Strategic Planning for Diversity in Law Firms by yrr14496


									                                                                                             Program Agenda


                                                                                6600 Sears Tower
                                                                                Chicago, IL 60606
                                                                                   (312) 258-5500

                       Strategic Planning for Diversity in Law Firms

                                                                             Marci A. Eisenstein
I.     Begin at the top

       A.     Top Level Commitment

              •      Demonstrate that the firm’s leadership is not only committed to diversity,
                     but is spearheading the effort
              •      Communicate from the top down that diversity is a vital responsibility of
                     firm management, practice group leadership, and individual lawyers
       B.     Client Demand for Diversity

              •      Communicate that widespread client expectations have made the business
                     case for diversity
              •      Inclusion provides better solutions through diverse thinking, and can
                     contribute to improved team work and problem solving
              •      Emphasize that failure to diversify not only puts current client
                     relationships at risk, but results in lost opportunities for new business
II.    Establish a Diversity Committee

       A.     Members

              •      Secure active participation by firm leaders, partners, and associates
       B.     Appoint a Chairperson to move the effort forward

       C.     Conduct regular meetings

III.   Develop a Diversity Mission Statement

       A.     Should succinctly reflect the firm’s goals and objectives

       B.     Should provide framework for developing initiatives and tactics
      C.    Example:

            The Mission of Schiff Hardin’s Diversity Committee is:

                   To enhance the Firm’s ability to recruit, hire, develop,
                   retain and promote a diverse professional workforce on
                   the basis of demonstrated merit and performance by
                   continuing the development of an inclusive culture that
                   promotes the likelihood of success for all lawyers at the

IV.   Establish Goals and Action Items

      A.    Communication of Commitment to Diversity

            1.     Provide regular updates on diversity efforts at partners’ meetings,
                   associates’ meetings and all-lawyer/all-personnel firm meetings

            2.     Establish liaisons between Diversity Committee and other firm
                   committees responsible for firm management, professional personnel, and
                   recruiting (law school and lateral)

            3.     Develop comprehensive marketing plan including diversity brochures and

            4.     Actively support firm lawyers’ active participation in minority bar
                   association activities, affinity groups and community outreach programs

      B.    Recruiting

            1.     Law School Recruitment

                   Develop strategies for enhancing the firm’s effectiveness at recruiting
                   women and diverse lawyers, including

                   •      Actively participating in minority job fairs
                   •      Expanding number and locations of law schools targeted for
                   •      Offering scholarships to minority students
                   •      Providing support and mentoring to minority law student
                          associations and possibly undergraduate minority student

           2.     Lateral Recruitment

                  •         Identify strategic areas for growth and work to hire diverse
                            partners and associates in strategic growth efforts
     C.    Training

           1.     Offer firm-wide diversity training by highly credentialed outside

           2.     Offer diversity training to lawyers primarily responsible for law school

     D.    Retention

           1.     Offer formal coaching/mentoring program to associates

           2.     Actively engage associates in work of Diversity Committee and provide
                  personal and financial support to their diversity initiatives

           3.     Make diversity a practice group responsibility, including responsibility for
                  promoting and maintaining even-handed opportunities for work and access
                  to client relationships

     E.    Accountability

           Hold the Diversity Committee, practice groups and individual lawyers each
           accountable for improving the firm’s diversity and building diverse work teams

           •      Including planning for diversity in practice group and individual business
           •      Assessing and measuring performance against goals
     F.    Diversity Budgeting

           •      Provide a substantial budget for a range of diversity initiatives, including
                  sponsorship of minority bar association activities and minority affinity
                  groups, mentoring minority law students, minority scholarships and
                  community outreach
     G.    Establish imperative of firm-wide participation in diversity initiatives

V.   Identify Diversity Champions

     A.    Appoint champions at all levels of the organization

     B.    Train them

       C.     Use the feedback they obtain from colleagues to refine the overall diversity plan

VI.    Hire Consultants to Help Develop or Execute the Plan

       A.     Interview several potential candidates, in person if possible

       B.     Retain the person best able to communicate within firm culture

VII.   Survey Your People

       Ideally through a consultant, survey your lawyers and other key personnel to establish
       perspectives on diversity, and the effectiveness of diversity strategies and tactics

VIII. Establish Diversity Benchmarks

       A.     Recruiting and Hiring

       B.     Retention

       C.     Performance Standards

IX.    Overcoming Problems and Resistance

       A.     Address impact of departing and/or terminated minority or women lawyers during
              the course of the program

       B.     Develop how to respond when/if the program is not delivering the level of desired

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                                                  I HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR DOSE OF

                                                   LEADERSHIP AND LAW AT THE

                                                  2006 WOMEN IN LAW LEADERSHIP


                                                                             DIANE C. YU

                                                          Immediate Past Chair
                                                       ABA Commission on Women
                                                            In the Profession

                                                                Chief of Staff and
                                                              Deputy to the President
                                                               New York University

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