Welfare, Office of General Counsel Peter R. Spirgel Flaster Greenberg Jessica J. Suh Smith Barney Lilton R. Taliaferro AmeriHealth Daniel J. Tann Law Offices of Daniel J. Tann Lowell Thomas Office of Policy and Planning Nakia P. Thomas Tamika N. Thornton Wealth Tax Advisory Services Marvin Travick Peirce College Stephanie A. Tryce City of Philadelphia Law Department Stella M. Tsai Archer & Greiner, P.C. Tara H. Wallace Thorp Reed & Armstrong, LLP LaVon D. Wells Milligan & Company, LLC Nicole H. White Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP Susan L. White Letterman White Consulting Serena Williams Rhonda Hill Wilson Law Offices of Rhonda H. Wilson Patricia Woodson Pepper Hamilton LLP Lynn G. Zeitlin Equality Advocates Pennsylvania