Recruiting, developing and retaining exceptional women and minority lawyers is a primary focus of our diversity program. The recruiting component of this effort includes working closely with law school women and minority student organizations, recruiting at diversity job fairs and historically black law schools and investing in diversity pipeline initiatives, such as Street Law, Law Preview, CLEO and the National Black Pre-Law Conference. Our diversity recruiting efforts have yielded positive results. On average, women represent 50% of our summer associates and new lawyers, and minority representation exceeds regional and national averages.
Successful recruitment only marks the beginning. As with all of our recruits, diverse lawyers are exposed to a multifaceted mentoring and development program designed to develop their skills so they can successfully team with the other lawyers in the firm to address our clients’ most challenging problems.
The firm utilizes the Associates Attributes Model, which details core measurable competencies that each associate must demonstrate at various stages of his/her career. The attributes serve as a roadmap for advancement within the firm. By establishing objective evaluation criteria and codifying the essential attributes of a successful lawyer, we have adopted a system that minimizes potential bias, provides partners with uniform measures for evaluating associate performance and creates transparency.
Some of our other retention, development and mentoring initiatives include diversity training, retreats for our women and minority lawyers, firmwide racial/ethnic & LGBTQ affinity groups, a Parents-in-Law affinity group for parents and targeted mentoring teams for women lawyers. The Diversity Committee has created a checklist with concrete ways for the firm’s partners to help in the recruitment, retention and development of women and minority lawyers. Partners are tasked with completing at least one action item in each of the four categories of development/retention, recruiting, internal initiatives and external initiatives over the course of the year.
In addition, we have adopted an Alternative Work Schedule Policy and appointed Alternative Work Schedule Coordinators in each office to help our lawyers facilitate balance between work and family life. We also offer a wide range of domestic partner benefits, including a tax gross-up benefit, which offsets the imputed income charged to those who cover same-sex and opposite-sex domestic partners on their medical and/or dental plans.