George Floyd's death and countless other incidents from 2020 and prior years have brought racial inequity and systemic racism in society into sharp focus. These collective events have served as the catalyst to implement meaningful change in how we recruit, support and recognizes all of our diverse staff and lawyers. As outlined in detail below, we have spent the last several months deliberating and examining what we need to do differently within our own organization to proactively confront the vestiges of racial bias head on.
In July 2020, as part of our unwavering commitment to advancing racial equality, we formed the Racial Equity Council ("REC"), which has been empowered by senior management to enact change at our firm. The REC is comprised of partners, non-partner lawyers, and business services personnel located throughout our US offices. The overall mission of the REC is to improve the experience of our Black personnel and to support racial equity throughout the firm.
To date, the REC has implemented a number of key initiatives as reflected below:
- created a comprehensive sponsorship program designed to serve as a career accelerator for Black non-partner lawyers, in which protégés are paired with partner sponsors and partner advocates who work to ensure steady workflow and skill development for protégés and also connect them with firm leaders to best position them to achieve career goals;
- directed firm investment in programming designed to combat racial bias;
- examined and improved our process for filling non-lawyer positions – mandating that openings are more transparent and that a diverse slate of candidates is considered, ensuring fair and equal opportunities for advancement at the firm;
- launched a quarterly speaker series with the dual objectives of (1) fostering community within, and providing professional advice to, the Black NRF community, and (2) educating all firm personnel on topics relating to racial equity;
- created affinity groups for Black female lawyers, Black nonpartner lawyers and Black business personnel;
- scrutinized our historic recruiting efforts of Black law students and lateral lawyers; and
- increased awareness of firm professional development opportunities and resources for nonlawyer personnel, including a manager training program, practice coordinator academy and tuition reimbursement program.
While we appreciate and understand that the road to racial equity is long and arduous, we recognize the unique opportunity we have in this particular moment in time, and with the full support of firm management, we are primed to effect real and lasting change for our Black personnel and for our firm and in our communities.
|Ryan E. Manns
Racial Equity Council members
|Kimberlyn Alford||Noam Ayali||Kim Caine||Tanya Charles|
|Shauna Clark||Raisa D'Oyley||Vincent Dunn||Ikenna Emehelu|
|Alicia M. Grant||Debra Gatison Hatter||Esha Kamboj||Rachel Lee|
|David G. Moore, Jr.||Carlos R. Rainer||Warren Walker||Reginald Wilson|