We’ve made some groundbreaking moves: an industry-leading parental leave policy, a professional development forum for diverse in-house counsel and the first legal career fair for military veterans. We’re also honored to partner with many of the in-house legal departments most focused on improving diversity and inclusion, including Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Gap Inc. and Bank of America, among many others.
We rank No. 8 on The American Lawyer’s 2017 Diversity Scorecard – but we are not satisfied. We are taking concrete steps to make our firm and our profession more inclusive. You’ll see it in our metrics and our lawyer development and coaching programs – and you’ll feel it in our culture.
Our Diversity & Inclusion Initiative is led by Lorraine McGowen, who is recognized by Savoy as one of the most influential black lawyers in the United States. Lorraine spearheads a diversity and inclusion committee with members from offices worldwide. Our Women’s Initiative is co-led by Leah Sanzari and Karen Johnson-McKewan, recipient of the National Association of Women Judges’ 2015 Florence K. Murray Award for leadership.
Here are some of the distinctive ways we are driving improvement:
To create accountability, we prepare a “balanced scorecard” annually for each of our five global business units. This report analyzes performance in women, minority and LGBT lawyer recruiting, retention and promotion, as well as client team composition. Our senior management team meets regularly with business unit leaders to discuss actions for improvement. We also conduct equity analyses on our compensation proposals each year to ensure there is no adverse impact on diverse populations. In each of the past several years, a greater percentage of women than men have advanced in our partnership, and a smaller percentage of women than men have moved down.
For the past eight years, we have devoted a day each year to Dive/In – a worldwide discussion of the different backgrounds and cultures in our firm and our communities.
Through this tradition, we raise awareness and make diversity and inclusion a year-round conversation. Last year’s Dive/In featured 35 events with our clients, lawyers and staff across 23 offices. Speakers have included Jason Collins, the first openly gay professional basketball player; The Honorable Damon J. Keith, the longest-serving African-American on the federal bench; Mary Wilson of The Supremes; David Loftis of the Innocence Project; and LGBT rights activist Chaz Bono.
We support diverse lawyers at all stages of their careers. Through our “Rising Leaders Program,” we match firm leaders with high-performing women and minority partners. The mission we give our leaders is simple: prepare a rising star to step into your shoes. Through annual “Celebrating Us” retreats, minority lawyers get additional coaching on what it takes to succeed. We also offer the option of working in one-on-one sessions with a business development coach. This coaching was initially offered to minority and women partners, but it’s proven so popular that we now offer it to all partners.
We partner with our clients to promote diversity in the legal profession through career fairs, our Dive/In Day events, and our Successful Women in IP and Women in Employment Law series. Our annual In-House Counsel Forum is led by our own lawyers of color, and many of the clients who attend are from diverse backgrounds. The program features diverse talent explaining current, substantive legal and compliance issues of which in-house counsel need to be aware. As one client reported, “I came because I was intrigued by the diversity focus. I stayed for the quality of the content these lawyers shared.”
“The Rule of Three” is based on recent social research demonstrating the positive impact on organizations when they have three women on their board of directors. We are fortunate to have not only three women on our board, but also a 15-member senior leadership team that is one-third women. We’re also one of only three firms recognized by all three leading measures of the best firms for women: Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers’ Best Law Firms for Women, Yale Law Women’s Top 10 Family Friendly Firms, and the Women in Law Empowerment Forum’s Gold Standard, which recognizes firm success in advancing women to leadership roles. Please visit Women@Orrick to learn more.
We were one of the first global law firms to offer benefits to same-sex couples. In fact, we’ve earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s annual Corporate Equality Index, which evaluates LGBT-related policies and practices, for 12 years in a row. We lent pro bono assistance to the fight for marriage equality starting in 2004, when we represented the mayor of New Paltz, New York, who was criminally prosecuted for performing same-sex marriages without a license. We later worked with groups like Lambda Legal to fight a ballot initiative in California that sought to ban same-sex marriage. When the fight made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, we filed an amicus brief on behalf of more than 100 major companies that opposed the Defense of Marriage Act. Please visit LGBT@Orrick to learn more.
We launched the nation’s first-ever Veterans’ Legal Career Fair in 2015. The fair was co-sponsored by our clients Microsoft and Morgan Stanley as well as the American Legion, ALM Media, the DC Diverse Partners Network, and Shearman & Sterling. Altogether, 45 employers interviewed 150 candidates. Since then, it has become an annual event. To further support veterans in our community, we partner with legal services organizations and bar associations to provide pro bono services to veterans in need. Finally, our Veterans’ Forum provides our veteran lawyers and staff with a place to discuss the unique challenges of transitioning from military service to the private sector. Please visit Veterans Programs to learn more.
For more than a decade, we have hosted the Bay Area Diversity Career Fair, which we founded in collaboration with the Bar Association of San Francisco. In 2015, more than 50 employers and 300 students participated in more than 1,000 interviews at the fair and attended its networking and career planning programs. We’re proud to have dozens of career fair alumni on our team.