Diversity in Action T H E SU C CESS OF OUR VI SI O N Long before diversity became a front-page story in business trade publications, it was a point of focus at Frost Brown Todd. FROST BROWN TODD Diversit y report It’s understandIng you can’t make progress standIng stIll. It’s not a program. It’s a process. It’s not about numbers. It’s about people. It’s not just about celebrating differences. It’s about understanding what we have in common. These are the principles that have led Frost Brown a Director of Diversity position at the firm — making Todd’s approach to diversity to be recognized as one a single person responsible for driving our efforts and of the most progressive in the legal industry. But at to ensure diversity was given the full attention and its core, there is something much more fundamental resources needed. driving the firm’s growth and leadership in this area. We are proud of the important steps we have taken. We have turned our principles into actions. However, we are even prouder of the difference those steps are beginning to make for our firm. How Long before diversity became a front-page story in the importance of the initiative has grown from our business trade publications, it was a point of focus Diversity Committee and the Diversity Director. And at Frost Brown Todd. In 2001, the firm sharpened how Frost Brown Todd associates, senior associates, that focus, with the Diversity Committee encouraging partners, counsel and staff alike have proactively recruitment and retention of minority and female played an increasing role. attorneys. Today — an ever-growing mentoring program, a commitment to work/life balance, a On the following pages, you will find some of the corporate culture of acceptance, and an energized stories that have resulted from these efforts, and the women’s initiative continue that momentum. progress we are making toward our ultimate goal… Perhaps the strongest statement we’ve made about Creating an inclusive environment that is welcoming our commitment to diversity has been in creating to all. Frost Brown Todd recognizes that a diverse organization is not only “right”, but is essential to achieving our business objectives. The firm has made a long term commitment to the hiring and advancement of women and minority attorneys and seeks to hire and retain the best lawyers from all groups represented in society. I feel I have an advocate here to pull me up through the firm. “Competition for the best candidates is more challenging than ever, so we need to identify them earlier in the process. That’s why we participate in the Louisville Bar Association’s Central High School Summer Internship Program, to help kids understand what it takes to get into college and subsequently into law school.” – John CroCkett, Partner Chair, Attorney Development Committee FROST BROWN TODD PROFile: B o n i ta K . B l a c K , E l i o t B a s t i a n , J a s o n W i l l i a m s It’s aBout attractIng and keepIng the Best attorneys. mentoring is key to accomplishing those goals. and Bonita k. Black feels it’s one of the biggest strengths of Frost Brown todd’s diversity initiative. Recruitment and retention of the sharpest attorneys is “I was hired because of my qualifications, not my an industry challenge. Frost Brown Todd’s response race,” says Eliot Bastian, a former medical analyst and to that challenge was, and continues to be, formally case manager for a prominent national insurance firm structured mentoring programs that provide associate before changing to a legal career. “But once I got here, attorneys support and counsel for years to come. the Diversity Program has been a tremendous help to my career. I feel I have an advocate here to pull me up “We are committing substantial financial and human through the firm. Not a week goes by that Kim Amrine, resources to our mentoring, training and development the firm’s Director of Diversity, doesn’t stop by and programs,” states Bonita K. Black, Diversity Committee check on me.” Co-Chair and Training & Development Committee Chair. “Our Executive Committee understands the The firm has also connected Eliot with an internal importance of developing our attorneys and growing career coach who is helping him to expand his the firm. They have demonstrated this by supplying the business plan in a way that builds on his assets and resources needed to assure our attorneys succeed.” helps him progress toward partnership. The resulting growth in the mentoring program can be “This might be two or three years away,” Eliot relates. seen through the eyes of the attorneys it has helped. “But it’s setting a vision for my career so I can grow business for the firm — and for myself.” “The mentoring aspect is probably what I’ve benefitted from most,” states Jason Williams, a senior associate Mentoring programs. Career counseling. Growing at the firm. “It’s given me a chance to develop practice areas. relationships and openly discuss the issues involved Diversity. In action. with being a minority attorney. It’s a very progressive posture for firms in this area.” But all of these efforts and programs would be hollow if we did not have our priorities right. First and foremost, we want to hire the industry’s best and brightest. Bonita K. Black (left) is a partner in Frost Brown Todd and has been practicing law since 1984. Her practice areas include transactional law, telecommunications regulations, and corporate and municipal finance law. Eliot Bastian (center) joined Frost Brown Todd in 2003 as a lateral associate from another local firm. He is in the litigation department and focuses on bankruptcy, health care, and insurance. Jason Williams is a senior associate, and is involved in mergers and acquisitions. Jason was a summer associate with the firm in 2002 and returned as a new associate in 2003. Today I work under a reduced billable hour schedule, putting me under less pressure and — in my opinion — helping me perform better for clients. “Several months ago I was really busy, working on an intense project with three children at home. Two of my colleagues who work with similar clients called me out of the blue and offered whatever help I needed. They kindly said, I needed to ‘get a life.’ I was so impressed not only with their willingness to help but their concern for me.” – Claria ShadwiCk, Partner Lexington Office FROST BROWN TODD PROFile: S u S a n H a l l , M u r r ay G r i e S S , K i M a M r i n e It’s aBout BeIng open to Ideas that help Balance lIFe. “I love my position as a partner and director of diversity because I get to grow and nurture what I already love about Frost Brown todd.” It’s hard to find someone more passionate and balance of work and life outside of work,” offers Murray energized by the culture at Frost Brown Todd than Kim Griess, counsel for the firm. “They were very flexible Amrine. That’s probably why she was named the firm’s and very supportive. Today I work under a reduced first Director of Diversity — a unique position among billable hour schedule, putting me under less pressure U.S. law firms where a minimum of one-third of her and — in my opinion — helping me perform better billable hours’ goal is applied to diversity efforts. for clients.” “It was the diversity and acceptance that brought me In 2006, though, we got a glimpse of Frost Brown here in the first place,” Kim offers. “When I joined I had Todd’s culture, when Kim was diagnosed with a young child and wasn’t your typical 24-year-old right breast cancer. out of law school.” “I had to stop working for six months to have two Today Kim enjoys a unique and rewarding dual role surgeries, go through chemo, and to take care of at Frost Brown Todd, continuing to practice business myself and my family,” relates Kim. “The firm was litigation and advertising law while also helping to fantastic. I got a card everyday for six months. evolve the firm’s diversity initiatives like flex-time and People from the firm took care of my yard. One of the telecommuting. Senior Associate Susan Hall has seen departments I don’t even work in sent me a freezer tremendous benefits from these efforts. filled with frozen meals, then kept it full the whole time I was off. One of the partners even took me to my “I have two small children at home, and now I’m treatments twice a month.” expecting twins,” Susan relates. “The firm has been great to me, reducing my billable hour goal by 15-25% “We came together as family. It was the perfect and letting me work 8:00-3:30. They also helped me demonstration of what the diversity program should move to Lexington so I could be closer to my family.” be about.” But the firm’s flexibility doesn’t only benefit the Naming a Director of Diversity. Finding flexible women attorneys. solutions. Supporting each other in times of need. “I came to Frost Brown Todd looking for a better Diversity. In action. Senior Associate Susan Hall (left) focuses on commercial real estate transactions. Murray Griess (center), counsel for Frost Brown Todd, practices labor and employment law, representing a variety of large clients. Partner Kim Amrine is the firm’s Director of Diversity as well as a litigator, with a focus on complex commercial matters and advertising law. They create a dialogue so attorneys don’t have to worry about unspoken issues. They can simply practice law and know that if they do good work, they can have a good career here. That’s what they’ve done for me. “Many people think of diversity in very narrow terms — black and white — but that ignores the reality that the gay and lesbian population is nearly as large as the African-American population, while the Hispanic population is larger than both. Understandings of diversity are changing to reflect this. What we have done in the area of diversity, especially in conservative Midwestern markets, is remarkable.” – Jack Harrison, Partner Pro Bono coordinator FROST BROWN TODD PROFile: S u S a n W i l l i a m S , B e r n i e m c K ay It’s aBout apprecIatIng people For Who they are. to say Bernie mckay is active in the community would be a huge understatement. currently, he works with equality cincinnati, a non-profit group working for the equal treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons. He’s also vice chairman of the board of directors for so attorneys don’t have to worry about unspoken Caracole, an organization devoted to providing housing issues. We can simply focus our attention on practicing for the homeless who are HIV positive. And he is law and know that if we do good work, we can involved with the Women’s Crisis Center. have a successful career here. That’s what they’ve done for me.” “Sure, it takes a lot of time to work with these organizations,” says Bernie the Attorney, as he is Susan Williams has seen Frost Brown Todd’s approach known around the firm. “But they are made up of good, to diversity from a different side – one that goes quality people. And when good, quality people ask for beyond our relationship with her. help, you have to give it.” “The firm covers my domestic partner under the That’s the same attitude Frost Brown Todd has taken in health benefits plan,” Susan offers. “More importantly, supporting Bernie’s work in the community, becoming the firm makes domestic partners feel included and sponsors of the annual benefit for Equality Cincinnati, comfortable at firm events.” Caracole and the Women’s Crisis Center. Encouraging community outreach. Addressing “Frost Brown Todd is the only law firm to be a Top unspoken issues. Embracing a variety of Level Sponsor for Equality Cincinnati’s and Caracole’s family structures. annual benefit,” Bernie continues. “The firm truly Diversity. In action. puts their money where their mouth is in terms of diversity. And by embracing it, they create a dialogue Partner Susan Williams (left) has been practicing law since 1984 and has tried over 75 jury and bench trials combined. Her practice is dedicated to major commercial and insurance coverage, fraud and bad faith disputes. Bernie McKay is a partner in the firm, as well as vice chair of the Personal Planning and Family Business Department. He practices estate planning, trust and probate law. Policies can be changed overnight — attitudes take time. “We are particularly proud of our Women’s Initiative. It’s one thing to elevate individual women to leadership positions — and we have a good track record in that area — but it’s quite another to create a program that connects all women in the firm to prominent women in the community.” – Dick Erickson, co-managing Partner FROST BROWN TODD PROFile: Alison stemler, JAne sheA It’s aBout connectIng In Ways that strengthen relatIonshIps. “I’ve seen great changes in the opportunities for women and minorities in my career. there used to be more walls and double-standards than there are today.” With that statement, Jane Shea provides insight to “I’m probably too close to it to say for sure, but I would the perspective she brings as co-chair of Frost Brown say it’s benefited us most in recruiting and retention,” Todd’s Women’s Initiative — a program that assists states Alison. “We’ve recruited some wonderful new in the development and mentoring of women lawyers lawyers which I believe have made the firm better as in the firm, and seeks to heighten their visibility in the a whole. When we have a broader array of people for community. Jane and co-chair Alison Stemler, have our clients to work with, it strengthens our relationships helped expand the program, networking opportunities, with them. It broadens our ability to communicate quarterly lunch and marketing events, and even events effectively with them.” that bring the firm’s women lawyers and women Still, with all the growth and success of the Women’s clients together. Initiative, Jane and Alison say there is more to do. “Our predecessors were very energized in this area “Policies can be changed overnight — attitudes take and deserve a great deal of credit for its success,” time,” reveals Jane. “If people are not encouraged to Jane claims. “The program is still evolving and gaining change, they will not. They must be challenged.” momentum. It’s not the only women’s initiative in the market, but is the most prominent among large Mentoring women lawyers in the firm. Heightening law firms.” their visibility in the community. Challenging traditional attitudes. How has the firm benefited from the initiative? Diversity. In action. Alison Stemler (left) is a partner in the firm, concentrating her practice on employee benefits and executive compensation. She is also a resource to a number of practice groups throughout the firm. Counsel Jane Shea works in commercial law, primarily for financial institutions. She also created and chairs Frost Brown Todd’s Privacy Law practice group. It’s about diversity in thought. In experience. And in embracing what makes each of us unique. “Our Diversity Program is still a work in progress, but we’re making good advancements. We have top-down support and bottom-up involvement. Plus inside-out activity through our Women’s Initiative.” – Lori Landrum, Partner Former Co-chair, Women’s initiative FROST BROWN TODD PROFile: Dick Erickson, ED Glasscock It’s not aBout the numBers. “turning a diversity initiative into a head-count is one way to measure progress, but probably not a particularly effective one.” That’s the opinion of Co-managing Partner Dick about communicating. It’s about listening. It’s about Erickson and you’ll find it mirrored by the other talking to people in hallways and raising everyone’s Co-managing Partner Ed Glasscock as well. Theirs is consciousness — from the executive committee to the a somewhat broader view of diversity, and it sets the youngest attorney.” tone for how the program manifests itself throughout “There are some people on the outside who look at it in the firm. terms of how many more diverse lawyers we have now “Diversity extends beyond race, gender and creed,” than last year. But we think going through the process, imparts Ed. “It’s about diversity in thought. In raising consciousness, and making it a better place to experience. And in embracing what makes each of work is what’s important and right.” us unique. At its best, it promotes camaraderie and Can you measure that? makes for a happier, healthier place to work.” “We don’t think so.” From their perspective, getting a firm to embrace diversity doesn’t have to be complex, either. Listening. Communicating. Raising consciousness at all levels. “When you think about it, diversity and inclusion are really about simple things,” Dick reveals. “It’s Diversity. In action. Dick Erickson (left) and Ed Glasscock are co-managing partners for Frost Brown Todd. At Frost Brown Todd, we believe diversity is not a luxury to our clients. It’s a necessity. “We move forward as a law firm when we empower our lawyers and staff to engage one another. We help mentor them to become true business partners by understanding differences, sharing successes and working together to achieve something remarkable.” – Ed Glasscock, co-managing Partner FROST BROWN TODD Diversit y report It’s aBout never BeIng satIsFIed. as you can see, we’ve taken a number of important steps toward having a successful diversity Initiative, and we’re quite proud of the statements our lawyers have made about how it has benefited them and the firm. But we’re far from finished. And, frankly, we never At Frost Brown Todd, we believe diversity is not a will be. luxury for our clients. It’s a necessity. Today’s complex problems need to be approached from varying points As Co-managing Partner Dick Erickson has said of view. And the more diverse views we can bring to on many occasions, this is not a sprint — it’s a the table, the better we believe the insight — and the marathon. It’s going to take time and we will meet solution that comes from it — will be. some obstacles. However, as long as we stay focused on our goal, we know we’ll always be running in the Our clients deserve nothing less. right direction. For more information about our Diversity Program, What is that goal? visit us at www.frostbrowntodd.com. Or contact our Director of Diversity, Kim Amrine, at 513.651.6800. To provide our clients with the best possible And see why we say there’s only one way to legal counsel. approach diversity. That happens when we provide them with the best In action. legal talent available. And with the most diverse points of view. Frost Brown Todd is committed to the ideal that the firm can and should be managed so every employee will be professionally fulfilled. To achieve this goal, we operate so all partners and employees have the opportunity to seek and obtain challenging work and professional growth; all partners and employees demonstrate mutual respect, courtesy and concern for each other and all employees are encouraged and permitted to afford time and attention to their families and other personal priorities. T H I S I S A N A D V E R T I S E M E N T.
"Diversity in Action"