2018 Spring - Diversity & The Bar Magazine

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YEARS What MCCA Means to Me | 10 Years On | This is a Man’s World








To mark MCCA’s 20th anniversary we asked members and supporters what MCCA means to them.

Jean Lee reflects on the last 20 years and looks forward to MCCA’s mission for the next 20.


Regular columnist Theo Chang looks at how lack of diversity in ADR came to the fore.



Yet women are getting the deal done. M&A has a reputation for being both machismo and not female friendly We spoke to some women lawyers who are the current stars in the space to interrogate the myths. By Catherine McGregor

We ask a successful diverse attorney to reflect back on their career and then advise younger lawyers on how they should manage theirs. First up Jon Harmon, Chairman of McGuireWoods.

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Ten years ago, Diversity and The Bar highlighted ten African-American lawyers to watch. We caught up with two of them to find out where they are now and what key learnings their career path has given them. By Jodi Bartle

72 AIN’T I A WOMAN Intersectionality theory posits that unless we consider the interlinked aspects of inequality then efforts to make society more inclusive will fail. We consider what this can mean in practice. By Catherine McGregor

The Social Mobility Business Partnership is tackling social inequalities in the UK legal profession and is being driven by in-house lawyers. By Catherine McGregor


How are people or organizations trying to practically make a change. Grace Speights of Morgan Lewis speaks about her work on advising clients in changing their workplace.


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MCCA BOARD OF DIRECTORS A.B. CRUZ, III USAA MCCA CHAIR Enterprise Shared Services Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Office


JEAN LEE MCCA President & CEO STUART ALDEROTY CIT GROUP, INC. MCCA CHAIR-ELECT Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary RICARDO ANZALDUA Former Executive Vice President & General Counsel



SANDRA LEUNG BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB Executive Vice President & General Counsel LINDA LU NATIONWIDE INSURANCE Senior Vice President, Property & Casualty Legal Personal Lines GWEN MARCUS SHOWTIME NETWORKS INC. Executive Vice President & General Counsel SUZAN A. MILLER INTEL CORPORATION Corporate Vice President, Deputy General Counsel & Corporate Secretary SAMUEL M. REEVES WALMART, INC. Senior Vice President & General Counsel Walmart International Legal ROBIN H. SANGSTON COX COMMUNICATIONS, INC. Vice President & Chief Compliance & Privacy Officer

DAWN SMITH MCAFEE Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer RICHARD J. WALLIS MICROSOFT CORPORATION Vice President & Deputy General Counsel NEIL H. WILCOX FIRST DATA CORPORATION Senior Vice President & Associate General Counsel MICHAEL T. WILLIAMS Former Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary SIMONE WU CHOICE HOTELS INTERNATIONAL Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary & External Affairs



EDITOR-IN CHIEF Catherine McGregor



ADVERTISING Catherine McGregor

MCCA® STAFF Sherla Allen Gurinder Singh Tieara Jones James Taube Sophia M. Piliouras Kevin Wong

GENERAL INFORMATION ADVERTISING For advertising inquiries, contact Catherine McGregor, Catherine.mcgregor@mcca.com

MCCA MEMBERSHIP Please visit https://www.mcca.com/membership/ for details or email membership@mcca.com

PERMISSIONS AND REPRINTS Reproduction of Diversity & the Bar in whole or part without permission is prohibited. To obtain permission, visit https://www.mcca.com/db-magazine/reprint-request/ COPYRIGHT


Copyright® 2018 by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, Diversity & the Bar is published four times a year and is distributed to supporters and subscribers, 1111 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004. The information contained in this publication has been provided to the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA®) by a variety of independent sources. While MCCA makes every effort to present accurate and reliable information, MCCA does not endorse, approve or certify such information, nor does MCCA guarantee the accuracy, completeness, efficacy or chronological sequence of any such information. Use of such information on the readers’ part is entirely voluntary, and reliance upon it should be undertaken only upon independent review and due diligence. References to any commercial product, process or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer or otherwise shall not constitute or imply endorsement, preference, recommendation or the favor of MCCA. MCCA (including its employees and agents) assumes no responsibility for consequence resulting from the use of the information herein, or in any respect for the content of such information, including (but not limited to) errors or omissions; the accuracy or reasonableness of factual or other data, including statistical or scientific assumptions, studies or conclusions; the defamatory nature of statements; ownership of copyright or other intellectual property rights; and the violation of property, privacy or personal rights of others. MCCA is not responsible for, and expressly disclaims and denies liability for, damages of any kind arising out of use, reference to or reliance upon such information. No guarantees or warranties, including (but not limited to) any express or implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular use or purpose, are made by MCCA with respect to such information. Copyright in this publication, including all articles and editorial information contained herein, is exclusively owned by MCCA, and MCCA reserves all rights to such information. MCCA is a tax-exempt corporation organized in accordance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Its tax ID number is 13-3920905.

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I’M THINKING ABOUT VISION AND CHANGE, BOTH ARE CENTRAL TO MCCA. WE’RE DELIGHTED TO BE COMING OFF OF OUR 20TH ANNIVERSARY YEAR AND NOW LOOKING FORWARD TO THE FUTURE OF MCCA. Whilst starting as an organization, which was focused more on advancing ethnically diverse attorneys, under the leadership of my predecessors we expanded our mission to look across the whole range of diversity and inclusion. Moving forward, it really feels to me that this is the right direction: that MCCA is an umbrella organization which doesn’t focus on one identity group. It’s a movement that we all need to be engaged in, including, those who might not have traditionally identified as diverse, to truly make change happen. In my time as CEO of MCCA two things have become clear to me: Diversity is the right thing to do but it’s also the smart thing to do for business. Businesses that are not diverse are increasingly out of touch with the way the world is going. But what’s also true for us at MCCA is that we need to think strategically and creatively, like a business, to maximize our impact on the legal profession and beyond. That’s where some of our new initiatives and directions come in and I’m delighted to share details of two of them here. In reading or just looking at this magazine you can no doubt see some changes! We’re very excited to have a new editorial direction and redesign for the magazine which reflects its place as a window into the wider mission of MCCA. We welcomed a new Editor-in- Chief, Catherine McGregor, who brings a number of years experience in both publishing and diversity and inclusion. Secondly the launch of MAP, the MCCA Advisory Practice, which we have promoted Sophia Piliouras, our Senior Counsel, Director of Education & Research to lead it. MAP is to there to help members develop practical D&I strategies which to are robust and sustainable for each of their orga4

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nizations. To do this we’re looking closely at how we can work with our members to improve the culture of their particular company or law firm. Movements like #MeToo show us just how key culture is in regards to basic principles of equality and the impact it has on a business’s profits (we saw that over and over in the past few years) In both of these new developments, MCCA isn’t going to be afraid of tacking the big issues regarding diversity, inclusion and equity, and won’t shy away from uncomfortable conversations on the path to change! That’s because diversity and inclusion is a source of tremendous strength for our companies and our country. It makes us better, stronger, more agile, and more connected. We as an organization must recommit to our core mission and overriding goal: making the legal profession more inclusive. That means more programs that help minority partners at majority firms; promoting the brightest diverse talent at F1000 corporations; and partnering with those who are committed to increase our impact. We must continue to shine a light on where this profession needs change. I look forward to being part of the change with all of you. Sincerly,

Jean Lee President & CEO

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2018 Vault/MCCA Law Firm Diversity Survey Register for free today. Survey closes at 11pm EDT on Friday, May 4, 2018 With nearly 250 firms, both large and small, participating each year, we hope that

your firm can join us as we track law firm progress in the critical area of diversity. This is the 15th edition of our annual survey since we launched the initiative in 2004. If your firm has not already received an invitation to participate, please contact legaldiversity@vault.com. You will receive an email with the firm’s password and a link to complete the survey online. MCCA and Vault have also developed a database of historical survey results to make it easier for in-house counsel to track diversity within a particular firm. Currently, this database includes ten years of qualitative and quantitative data for a majority of the AmLaw 200 firms as well as dozens of smaller firms. Whether you are a firm who has participated in our survey or a client who wants to assess the progress your outside counsel are making, our database can provide that information in minutes and it is gratis.

[ View the Law Firm Diversity Database at http://mcca.vault.com ]



ELCOME TO THE NEW LOOK DIVERSITY & THE BAR MAGAZINE. I’M DELIGHTED TO TAKE OVER THE PUBLICATION AND GIVE IT A NEW LOOK AND FOCUS. AS MCCA ENTERS ITS TWENTY FIRST YEAR ITS MISSION IS MORE CRUCIAL THAN EVER. Society is more aware of diversity and inclusion, but there are also deep divisions; lawyers have always had a pivotal role in driving forward the discourse of equality and that’s more critical now than ever before. I hope that’s reflected in this magazine, which is the window for that mission. We have seen the eruption of grass roots movements such as #MeToo, #TimesUp and BlackLives Matter. There’s a renewed vigor for the fact that the personal is political. There’s also an increasing realization that for companies and law firms, inclusion means commercial success. This is alongside the demandś that companies adhere to greater ethical standards; adhering to the letter of the law is increasingly not enough in the light of recent exposes such as The Panama Papers and Paradise Papers. This quarter we reflect on what MCCA’s mission means by hearing from some key architects of that mission such as Tom Sager and AB Cruz. We also hear from a range of founders, members and supporters of MCCA as to “What MCCA means to me.” We also follow up on our story of ten years ago where we identified Ten African American Lawyers to watch. In Ten Years On we circle back with two of those highlighted, Lanesha Minnex of BMC and Samantha Grant of Shepherd & Mullin. We hear about their journey to where they are now and what’s helped them along the way, but also where they feel there are still key challenges and where changes need to be made. Speaking of change, we launch two regular features predicated on making change happen. In Paying it Forward, McGuireWoods Chairman, Jon Harmon reflects on his experiences and considers the learnings from his career experiences that might be useful for other diverse attorneys. In Making the Change, Grace Speights of Morgan Lewis details how her work advising clients on changing workplace culture is taking on greater resonance in the light of #MeToo and #TimesUp. #MeToo and #TimesUp are a seminal movement that is changing the way women and men view the workplace and society. In our feature, This is A Man’s World, we explore how the female superstars of M&A navigate D & B M A G A Z I N E S P R I N G I S S U E 2 0 1 8 | W W W. M C C A . C O M

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a practice that has traditionally had much greater gender imbalance than many others. In Ain’t I a Woman: Intersectionality and the Workplace, we look at how organizations can implement theories of intersectionality. It’s certainly key, as many experts suggests if we don’t look at the interconnected aspects of inclusion then our initiatives are doomed to fail. Food for thought. I welcome all feedback and ideas for future issues. Please email me at Catherine.mcgregor@mcca.com if you’d like to connect. Sincerly,

Catherine McGregor Editor in Chief

CONTRIBUTORS Catherine McGregor Editor-in-Chief. Catherine has been working in legal publishing for many years. She was the founder of GC Magazine, which was described as the HBR for in-house lawyers. She also works as a consultant for both law firms and legal departments around the world. Jodi Bartle A New Zealander in London, Jodi switched from a tentative career in law to writing about it for the Chambers Guides, The Lawyer 8

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and GC Magazine. Outside the legal realm, she spends her time as a freelance journalist dashing off copy for Vice, i-D, Quintessentially, and Chanel. Dianne Hayes is a freelance writer/editor based in Maryland, who specializes in diversity issues in law, STEM and education. Dini Karasik is a lawyer and writer based in Maryland. She is also the founding editor and publisher of Origins Journal. D & B M A G A Z I N E S P R I N G I S S U E 2 0 1 8 | W W W. M C C A . C O M


Any organization is primarily made up of its people; as MCCA turns 20, we asked a range of members and supporters, recent and long-standing, what MCCA means to them. 1

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Twenty years ago, MCCA was a magnet for great ideas and thought leaders. For individuals and organizations who were yearning for guidance, insight and inspiration, Diversity & Bar gave voice to thoughts and ideas that were expressed privately and triggered a vision of what a national community could look like. —LLOYD M. JOHNSON JR., FOUNDER, MINORITY CORPORATE COUNSEL ASSOCIATION (MCCA)


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MCCA was a pioneer that provided a roadmap for many minority bar associations and showed us the power of unity. Twenty years ago, we were focused on our own organizations and MCCA showed us that by working together, we could have a stronger voice. This has led to many successful coalitions among diverse groups in the legal profession. —BRIGIDA BENITEZ, PAST PRESIDENT, HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Twenty years ago, there were no iPhones or iPads; no social media or YouTube; no podcasts, Netflix, Uber, Airbnb or Spotify. Those changes have altered our lives in so many unpredictable ways. But 20 years ago, there was an MCCA. And MCCA sparked changes in NAPABA (National Asian Pacific American Bar Association) that have been of immeasurable value. MCCA’s partnership with NAPABA underscored an ever-increasing recognition of the unique opportunities and challenges, not only for in-house counsel of color, but for all who support diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. —IVAN FONG, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, LEGAL AFFAIRS AND GENERAL COUNSEL, 3M CO.

Twenty years ago, I was pursuing a career in journalism and was fortunate enough to write feature articles for the inaugural publication of Diversity & the Bar magazine. I was immediately drawn to MCCA’s vision and to the passion with which it sought to make its vision a reality. My involvement with Diversity & the Bar magazine and the MCCA played a key role in my decision to pursue a legal career and ultimately in my success as an attorney of color. —DAVID KELLY, GENERAL COUNSEL AND VICE PRESIDENT, BASKETBALL LEGAL AFFAIRS, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS. 3

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Congratulations to the MCCA on its 20th anniversary. Such a milestone occasion is an affirmation of MCCA’s vision and a testament to the important contributions MCCA has made to our profession’s progress on issues which are more critical than ever. —RODERICK A. PALMORE, CO-FOUNDER, LCLD, FORMER GC SARA LEE, GENERAL MILLS, FORMER BOARD MEMBER, MCCA


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As an inaugural member of the Lloyd M. Johnson, Jr. Scholarship Program, words will never express the impact this program has had on my life. My travels have taken me from being raised on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana; to dinner with Bill Gates as a Microsoft Legal Fellow; to an international law firm; to Oracle; and to my current role as commercial and product legal counsel at Google. —MARIA RUNNING FISHER JONES, PRODUCT COUNSEL, GOOGLE



Extending Workplace Supplier Diversity Initiatives to Selecting ADR Neutrals by Theodore K. Cheng

AS WE LOOK FORWARD TO ANOTHER YEAR OF THE ADR MOSAIC, LET’S TAKE A LOOK BACK AT ONE REASON FOR HOW THE LACK OF DIVERSITY IN ADR CAME TO THE FORE. In 1987, the U.S. Department of Labor commissioned a study of various economic and demographic trends, resulting in the publication of “Workforce 2000: Work and Workers for the 21st Century,” which helped develop the business case for diversifying the workforce. Companies began measuring diversity, and the costs for failing to pay it heed, in terms of retention, turnover, productivity, stock value, revenue/market share, succession planning, and public image. Externally, companies sought to expand their customer base by marketing more to diverse customers; internally, they promulgated new procurement policies, requiring that the diversity of a supplier’s workforce be part of its eligibility for continued receipt of the company’s business. Companies also began imposing similar criteria and requirements on their outside law firms because they are suppliers of legal services to in-house corporate legal departments. In 1998, Charles Morgan, BellSouth Corporation’s EVP and General Counsel, authored a document entitled, “Diversity in the Workplace: Statement of Principles,” which proclaimed a dedication to diversity in the workplace by corporate legal departments. It was signed by the Chief Legal Officers of approximately 500 major corporations. Concerned with the lack of progress in this area, however, in 2004, Roderick A. Palmore, General Counsel of General Mills Corporation, issued “A Call to Action: Diversity in the Legal Profession,” which espoused that clients deserve

legal representation that reflects the diversity of their employees, customers, and communities, thereby reaffirming corporate legal departments’ commitment to diversity in the legal profession. These efforts have resulted in marked changes to how corporate legal departments work with outside law firms. For example, requests for proposals for legal work often mandate a certain level of diversity amongst the legal professionals who are anticipated to work on the matter. Corporate legal departments may also require disclosure by law firms of demographic data relating to the legal professionals at the firm. Some companies also more closely track their legal spending on women and minority-owned firms. As a result, many corporate legal departments have pared down their use of law firms who do not meet their criteria and have generally put pressure on law firms to similarly embrace diversity and inclusion. This past February, Kim M. Rivera, Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel of Hewlett-Packard Inc., informed the company’s outside law firms that 10% of invoiced fees may be withheld for failing to meet the company’s diversity standards. In doing so, corporate legal departments have made clear that they want to be represented by law firms that value diversity as much as they do. In turn, law firms have sought to diversify their attorney ranks, primarily through recruiting, and then through institutional changes, such as the creation of affinity groups and sponsoring of mentoring programs to address retention issues.

Curiously, however, corporations persist in pursuing an outdated approach to the selection of diverse ADR neutrals. Many companies continue to outsource both the drafting of dispute resolution clauses and the actual selection to outside counsel, abdicating these fundamental strategic decisions to others. Far too much reliance is placed on established networks, word-ofmouth, and the recommendations of the same “usual suspects,” leading to a lost opportunity to broaden the company’s roster of preferred neutrals. Relatedly, there is a failure to acknowledge and address unconscious, implicit biases that permeate any decision-making process like the selection of the individual or panel who will oversee the resolution of the dispute. (We will address this important topic in a future column.) Neutrals, after all, are also suppliers of services to in-house corporate legal departments. Yet, they are not viewed in the same way as outside counsel, let alone the entity who sells the company its reams of copier paper. Perhaps some companies have not fully analyzed the trade-offs – advantages or benefits gained vs. disadvantages or risks incurred – from pursuing diversity and inclusion as one component of

a strategy for selecting neutrals. Maybe some companies do not consider law firms and similar professional services providers as part of their procurement processes, thus exempting them from any applicable supplier diversity initiative. As a result, the diversity and inclusion mandate that has permeated corporate legal departments has not trickled down to the selection and hiring of mediators, arbitrators, and other types of ADR neutrals. In the first instance, corporate legal departments should consider extending their workplace supplier diversity initiatives to the selection of arbitrators and mediators on their disputes. This would go a long way towards improving the lack of diversity in the ADR field. THEO CHENG

TCHENG@THEOCHENG.COM Theo Cheng is an independent, full-time arbitrator and mediator and serves on the rosters of the American Arbitration Association, the CPR Institute, FINRA, Resolute Systems, and several federal and state courts, focusing on commercial/business, intellectual property, technology, entertainment, and labor/employment disputes. He has over 20 years of experiencing handling intellectual property and commercial litigation matters. D & B M A G A Z I N E S P R I N G I S S U E 2 0 1 8 | W W W. M C C A . C O M


In the late 90’s you could fit all of the women general counsel in the Fortune 500 in one car – a very small car. MCCA was the first organization that realized that there was a opportunity to bring that group of women together. In August 1998, the only cover of any magazine that featured women general counsel was Diversity & the Bar. In 2000, MCCA was the first organization to conduct a survey of woman general counsel in the Fortune 500. In short, MCCA and Diversity & the Bar was the beacon of light for the community of women general counsel to grow. —ANASTASIA D. KELLY, FORMER GENERAL COUNSEL, AIG, SEARS, WORLDCOM MCI CO-MANAGING PARTNER (AMERICAS) OF DLA PIPER

I am very excited to be a member in this organization and glean from its leaders their knowledge and experience for what it means to push diversity forward in the corporate world. I look forward to putting what I’ve gained from MCCA into practice in my legal department and the profession as a whole. —JORJA JACKSON, SENIOR CORPORATE COUNSEL, GLOBAL LABOR & EMPLOYMENT, SALESFORCE


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By Dini Karasik

trong leaders are capable of changing hearts and minds, transforming institutions and cultures, and effecting systemic and lasting change. The Minority Corporate Counsel Association is an organization leading the charge to make diversity and inclusion the norm in the legal profession. As the premier national nonprofit engaged in this work, its success is a result of dynamic leaders— from board members to staff—who, for the past 20 years, have sought to implement groundbreaking diversity and inclusion policies in law firms and corporate counsel offices across the country. MCCA’s leaders hail from a variety of industries, companies, and law firms, and each brings a talent for leadership that has led the organization to the forefront of promoting and fostering diversity. One such leader is Thomas L. Sager, a founding board member of MCCA and former General Counsel at the DuPont Company. In his early years at DuPont, Sager had a transformative experience when the then-CEO, Ed Willard, sent executive staff to an intensive five-day diversity training. What ensued was a lesson in empathy and a deeper appreciation for the ways in which bias and discrimination undermine not only human relationships but also the success of companies and corporations, like DuPont. “It changed the way I did business,” says Sager. “From that point forward I was touched deeply and I realized that my advocacy was not as effective as I hoped it would be because I was blinded by winning as opposed to focused on listening. I took it to heart, and that started me on a journey with respect to how important this was to my sons, the corporation, and my work. I was going to double-down, 1

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THOMAS L. SAGER as they say, and from that point on I tried to lead by example.” Sager grew up in Rhode Island. His parents were open-minded people who befriended and cared for neighbors and friends irrespective of race and class. Childhood visits to his grandmother’s farm in Danville, Virginia and his time as a college student in the late-1960s at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill also influenced his world view. In the South, discrimination was front and center, and it opened his eyes to the realities and dangers of entrenched, systemic discrimination. During Sager’s freshman year, the legendary basketball coach, Dean Smith, recruited the first African American player, Charlie Scott, to play for the Tar Heels. Smith’s coaching innovations as well as his efforts to desegregate local businesses and promote racial equality on campus had a profound and lasting impact on Sager. When Sager completed the five-day diversity training some years later, he understood it would inform his decision-making and leadership going forward. “The beauty of this course was you put your analytical talents aside D & B M A G A Z I N E S P R I N G I S S U E 2 0 1 8 | W W W. M C C A . C O M


As a first-generation lawyer, the road to success in the legal profession can be challenging. MCCA has made that path easier for me through the Lloyd M. Johnson, Jr. Scholarship including significant assistance in financing my legal education as well as continued support through mentorship and professional development opportunities after law school. Through the LMJ Scholarship and other innovative programs, MCCA continues to lead the effort toward advancing the hiring, retention and promotion of diverse lawyers—to put it simply, MCCA turns ideas into action. —BRYANT HALL, ASSOCIATE, WILLIAMS & CONNOLLY LLP

MCCA is at the forefront of advancing the principles of inclusion and equity in the legal profession. Not only does the MCCA promote diversity, it equips law firms and attorneys with the tools and best practices to ensure that our profession reflects the communities we serve. The professional development and learning opportunities we’ve participated in through MCCA have been of tremendous benefit in building our firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Program. For these, and many other, reasons, Womble Bond Dickinson is proud to be a Strategic Member of MCCA. —KEVIN R. LYN, PARTNER, CO-CHAIR OF WOMBLE BOND DICKINSON (US) DIVERSITY COMMITTEE


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and listened and hopefully felt the emotional importance of bias and discrimination as it impacted people’s lives, whether colleagues, employees or the like,” says Sager. He returned to the office intent on changing the way DuPont did business. Sager soon had a vision for long-term, systemic change that would cut costs, encourage collaboration among strategic partners, and institute policies for diversity and inclusion. The DuPont Legal Model has since become the industry standard, with over 250 corporate legal departments and governmental institutions adopting the model and implementing changes. Still, the law remains one of the least diverse profession. “I think quite honestly that law firms—with

ues his advocacy for diversity and inclusion. While no longer on the board of MCCA, he remains a staunch supporter of the organization’s efforts to pursue systemic and sustainable change in the legal profession. “MCCA was truly unique at the time of its inception, and it has become a mainstay among the leaders driving change. In 1997 we formed this group and focused on research, education, and scholarships. That took hold, and then a lot of corporations began to observe and benchmark with the likes of DuPont and others.” Change is possible. Diversity and inclusion can endure, and perhaps even become the norm one day. Sager emphasizes that systemic change requires strong leaders at the helm who possess

I think quite honestly that law firms—with few exceptions—are very short-term focused. It’s all about ‘how much did we bring in by way of revenue and how will it be divided year after year’... few exceptions—are very short-term focused. It’s all about ‘how much did we bring in by way of revenue and how will it be divided year after year’ with very little thought given to the strategic long-term view of the landscape and how diverse and inclusive firms can become even more successful and competitive,” says Sager. In 1997, the founder of MCCA, Lloyd M. Johnson, Jr., reached out to Sager about starting an organization to promote diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. Sager recalls those early discussions. “We realized that the issue was not going to be as advanced if we left it to the law firms because they’d just be catering to those who they think will become their counsel of choice. And Lloyd said to me, ‘We need corporate leadership on this issue, so let’s build MCCA.’ I was all in.” Sager retired from DuPont, Inc. in 2014 and is now a partner at Ballard Spahr where he contin-

resolve and perseverance. “Most law firms understand and get it – the marketplace, how it’s changed and is shifting, and how the C-suite, in particular, is becoming an increasingly more diverse place with respect to gender and race,” he says. But where next for the MCCA and for the mission to achieve a more diverse and inclusive legal profession? “There’s a lot more work to do. The thing that really excites me is that I’ll get a call or I’ll see somebody—like the General Counsel of Toyota, North America—who is an African American woman who once worked in Beaumont, Texas for a law firm that was serving DuPont. Or another young woman who was with a California law firm and is now a high-profile litigator for Skadden Arps. People will seek you out or sometimes write you a note, I haven’t talked to you in a while, but thank you so much. That’s the sort of thing that makes you smile.” DD && B BMM AA GG AA Z IZNI N E ES PS R P IRNI N G GI SI SS U SU E E2 02 10 81 8| |WW WW WW .M .M CCC AA . C. C OO MM

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uld be nothconcluded that “It wo or a girl.” Coring without a woman hours endly due to its long fri ale m fe t no d an o machism crashing down? tation for being both es that need to come porate M&A has a repu yp ot re ste d ate td ou the myths. is just another set of e space to interrogate th in and intensity. But is th rs sta nt rre cu e th men lawyers who are We spoke to some wo




A recent Glassdoor survey carried out in July 2017 found that while accession to equity partner roles in M&A is lower than average, so is the amount of women at entry level to this area of law. Given that M&A is a very lucrative field, what then is keeping women away? Will the dearth of women in this rainmaking area also serve to keep the progress of women into law firm leadership as painfully slow as it is now? Many lawyers in the sector feel that stereotypes about the practice are factors in deterring women from signing up. And as with all stereotypes, there’s an element of truth there. However, in my conversations with leading women currently navigating the M&A landscape, I found a variety of ways in which they are making the space their own and debunking some of the conventional preconceptions. I asked each of the partners what had attracted them to the field and discussed the significant stereotypes about the practice of M&A to consider how relevant they still are. Main preconceptions which seem to put women off the practice are the intensity of the work and hours, and almost equally the notion that it’s a male dominated area where women will struggle to make the connections and get the work in the first place. In the light of Weinstein et al, this last myth may take in a slightly greater significance in deterring women if it’s seen as a boy’s club.


Despite the myths and stereotypes, there are women who are successful in the field and many who are viewed as outstanding. New Presiding Partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore Faiza Saeed, ticks all the boxes as a powerhouse M&A lawyer and is now heading up one of the most profitable firms in the world. But what calls the women who make it in M&A to take the plunge? A common theme is the excitement. Unlike many areas of the law where attention to detail and diligence are key words, M&A is seen as exciting and sexy with high stakes. These are the deals that can redefine the business landscape and are areas of law which become part of the daily newsfeed. For Melissa Sawyer at Sullivan & Cromwell, the excitement was definitely the initial hook but her interest started much earlier. “ I basically decided on it from a young age,” she told me. “I fixated on it without any rationale. My mother still talks about a resume I did when I was twelve where I said I wanted to be a corporate lawyer but spelled corporate wrong!” During law school Sawyer was a summer associate at Sullivan & Cromwell. She liked it and accepted an offer from them on finishing law school, and seventeen years later she is still there. But why M&A ? As Sawyer learned more about different areas of law, it was the fact that M&A is less rules-driven than some other areas. “It offers a lot of opportunities for creativiDD && B BMM AA GG AA Z IZNI N E ES PS R P IRNI N G GI SI SS U SU E E2 02 10 81 8| |WW WW WW .M .M CCC AA . C. C OO MM

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ty. I liked the people – they were really dynamic and informal but professional at the same time. When I first started at Sullivan & Cromwell the first transaction I worked on was Diageo’s acquisition of Seagrams. I got shipped off to London for six weeks to work on the deal and it was most exciting thing that had ever happened to me and I was completely sold on M&A from that point forward.” For Taurie Zeitzer at Paul Weiss, it was the passion the practice area inspired that initially drew her in. “For me (and this holds true for the rest of your career), you need to have a huge enthusiasm for what you do, to love it. The partner who hired me to be in M&A got a deal in the middle of my interview with him. It was his zeal that drew me in.” In Zeitzer’s case, the partner in question was in private equity which is more enigmatic than

public M&A and traditionally even more male dominated. Zeitzer told me, “I fell into it largely because it seemed super-interesting and complex.” Similarly to Sawyer, Zeitzer singles out the creative aspect of M&A as a significant attraction. She says it is necessary to have the drive to get a deal done as well as having strategic insight into a client’s business. “M&A lawyers get to quarterback deals; that’s something you gravitate to or not. Quarterbacking and driving deals suit my personality and talents.” For Zeitzer, one of the key functions an M&A lawyer plays starts even before the deal begins. “What I think we do better than others—in a sense, our ‘secret sauce’—is that we’re business advisers to clients. Often, we get a call before the deal begins to help drive strategy for our clients. You may be looking at a situation that requires creative thinking and problem-solving. But, like a quarterback, you need to keep your eye on what the end game is.” Karessa Cain at M&A powerhouse Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, echoes the themes of creativity and wide-ranging challenges in describing what attracted her to M&A. “I really enjoyed clerking on the 9th circuit after law school and could have been happy as a litigator, but somehow I knew I wanted to be a transactional lawyer. Deals are less of a zero-sum game than litigation, and I like the



PART OF nd keeping your a e iv ct e p rs e p g in in mainta AT A TIME, while also re tends rly in M&A, where the

re – particula tu ic p r e g ig b e th n o eye onths being m r o ks e e w e m so h volatility wit to be a good deal of ers. more intense than oth



challenge of thinking creatively about business objectives and strategy.” For Cain, variety was also important in her choice of career. “M&A is a very multidisciplinary kind of transactional work – in structuring and negotiating the terms of a deal, you often need to think about a range of issues that may include tax, antitrust, finance, employee benefits, accounting and other components. It’s a very well-rounded practice area that always seems to involve new and interesting challenges.”


All the women I spoke to mentioned two factors which are heightened in M&A versus other practice areas: the intensity and the unpredictability of deals. However, they all pointed out that this is not purely an issue for women and increasingly it’s something male lawyers are also concerned about. Cain at Wachtell, Lipton, observes, “I do believe there is an ongoing cultural shift, and many men today are interested in being active parents with a more co-equal role with their spouse.” Sawyer at Sullivan agrees that there is more equality evident than there used to be, “But still women generally take more responsibility for childcare, even if you have an equal partnership as my husband and I have.” Sawyer points out that for many women, timing is a factor when starting a family. “The earliest you graduate from law school will be at age 24. Most firms have eight year partnership tracks, but once you are partner, getting your career to take root can take eight to ten years, which takes you to forty or forty two. For many women, that time in which they are investing heavily in building their careers coincides with the years in which they will try to have children.” Sawyer has focused her career on public company M&A work, which she concurs can be the worst for work/life balance as it’s driven by


market dynamics and often requires weekend negotiations so you can meet the deadline for a 7am Monday market announcement for deals. As she states, “All that is hard if you have have small children and need a childcare solution.” Sawyer notes that it can be significantly easier for partners as they can afford better child care. “Many of our younger associates are struggling to juggle daycare arrangements and are building their careers at the same time. Some opt out for that reason, partly for time and partly for economics.” But Sawyer feels opting out of public company M&A is “not a good idea as you are opting out of the brand building. If all you’ve done are small private transactions then you are not building your brand in the same way the big profile public M&A deals do.” A number of female lawyers and business women I have spoken to over the years have counselled that women who work do need to think about whom they marry or partner up with. Ideally you need to have an equal partnership and not have to struggle on two fronts, which is something these female M&A lawyers too raised as a key aspect of navigating work and life. When I spoke to Cain of Wachtell, Lipton, she was on maternity leave with her third child. In her view: “Part of the balancing act is to take each day one at a time, while also maintaining DD && B BMM AA GG AA Z IZNI N E ES PS R P IRNI N G GI SI SS U SU E E2 02 10 81 8| |WW WW WW .M .M CCC AA . C. C OO MM

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perspective and keeping your eye on the bigger picture – particularly in M&A, where there tends to be a good deal of volatility with some weeks or months being more intense than others. It’s also important to figure out what tools are available to you as you build your support system, whether it’s a spouse who is an active partner in the parenting process, a reliable nanny, a live-in au pair, a network of good part-time babysitters, a good daycare option, or grandparents and other family members who are willing to help out. I’ve seen women (and men) use various approaches to tailor a support system that works for their particular situation.” Zeitzer, at Paul Weiss, echoes the fact that work/life balance is not an issue that should or only impacts women now. Mentoring is important for Zeitzer but a key message she gives mentees, irrespective of gender, is that it’s not one-size-fits-all, but about making it work for you. “There is not one definition of success. My path and priorities have taken me in one direction, but someone else coming along after me may get to the same place by making different choices. I often say to younger lawyers that I’m happy to give my perspective but to keep in mind it’s ultimately their path to figure out.” For Zeitzer, part of the solution was involving 24 D D& &B BMMA AG GA AZ IZNI NE ES PS RP IRNI NG GI SI SS US UE E2 02 10 81 8| 5


her son at appropriate times in her career. “One of my partners had an event with clients during the holidays. My son came with me and it was great to see how he navigated the situation. Being there makes him feel like he knows more about what I’m doing.” This is more possible now that her son is older, but Zeitzer counsels this as part of the mindset of seizing opportunities, which is key for deal lawyers. “You have to embrace opportunity, not wait for someone else to pave the way for you. When my son was only four months old, I had two deals in Europe and had to go there with him as I was still nursing; the clients didn’t even know.” Zeitzer wisely suggests women lawyers should take a long view. “If you’re in it for the long haul, look at where you want to be over the next thirty or forty years of your career, and then carve your own path for how to get there.”


The recent scandal in the UK over The President’s Club, an all-male charity event in the city of London where young female hostesses were objectified and in some cases, harassed, shone a light on a particular type of male culture in the business world, which many might have hoped had died out. Given the greater numbers of men in investment banking and funds which

might be the catalyst for deal activity, did the female lawyers we spoke to ever felt disadvantaged in terms of access to deals and how and where decisions were made? For Zeitzer, working in private equity which is still more of a man’s world than public companies, rather than focus on being the only woman in the room, she aimed at being the best person for the job. “I don’t think I ever focused on who was giving me the work - I just went for it. Early in my career, I can’t remember ever having a female client. I felt that I had to be the best, not because I was a woman, but because I wanted to beat out the competition. I was aware I was often the only woman on deals, but I didn’t let that hold me back.” Sawyer feels that the macho preconceptions about M&A as a practice area are somewhat outdated and that people who work in the deals have realized that a ‘jobs for the boys’ approach doesn’t get the job done. “I may be spoiled as we are in a sphere of the M&A world where it is very analytical and collaborative with a lot of repeat players, but the macho banging on the table is viewed negatively in this world. Sullivan has always been a safe space, where I can just be a smart lawyer.” Cain echoes this feeling that the focus is on merit and reputation in the ways that work is allocated by clients. “The nature of what we do is high stakes, bet-the-company work. Accordingly, clients are looking for someone who has the right experience, track record and reputation. They are looking for someone who can deliver results.” Sawyer points to this being a culture shift as “boardrooms often have at least one female director, and increasingly, general counsels and legal departments are asking for more diverse teams.” Zeitzer is seeing a change now even in


the very male dominated world of private equity. “I’m seeing women not just in the boardroom but also leading deals; often in recent years I have been across the table from both men and women. On two sell side deals last year, there were senior women leading for the banking side. At the PE firms, you’re also starting to see more women on deal teams. I think we bring a different perspective: women are great problem solvers and multitask well and are good at strategy—all crucial skills in this field.” But how can law firms make the numbers of M&A lawyers more equal between the genders? Sawyer thinks some of the issues start before women join firms. “Often it starts at law school and at business schools. We need more female professors teaching classes on M&A and need more female students to consider it: we need to get the pipeline in place and not have women opt out before they start.” To this end, Sawyer has been teaching a course at Columbia Law School. “It’s a very diverse class, and I talk about the challenges of being a young lawyer and trying to balance different life goals with professional goals, but I also talk about the really fun stuff. One thing I tell my students is M&A is a great thing to do for a few years to see if you like it. Many doors are still open to you if you decide not to stick with it: you’ll be a great contract lawyer and can be good at creative thinking - all skills which serve you elsewhere.” DD && B BMM AA GG AA Z IZNI N E ES PS R P IRNI N G GI SI SS U SU E E2 02 10 81 8| |WW WW WW .M .M CCC AA . C. C OO MM

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The MCCA is a critical connector in our industry - connecting diverse attorneys with a progressive, forward looking in house counsel community is exactly what the industry needs to move forward. —JOI BOURGEOIS, GLOBAL HEAD OF DIVERSITY & INCLUSION, ORRICK LLP


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It�s a national force making tangible and quantifiable progress in diversifying the legal profession. —RIMA ALAILY, ASSISTANT GENERAL COUNSEL, MICROSOFT CORPORATION


PAYING IT FORWARD Jon Harmon, Chairman, McGuireWoods

IN THE FIRST OF A REGULAR FEATURE, WE ASK SUCCESSFUL DIVERSE ATTORNEYS TO REFLECT BACK ON THEIR CAREER and then advise younger lawyers on how they should manage theirs. We start with Jon Harmon, recently elected chair of McGuire Woods. Jon reflects on how he developed his own path to success as a lawyer and how his experience in the military helped shape his style as a leader. Diversity and The Bar: What made you want to become a lawyer? Jon Harmon(JH): After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, I was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas, and later served in the first Gulf War. During that time, I was selected to be on a panel that heard evidence in a military trial and I was fascinated by the trial experience. While I was in Iraq, my wife, Rhonda – who also was in the military – started law school at Baylor University and later clerked for a 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge. Around that time, I decided to pursue a career in law and attended the University of Texas Law School. I had the advantage of being able to ask my wife all the questions a first-year law student wonders about. So I had a little bit of a leg up because of Rhonda. D&tB: What were the key steps and challenges you faced in first achieving success as a lawyer and how did you overcome these? JH: I was not a good writer when I joined McGuireWoods and I needed to improve. I worked with partners who had different communication styles and different ways of coaching my writing. It was important to take correction well and to learn from constructive criticism. I read briefs and other documents that my partners had written so I could learn by their example, and that worked well for me. 1

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Another challenge I faced was that some attorneys said I was unlikely to get trial experience as a young associate. At the risk of being a pest, I regularly asked my partners to keep me in mind if they needed help on cases. You can’t be afraid to ask for what you want, and when an opportunity arises, you have to take it. I also gained experience by handling pro bono matters. I was very lucky to have mentors like Dana Rust, Gary Marshall and Carter Younger who gave me cases to handle early in my career. D&tB: What, in your opinion, can and should law firms be doing in regards to extending the pipeline for diverse entrants? What would your top practical tip be to achieve that? JH: It’s very unfortunate that the percentage of diverse lawyers working in big law firms is as low as it is. There is great diverse legal talent in the market, but they are choosing different career options. But there are diverse lawyers out there and we can’t be satisfied looking in the same places for new talent. McGuireWoods developed a custom diversity dashboard that uses U.S. census data, along with other sources, to compare the firm’s hiring activity in key markets with demographics of lawyers living in those cities. With this information, the firm can systematically strengthen our pipeline for recruiting women and diverse lawyers. We, as an industry, also need to create more opportunities for diverse law students, as well as high school students who might be interested in pursuing careers in law. McGuireWoods D & B M A G A Z I N E S P R I N G I S S U E 2 0 1 8 | W W W. M C C A . C O M


MCCA is a great forum to be with leaders, allies, and advocates who are making a real contribution to diversity in the legal profession. —MARK BRENNAN, PARTNER, HOGAN LOVELLS LLP

To me, participation in MCCA is a

necessity not a luxury. It’s an amazing organization that facilitates the intro-

duction between in-house and outside counsel, all of whom are committed

to the worthwhile goal of increasing diversity in the legal profession. —WILLIAM DELGADO, PARTNER, WILLENKEN WILSON LOH & DELGADO LLP


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has internship programs for diverse high school students and we have participated in the 1L LCLD (Leadership Council on Legal Diversity) scholars program since its inception in 2011 to provide law firm and in-house work experience to diverse firstyear law students. The 1L LCLD Scholars Program has created a pipeline of diverse talent that has aided the firm’s second-year summer associate program. Last year, our continued focus in attracting diverse talent yielded a class of our 21 summer associates, 11 of whom were women and 10 were racially or ethnically diverse. We extended offers to 20 of them to return. D&tB: Was there a particular individual or individuals whom you would say has been most influential in helping you achieve your success? JH: I’ve had many wonderful mentors throughout my career. In particular, George Martin, who is now managing partner of McGuireWoods’ Richmond office, and partners Dana Rust and Jackie Stone helped recruit and guide me toward the right path for my career. As I recall, at that time Jackie headed the firm’s recruiting committee, of which

George also was a member. When I came to McGuireWoods, I saw successful African American lawyers like George and Jackie in leadership positions and I knew I was in the right place. George advised me to join the firm’s Labor and Employment Department because that’s where I was going to get the most trial experience at the time. That decision set my career in motion. D&tB: Is there one professional achievement you’re most proud of and why? JH: I’m really proud to be chairman of McGuireWoods. I didn’t seek out the position and I never imagined I would be chairman when I joined the firm as an associate in 1995. So I am deeply honored to serve in this position. D&tB: For many lawyers a key differentiator in stepping up to become a partner is focusing more on business development and client relationships; was this something you found it easy to embrace or how did you find a style that worked for you? JH: Developing business and establishing strong client relationships boils down to being helpful DD && B BMM AA GG AA Z IZNI N E ES PS R P IRNI N G GI SI SS U SU E E2 02 10 81 8| |WW WW WW .M .M CCC AA . C. C OO MM

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As an active participant in MCCA events and through Stinson’s membership, I have been afforded an invaluable platform to build and maintain in-depth and meaningful relationships with clients and contacts who are genuinely committed to promoting diverse lawyers. I cannot stress how important it is to have a strong network of champions who push for greater diversity and inclusion across the legal field and beyond. That is what MCCA is to me. The opportunities through MCCA have not only raised my profile in the legal profession, but also that of my firm and the colleagues I have introduced to the organization over the last several years. — TRACI V. BRANSFORD, PARTNER, STINSON LEONARD STREET LLP

MCCA means that I am not only invited to the party, but that I am also invited to dance. — MELISSA C. RODRIGUEZ, PARTNER, MORGAN, LEWIS & BOCKIUS LLP

and a good listener. The first step to developing business is to look for work, and by that I mean volunteer to help your partners. You’ve got to invest time into honing your skills, and that may not be through billable work, it might be through pro bono experience. If you volunteer to help your partners and do excellent work, your peers will start calling on you to take on more work. That’s the internal marketing piece of business development. After I established a track record of achieving favorable results in labor and employment cases, clients started asking if I would try other types of cases, such as commercial litigation and patent cases in courts across the country. A key component of developing business is delivering excellent client service, and that comes from figuring out what is most important to the client. Preferences and objectives are unique to each client and may change from case to case or deal to deal. It is important to be responsive and to understand the client’s business, but you have to first ask the client what he or she wants so you can strategize on how best to achieve their goal. D&tB: What would your top tips be for other attorneys in finding a way to embrace their own style with business development and networking? JH: As an associate, I occasionally worked with a partner who was a wonderful rainmaker and happened to be African-American. He told me I needed to reconnect and spend time with my law school classmates. He invested a lot of time networking with contacts across the country and he was very successful at it. But I quickly figured out that strategy wasn’t going to work for me. I already spent so much time traveling around the country to try cases and I refused to give up the time I had left with my family. So my advice to diverse lawyers is the same for all lawyers. First, figure out what you’re passionate about and what your strengths are. Second, be diligent about gaining the experience you want. Third, learn different business development and 3

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networking strategies, but be yourself and do what is right for you. And finally, have something outside of your career that is important to you. For me, it’s my faith, family and volunteering in the ministries at a Bon Air juvenile detention center and the federal prison in Petersburg, Virginia. I’ve found that people who make the law their whole life burn out earlier in their careers. D&tB: Would you say you have your own style as a leader? I’ve adopted from my experience in the Army what I call a “servant leadership” style. If you want to lead, you must be willing to serve others. After I graduated from West Point and entered the Army, I met many people in my platoon who had fought in Vietnam or other conflicts. It was humbling to lead soldiers with that kind of experience, and I didn’t want to make the mistake of thinking I would come in on day one and tell them how to do the jobs they’ve been doing for 25 years. I believe everyone on a team is important, regardless of rank, and a leader is never going to be successful unless his or her team understands that they are needed. When everyone is encouraged to step up and apply their skills and knowledge, they work better as a team. D&tB: How important do you think it is that organizations in general -- and law firms, in particular -- embrace different styles and blueprints in regards to leadership? JH: It’s important for any organization to have diverse leaders who have diverse leadership styles. The key is to ensure those leadership styles evolve and adapt to lead the next generation of lawyers or employees. Everyone brings their own strengths, ideas and perspectives to a team. Having a range of leadership styles helps ensure everyone’s needs are met and there are a variety of styles from which to learn. D&tB: Where do you think the greatest challenge lies in the future for the legal industry in diversity and inclusion? D & B M A G A Z I N E S P R I N G I S S U E 2 0 1 8 | W W W. M C C A . C O M


I think the MCCA’s mission matters more now because of the sea of divisiveness in the political and social climate generally and the discord this has led to in the US. Given the important role lawyers play: we are at every segment of our society, in politics, business etc., so we’re well positioned to be an influencer and that’s our job. I would like to see the legal industry in the US better reflect our general population. There was a great disparity when I joined and there’s a great disparity today. I’m passionate about the MCCA and its mission is crucial and every lawyer needs to be doing more. —A.B. CRUZ, III, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF ENTERPRISE SHARED SERVICES FOR THE CHIEF LEGAL OFFICE, UNITED SERVICES AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION, INC. (USAA)

Thank you to our members.

Together we’re advancing diversity, inclusion and equity. 32

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JH: The legal profession continues to struggle with the advancement of diversity and inclusion, particularly among the leadership ranks of large law firms. This issue stems from the pipeline dilemma. Roughly 30 percent of McGuireWoods’ leaders are women and diverse lawyers who serve as executive committee members, department chairs, industry team leaders and office managing partners. That’s a great start, but there’s still much more to be done, both at our firm and within the legal industry. Advancing diversity and inclusion within the industry starts with law firms’ and legal departments’ hiring, retention and promotion strategies.

more inclusive environment. The firm leveraged in-house talent to create a diversity dashboard to inform and advance this effort, so we know where our biggest challenges and opportunities are. I plan to keep firm leadership focused on achieving greater diversity in leadership positions and within practices, to take advantage of strategic resources and programs that I mentioned earlier, and to partner with our clients to develop new and more effective approaches. The firm’s Diversity Action Council, chaired by the firm’s managing partner, Tracy Walker, is very active in driving accountability with our department chairs and other firm leaders who make


IN MY PLATOON WHO HAD FOUGHT IN VIETNAM OR OTHER CONFLICTS. IT WAS HUMBLING TO LEAD SOLDIERS WITH THAT KIND OF EXPERIENCE... It’s not enough to simply hire women and diverse lawyers. We have to create better opportunities for them to get quality work and ascend to leadership ranks. McGuireWoods created two programs to help develop and retain our diverse lawyers. Our mentorship program, in which many of our most successful partners serve as mentors, supports diverse associates on the partnership track to ensure they get quality work and career guidance to excel at a large law firm. Our women’s leadership program that provides wonderful leadership development and networking opportunities, and cultivates skills necessary to become successful partners. We are developing a similar leadership program for our ethnically and racially diverse associates. D&tB: As chairman, what’s your main focus for McGuireWoods in regards to diversity and inclusion? JH: We have a laser focus on hiring, developing, retaining and promoting diverse and women lawyers with a view toward building an even

decisions impacting this area. To hold ourselves accountable, we have implemented specific measures to evaluate our progress toward our hiring, retention, and promotion goals. We also have extended our diversity goals to firm vendors through our Diverse Supplier Program. D&tB: Finally, with hindsight, what would be the one piece of advice you’d give your younger self? JH: I’ve loved trying cases since I joined McGuireWoods as a summer associate. I kept my head down and focused on litigation. But if I could, I would tell my younger self to spend more time learning about the broad range of matters the firm handles. From corporate transactions to regulatory matters to McGuireWoods Consulting’s strategic communications and public affairs campaigns. I think having a better understanding of the work we do across praactices and industries would have allowed me to help more of my partners and firm clients earlier in my career. DD && B BMM AA GG AA Z IZNI N E ES PS R P IRNI N G GI SI SS U SU E E2 02 10 81 8| |WW WW WW .M .M CCC AA . C. C OO MM

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AN INTERVIEW WITH A.B. CRUZ III By Catherine McGregor As the Senior Vice President of Enterprise Shared Services for the Chief Legal Office at USAA, A.B. Cruz III leads the legal teams that support USAA’s C-suite members and their teams, including the COO, CHRO, CTDO, CMO and CAO. Prior to joining USAA his experience spanned the business, legal and military fields and he helped lead two global media companies, the E.W. Scripps Company and Scripps Networks Interactive, and the specialty pharmaceutical company, Emergent BioSolutions. A.B. also served in the U.S. Navy for more than 33 years, primarily in the special operations, special warfare and surface warfare areas, retiring as a rear admiral. He currently chairs the MCCA board of directors. D&B caught up with him to find out where he sees the direction of the organization going and why it critical we don’t lose sight of our goals. As a member of the MCCA board, diversity is obviously important to you. Can you just speak a bit about why that is the case for you personally? I’m a big believer that diversity is a real competitive advantage for organizations, and if the power of diversity is left untapped, the full potential of an organization simply cannot be realized. Soon after I began practicing law in 1992, I realized just how homogeneous and lacking in diversity the legal profession was at that time. And as I progressed in my career, I saw that there was even less diversity at the more senior levels of the industry, certainly not at all reflective of the surrounding population or even other professional industries for that matter. This lack of diversity within my own profession became a real concern for me and I began to look for oth34 D D& &B BMMA AG GA AZ IZNI NE ES PS RP IRNI NG GI SI SS US UE E2 02 10 81 8| 1


A.B. CRUZ III. ers who shared my concern and identify ongoing efforts aimed at addressing the issue. I came across the 1999 document signed by a large number of corporate chief legal officers entitled “Diversity in the Workplace – A Statement of Principle” and then later “A Call to Action – Diversity in the Legal Profession,” an effort led by Rick Palmore. In 2004, when I took on my first GC job, I was introduced to MCCA. Its purpose resonated with me because its mission was to promote the recruitment, retention and advancement of diverse attorneys in law firms and corporate law departments. Soon thereafter, I found myself sitting down with MCCA’s founder Lloyd M. Johnson, Jr. and next thing I knew I was on the MCCA board. Today, MCCA’s mission remains the same and as vital as it ever has since its founding in 1997. What does the MCCA mean to you and what’s driven your engagement with the organization? At MCCA, we have the slogan: “It Still Matters.” I often add to this my own slogan: “It Matters More Today.” Indeed, I believe MCCA’s mission matters more now especially given the prevalence and depth of discord and divisiveness we’re seeing in communities and society in general across the U.S. on many fronts--political, social and business. Lawyers are uniquely positioned to play pivotal and positive roles because we are often situated at every intersection, segment and corner of our society, including government, academics, politics, busi-

ness, community affairs, and on and on. So, we’re well positioned to be positive influencers and impact players who can enhance understanding of underlying issues, bridge gaps and help navigate matters within the Constitutional and rule-of-law frameworks under which we all live. Indeed, this is every lawyer’s ethical obligation. To be better equipped to fulfill our responsibilities and uphold our obligations, we need the legal profession in the U.S. to better reflect the demographics of the citizens and workforces we serve. There was a great disparity when I joined MCCA and unfortunately there remains a great disparity today. I’m passionate about MCCA’s mission and the catalyst role it plays in bringing more diversity into this country’s law firms and corporate law departments. There is much work to be done. USAA obviously has an inclusive mission in providing financial services to the military, veterans and their families. How does inclusion and diversity play out in USAA. Are there any particular issues you, yourself are more focused on in regards to your team and your organization? At USAA, we recognize the extreme importance of having a diverse and inclusive workforce, including the competitive advantages we gain through diversity and inclusion. You’re correct that we have the honor of serving military members and their families, which is obviously a very diverse community in every sense of the word. At USAA, we often proudly point out that, “We know what it means to serve.” For example, we deeply value having former military and military spouses working here, and this means a great deal to our more than 12 million members. The principles of diversity and inclusion are interwoven into our core values and are reflected in how we live and operate here. It is something that has our full focus and attention, all the way from our board of directors and CEO to all levels throughout the company. Within USAA’s Chief Legal Office in particular, we have very specific diversity and inclusion goals to achieve, so that we eventually will become a

showcase for what “good” looks like. These goals extend externally to those law firms and other service providers with whom we engage to support us. We look to align ourselves with third parties that share our core values when it comes to serving the military and diversity and inclusion. One of our immediate goals is taking a close look at the diversity make up of those who are assigned to work on our matters and, in turn, partnering with our providers to ensure improvements are made and to support each other’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. This is the challenge and opportunity upon which the whole legal industry needs to seize upon. What do you see as the greatest challenges for the wider legal profession in D&I and any thoughts on how we can achieve change? We’re seeing more diverse lawyers enter the legal profession, which is good, but within a matter of a few years, their numbers fall by the wayside disappointingly quickly. And they are certainly not reaching the highest levels of the industry, except in those very rare exceptions. At USAA, our CLO team is committed to developing our entire pipeline of legal professionals and developing our diverse attorneys along with everyone else as full equal participants. When you look at our very top tiers of legal leadership, starting with our chief legal officer, Deneen Donnley, who is an African American female, it reflects a broadly diverse group. We have a very high percentage of women, and racially/ethnically diverse attorneys are also well represented amongst our leadership ranks. Part of our success in this critical area is really tied to our developmental and recruiting efforts for which we consistently strive to have diverse participation in development opportunities and diverse candidate slates. One of my top tips for legal leaders, both at law firms and corporate law departments, is that we own this problem together. How we move forward cannot simply be the general counsels laying out goals and issuing edicts for law firms to meet. Instead, if we really want to advance the ball on this, we all need to work together. In this regard, Jean DD && B BMM AA GG AA Z IZNI N E ES PS R P IRNI N G GI SI SS U SU E E2 02 10 81 8| |WW WW WW .M .M CCC AA . C. C OO MM

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Lee and the MCCA team fulfill an important role where the MCCA acts as the facilitator for and architect of many of these partnerships and provides the ideas and best practices to help lay a purposeful path forward. It’s crucial for industry players to share best practices and for folks to explore the full range of possible synergies so that the most benefit can be reaped from the collaboration between outside and inside counsel. Again, one thing that is exceptionally powerful is when a corporate client and its outside law firms share certain core values. If they do, then it’s easy to establish and share a platform upon which to build joint programs and initiatives around a shared purpose, like advancing diversity and inclusion within the legal profession. There’s a lack of Hispanic lawyers in proportion to the general population. What do you think organizations like MCCA and the profession in general need to be doing to address that? Sadly, you’re right. There is definitely a lack of Hispanic lawyers. I think the last statistic I saw for Hispanic attorneys nationwide was 4% of the overall attorney population in the U.S. This shortage is even more pronounced in Texas where I currently

groups such as the Hispanic National Bar Association and its affiliates. By gathering this community of lawyers, we can have more meaningful discussions on the issue and exchange thoughts, ideas and best practices, and work more collectively to make real inroads and create opportunities for this community of lawyers. MCCA can serve as a facilitator and catalyst and its events can be fertile gathering points at which to bring together critical masses of like-minded folks to rally around a common need or shared problem. As is the issue with other diverse groups, the attrition rate of Hispanic lawyers as they attempt to climb their way up the legal profession is tremendously high. We need to be working with individual lawyers and their organizations to tailor and map not only how we are going to retain young talent, but also see to it that they will have real opportunities to be developed and advanced. To bloom where they grow, so to speak. Part of MCCA’s purpose going forward will be to gather and disseminate best practices to help make sure that individual lawyers and their organizations define achievement and success in ways that allows individuals to achieve

live, given that Hispanics make up about 39% of the Texas population. While there is so much that will have to be done to address the foregoing disparity, there are things that can be done today. For example, MCCA will hold its GTEC conference in Austin, smack dab in the middle of Texas. So, with an eye towards convening as many Hispanic lawyers as possible at the conference—both law firm attorneys and inhouse attorneys—we will speak with Hispanic lawyer

success in more inclusive ways. Where do you think the key challenges for the legal industry in general regarding diversity lie over the next ten years? I worry about de-prioritization. In 2008, when the bottom fell out of the U.S. economy, a near immediate de-prioritization of D&I programs across the legal industry occurred. Economic instability or uncertainty became a convenient excuse for organizations to streamline their priorities, which in



many cases resulted in D&I programs, or at least the resources needed to execute these programs, to be shelved or re-purposed. D&I programs should be as much a part of the strategic and operational plans of organizations as are products and services and P&Ls. Because the power of diversity can fuel an organization’s competitive advantage, its inclusion in operational and strategic plans in terms of workforce and customer service optimization is essential. There exists a significant business case for diversity. Simply put, diverse organizations tend to perform better. So, when it comes to D&I, it can’t just be a tag-on conversation. It’s got to be central to the measure of an organization’s success, and be discussed at board, CEO and COO meetings, and not just by the head of the organization’s diversity committee. What role can, and should, general counsel and clients play in trying to promote change? The role of GC is pivotal. They are part of an industry which, of all the professional industries, has the absolute worst metrics when it comes to diversity. CLOs/GCs tend to be members of the C-suite and often have great influence at the highest levels of the

generate positive momentum towards shared objectives. A lot of headway can be made when GCs and law firm leaders work together. How do you see the mission of MCCA developing in the future? I want our twentieth year to be just as ambitious as our first year. Over the many years since I entered the legal profession, there have been distinct inflection points when the issue of diversity and inclusion has been thrust into the spotlight. For instance, in 2004, Rick Palmore issued his “call to action” on diversity within the legal profession and rallied many fellow corporate GCs (I among them) to commit to help address the issue. Here we are in 2018, and I think we’ve arrived at another inflection point. I have made it clear with our board at MCCA that we need to reinvigorate the MCCA, its place, its purpose and its membership. To step up our game, if you will. Our members, and frankly the entire legal profession, deserve more and we need to deliver greater value and make good things happen in the D&I space, so that in the end we can say “mission accomplished!” I would like to see our twentieth year be one in which passion brings action—where people come togeth-

“Our members, and frankly the entire legal profession, deserve more and we need to deliver greater value and make good things happen in the D&I space, so that in the end we can say ‘mission accomplished!’” company, including at the board level. As such, what they say and do matter and have great influence on what will be done and how. So, if they focus their attention on advancing D&I, they can make things move forward. A CLO/GC is uniquely positioned to introduce concepts and thought leadership around the issue within their own company and across the entire legal profession especially when they work alongside their fellow GCs. They can also have great influence on vendors and law firms, and create partnerships around common core values and

er, wrap their enthusiasm and efforts around the importance of D&I, cultivate and share good ideas, and then devise and execute plans. In 20 years hence, it would be nice to proclaim, “mission accomplished” and I would love it if our mission became irrelevant because the legal industry has become so diverse that it’s no longer an issue. I’d like to think MCCA would have had a key role in making that happen.


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JUST A LITTLE OVER TEN YEARS AGO, THE MCCA AND DIVERSITY & THE BAR CELEBRATED A JOINT 10TH YEAR ANNIVERSARY BY HIGHLIGHTING We spoke with Lanesha Minnix, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of building materials and construction company BMC, and Samantha Grant, a Labor & Employment Partner in the Century City, California office of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, an Am Law 100 Global Firm. We asked them how they have navigated through the rapid and fundamental changes in cultural, political and professional spheres, and where it places diverse attorneys following in their trails. 2007 was a time heavily weighted in transition; it marked the year before Obama was elected as President of the United States, it was the year of the mortgage crisis which preceded the global recession, and it was the year the first generation iPhone was introduced, profoundly changing the way we interact, think and communicate what of the issues surrounding diversity and inclusion since that time? This magazine highlighted three major 38

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areas as being obstacles to D&I - namely implicit bias, lack of mentors, and the pipeline problem. In the ten years since, have those issues been resolved, or simply replaced by others - and how have diverse lawyers forged their way through a period of time that was once imbued with such hope? Diversity & the Bar: Over the last ten years, what have been your key learnings? Lanesha Minnix: I have always been a person who enjoys learning and evolving. As a junior lawyer I believed that being an “expert” and demonstrating world class legal analysis would be the needed skills for success. Though I was able to showcase and demonstrate these skills, I quickly learned that this was not enough. Business leaders want a business-oriented lawyer that understands the industry and competitive landscape. They want us to solve business problems based on our legal expertise but without the legalese. Leaders are often time-con-

By Jodi Bartle

TEN AFRICAN AMERICAN ATTORNEYS TO WATCH. DIVERSITY & THE BAR WENT BACK TO TWO OF THOSE TEN LAWYERS TO WATCH. strained and they want complex issues synthesized into plain context with easily identified solutions. I have learned to take a pragmatic approach to solving problems and this has made me a more effective lawyer and business leader. Secondly, if you are at the table or in the room be sure to use your voice. Early in my career I found myself not sharing or carefully selecting when I shared my opinions, thoughts or ideas. I would participate in meetings with seasoned professionals and C-suite leaders and I would question whether my perspective was valuable. I cautiously remained silent or shared my perspective “off-line” only to have someone else share my ideas and get recognition or acknowledgment for my thought. This was frustrating but also instructive. I had to learn to be confident and how to have my voice heard. Part of the value of diversity is the diversity of thought you have when a variety of people are at the table. Good leaders create the space for all

voices to be heard and included but it is also the role of the individual to share their voice. If you are at the table, you have an obligation to speak up and to be involved. As women we get into these spaces and we don’t feel we have anything to contribute, like we don’t belong or deserve to be there, but you have to get outside of your own head with that. Samantha Grant: I have learned to be a more strategic litigator, keeping in mind not just the litigation itself but also the impact on the client’s business operations, brand and overall objectives. Clients increasingly tell me that they value both my legal skills and my business acumen. With the combination of the two, clients can truly rely on your judgment. In my earlier years, I was not as keenly aware of the importance of knowing a client’s business and industry inside and out. I have also been really able to leverage my firm’s technology to litigate my cases as well as perform my D &DB& B M AMGAAGZAI Z N IEN E S P SRPI N R IGN G I S SI SUSEU 2 E 0 21 08 1 |8 W | W WW W. W M .CMCCAC. A C .OCM O M 39 2

firm administrative tasks very efficiently and seamlessly whether I’m at my desk in Los Angeles or on business travel. With respect to firm culture, I have become more cognizant that diversity, inclusion, and equity must permeate all decisions in law firms and touch on all aspects of the business. It is not enough simply to have a D&I committee working in isolation. All firm committees should reflect the importance of diversity, inclusion, and equity not only because of the moral imperative, but also because it will generally result in better decision-making and a superior outcome. It is particularly important for firm executive and compensation committees to reflect diversity. Moreover, it is critical for firm leadership and “non-diverse” allies to have key roles in promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity. D&I

you have “mastery” of your craft you can provide the best service to your employer and to your clients and this is one of the foundational building blocks for a successful career. Build strong technical acumen first - without that, nothing else matters. It’s also important to take risks in your career and having the “growth mindset” where you are focused on continuously developing and getting better. Invariably as you work hard and get noticed for superb work, you will get presented with opportunities to take on stretch assignments, manage people or move into an international role. I have found I got the most reward in my career when I stepped outside of my comfort zone. It taught me how to build muscles in a different way and it helped me build a reputation within my organization that I was willing to roll up my sleeves and

With respect to firm culture, I have become more cognizant that diversity, inclusion, and equity must permeate all decisions in law firms and touch on all aspects of the business. —SG committees used to be made up of only diverse attorneys; we then realized that the firm leadership must demonstrate their D&I commitment in order for the firm culture to change. Having allies on the D&I committee sends a powerful message to and generates more buy-in from all the attorneys in the firm. At my firm, for example, there is no bigger champion of D&I than our Firm Chairman. He has managed to weave D&I into the fabric of the firm. D&tB: What are your top tips for younger lawyers coming through? LM: I think you should strive for excellence. When 40 D D& &B BMMA AG GA AZ IZNI NE ES PS RP IRNI NG GI SI SS US UE E2 02 10 81 8| 3


help. If you take risks, your management will start to think of you as a go-to player and then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that more opportunities will be available. And finally be the architect of you own career. It is good to rely on mentors and sponsors to point out opportunities and help you think about how to approach your career, but ultimately the architect of your career should be you. Put in place your goals, articulate what you want and then seek experiences and supporters who can help you get there. SG: Newer attorneys should take control of their own careers early because no one should be more

invested in their success than they are. The first thing new attorneys should do is become the “indispensable associate” based on their excellent work and responsiveness. Once they have built the important skills and knowledge in their practice area, they should strive to become a subject matter or industry expert and have a niche so they can be viewed as the go-to attorney by partners and clients. They should also cultivate relationships and create their own opportunities outside their firms so they have a personal brand and network of contacts by the time they are expected to develop business. They have to be patient though and put in the work and time over years, which is why they should do what is gratifying professionally and personally so they have no regrets about the way they

Newer lawyers should also actively seek out mentors, supporters, and champions inside and outside their firms or organizations, and not necessarily ones who look like them. When creating their own personal board of directors, they should consider including a more senior person in the organization who may share similar diversity traits and can provide guidance having walked before the new lawyer in the same shoes and those who may not look like them on the surface and can provide a different perspective. They should certainly consider who has influence and is in a position to help them develop professionally and champion them in discussions with other partners. D&tB: What are the particular challenges facing African American women in the legal profession now?

Newer lawyers should also actively seek out mentors, supporters, and champions inside and outside their firms or organizations, and not necessarily ones who look like them. —LM spent their time even if business or clients do not immediately flow. Based on my experience and through my mentorship of younger attorneys, I’m keenly aware that it is common for diverse associates to feel isolated when they are only one of a few of a particular demographic at their law firms. I encourage them to join local affinity bar associations where they will find individuals in their cities with whom they can meet and discuss their shared similar experiences. They can learn from those who have come before them as well as develop strategies for success and find camaraderie with peers.

LM: I think we are facing many of the same challenges we faced ten years ago. Obviously there has been some progress made but there is always the double minority challenge: we have conversations about how to improve gender diversity in the legal profession and then we separately hear about how to improve ethnic diversity in the legal profession. Thankfully we are now starting to talk about being a double or even a triple minority and how that experience may be different. There are unique challenges for women of color. I think one of the biggest challenges is that it is easy to get left out of social constructs where professional DD && B BMM AA GG AA Z IZNI N E ES PS R P IRNI N G GI SI SS U SU E E2 02 10 81 8| |WW WW WW .M .M CCC AA . C. C OO MM

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SAMANTHA GRANT relationships naturally develop; on the golf course, during hunting trips, or informal mentoring during impromptu lunches. These social interactions often leave women and particularly women of color out of the conversation. I don’t think it is intentional but it is natural that people gravitate to the people they feel they have commonality with. As a woman of color, finding opportunities to develop that rapport can be more challenging although certainly not impossible. Best-in-class organizations are starting to find creative ways to address these challenges specifically and we can all do more in this area to ensure we continue to make progress. SG: What I have learned, through my work as a Commissioner on the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession and, in particular from the Commission’s Women of Color Research Initiative, is that quite frequently when people think of strategies for promoting racial diversity and inclusion, they think of men of color first, and when they think of gender, they think of Caucasian women first. Women of Color definitely have to create our own opportunities and proactively seek to build our own professional relationships inside and outside the firm. Equally importantly, when firms are spending resources and time to change the cultural environment, they have to think about intersectionality and realize that they may need a different approach when developing programs to promote the retention and advancement of women of color. 42 D D& &B BMMA AG GA AZ IZNI NE ES PS RP IRNI NG GI SI SS US UE E2 02 10 81 8| 5


D&tB: What investments into you and your career have made a difference? LM: I took a risk that I fundamentally believe changed the trajectory of my entire career when I took on an international assignment in the Middle East, working on one of the largest capital projects for my company at the time. I had never been in that part of the world, never lived outside of the US for any significant period of time and for me at least it was a huge risk. I was able to take on significant responsibility because of the scale and remote location of the project. It accelerated my development and it gave me exposure to some of the most senior leaders in the company and I learned how to work with a cross functional, global team. That experience was unparalleled for me and would have been extremely difficult to replicate in any other meaningful way. We hear the world is becoming smaller and more global, and so if you can get international experience it truly can be a key differentiator. SG: I was fortunate to be selected by a potential client, at the time, to do a secondment as employment counsel for a Fortune 50 company. I was initially reluctant to change my work environment, especially because I was comfortable in my role as outside counsel. I accepted the assignment to be a team player and help my firm land a new client; it turned out to be the most impactful developmental experience I had in my career. As a result, serving as in-house counsel for two years, I became a much more pragmatic and strategic outside counsel when providing advice and litigating cases. I learned the importance of knowing the business of my clients and the dynamics of the organization. That led me to find targeted and unique solutions to my clients’ legal problems while considering the business objectives and impact. I now create winning strategies for cases, which also minimize, to the extent possible, the disruption that litigation causes to the business of my clients. Being involved in bar associations, like the American Bar Association, Section of Labor & Em-

ployment Law and Minority Corporate Counsel Association, was particularly helpful to my personal development and my growth as an attorney and rainmaker. Through my own efforts and the assistance of several mentors and supporters who had leadership roles in the ABA Section of Labor & Employment Law and MCCA, I have had the opportunity to speak on cutting-edge labor and employment and diversity and inclusion programs and to serve in several leadership roles. That experience helped me build my knowledge, skills, and confidence as well as enhance my firm’s brand and my own brand. Now, I’m honored and thrilled to be Vice-Chair of the ABA’s Section of Labor & Employment Law and a member of MCCA’s Advisory Board. These leadership positions allow me to do for newer attorneys what others did, and are still doing, for me in my career. On the personal side, I have developed life-long friendships through my involvement in bar and civic associations, which have also had a meaningful effect on me. D&tB: Lanesha, can you tell me about MCCA’s C-Suite program - how did the program change things for you? LM: The program [an effort to identify, develop and promote minority lawyers into senior leadership positions, to fundamentally change the landscape of the legal profession] is something I did a few years ago after having been in a Deputy General Counsel role. The C-Suite program was a remarkable experience because we had the opportunity to interact with and learn from current GCs. The ability to get insight into the daily work life of other GC’s was invaluable. We discussed not only the substantive requirements of the job but also the qualitative ones - having a high EQ and the importance of valuing people. The second thing about it was that it addressed that covert challenges we often face of feeling like you are in a silo which can be a lonely space. So many women of color or minorities in general get into situations or teams where they are the only one. This program gave me an immediate network

of other senior in-house lawyers who have similar work experiences and backgrounds and who want the same things. Having that opportunity to dialogue such an esteemed group was tremendously valuable. D&tB: Who or what are you inspired by? LM: One of the ways I get inspired is through a love of learning. I love to stretch myself and get out of my area of expertise - I enjoy listening to people tell their stories, learning from those who are wiser, and those who were my senior when I was a younger lawyer. Ironically, as I have progressed in my career, I am increasingly find inspiration from younger professionals by the ways they approach the world and have embraced technology and innovation as a game changer for our profession. As a leader, every week, I try to find time to thank others for what they have done and find ways to show other people that they are appreciated perhaps someone on my team or external counsel who helped me on a project - whatever it is I try to have an attitude of gratitude and pay it forward. SG: With respect to building my character, my mother provided the greatest inspiration. In many ways, she is like those champions of diversity I just described. She showed and taught me how to be resilient and persevere no matter what challenges I may face. Now, when faced with adversity, I think about her resilience and her message that if we get knocked down, we will not be kept down. That’s how I have approached my career and what I think


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about when I consider how to move the needle in the diversity and inclusion movement - we have to keep persevering because there is no other option. I feel truly privileged to be a member of this profession. It is not perfect and there is much work to be done to achieve diversity, inclusion, and equity, but I’m inspired by those who have gone before me and the current leaders of corporations, law firms and bar associations who continue to work towards these goals even in the face of very slow and incremental change. It is especially meaningful that in-house counsel are not focused solely on their own corporate law departments; they are using their positions to help achieve diversity and inclusion in the profession, as a whole, and in law firms, in particular. The collaboration between these leaders and entities on the shared goal of retaining and promoting diverse attorneys will go a long way to finding the right solutions to measure and achieve success. D&tB: Ten years ago, Diversity & The Bar highlighted implicit bias, lack of mentors and the pipeline problem as fundamental in blocking the path to diversity. Has there been significant headway made with any of these broad problems? LM: These issues still exist, although maybe in different ways. In regards to the pipeline, I struggle with this, because when you look at the research, data shows that there are just as many women as men entering law schools so I don’t know if we have a pipeline problem in the traditional sense. As lawyers get more senior and at the higher levels of leadership, we start losing women and minorities at a disproportionate rate. Although there are lots of reasons for this, we still have to figure out how to address it. Maybe we are improving from ten years ago, but we do have a problem at the higher levels and there is still more progress that needs to be made. As a GC, I invariably spend a significant amount of time hiring and managing external counsel. I have found that large law firms have a greater presence of women and minority partners and as44 D D& &B BMMA AG GA AZ IZNI NE ES PS RP IRNI NG GI SI SS US UE E2 02 10 81 8| 7


sociates than in the past. We have the opportunity as in-house lawyers when hiring outside counsel to hire women or minorities to work on our matters. And importantly we also have the ability to ensure that the diverse lawyer hired actually receives the origination credit within his/her firm. It is one thing to say we want to see diverse lawyers ascending the ranks in law firms and being named equity partner or voted onto management committees but that only happens when those diverse lawyers have a compelling internal business case which as in-house lawyers we have an ability to help facilitate. SG: To some extent, those challenges still exist. There are, however, many pipeline programs designed to increase the number of diverse individuals entering our profession. For example, UCLA School of Law launched the Law Fellows Program in 1997, in part, to increase the diversity of the law school pool and to help students have a successful law school experience and career. Similar programs exist around the country, such as the Constitutional Rights Foundation, which target students even earlier. My firm has long been involved in partnerships with diversity pipeline programs that serve law, high school and even junior high school students. We provide financial and volunteer support for programs like Street Law, mock trial programs, first generation professional programs, high school law academies and law office internships. The bigger challenge is retention and advancement of diverse attorneys in majority firms. Most firms have done training on how to deal with implicit bias and understand it is an ongoing problem against which we all need to guard. We also need to understand that organizational transfomation must go hand in hand with eliminating bias so that systems, policies and procedures do not continue to pose invisible barriers. We must also track, analyze and measure diversity and inclusion results on an ongoing basis and retool them as needed in order to effect lasting change.


By Jodi Bartle

enjamin Wilson, Chairman of Beveridge & Diamond, environmental litigator and tireless supporter of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, is nursing a transatlantic cold. When we speak, he has just returned from Germany where he acts as Deputy Monitor on the Volkswagen emissions case - aka Dieselgate - which resulted from the emissions scandal in 2015. He is in familiar territory here - he also serves as the Court-Appointed Monitor for the Duke Energy coal ash spill remediation project, another environmental disaster with far-reaching consequences. “Environmental work deals with legacy issues - it isn’t just about litigation and beating the brains out of the other side. If you chop down a two thousand year old redwood, it is not coming back and if you pollute the water you don’t have a clean source anymore, and so the choices we make not only impact us but affect generations to come. Transboundary issues are also key - what happens in the US affects Canada or Mexico, while a nuclear disaster in Japan has an impact a thousand miles away. As Martin Luther King effectively said, we are all inextricably connected.” These concepts of legacy and interconnectedness extend into Wilson’s status and service as a champion of diverse representation for women and minorities in the legal field. He has a grand vision for the profession, insisting on transformational change. “Some people just want a little bit of change, but I want it to be transformational. If we don’t change the profes1

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BENJAMIN WILSON sion on the diversity issue we will lose so many talented people…fewer students are taking the LSATS and as many as 20-25 per cent of law school students are diverse. Who wants to go through life excluding one fifth or one quarter of the available talent? From a gendered perspective, that is half the people in the world and for the LGBT community we are looking at another four to five percent of people. The point here is that diversity is absolutely essential to the vitality of the legal profession.” Wilson’s approach to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion is rooted in the pragmatic; that before you can presume to be a thought leader outside of your firm in this area, you have to make certain your firm is ‘walking the walk’. It is critical, he says, that those who serve as leaders in law firms field diverse teams in management committees, practice group leaders, chairs and managing partners. “At our firm we are working hard at that, especially as it relates to women, although we could do better as it relates to people of colour. We have a good record with LGBT D & B M A G A Z I N E S P R I N G I S S U E 2 0 1 8 | W W W. M C C A . C O M


We remembered what my mother said about doing a thorough job so we took 30 days and made a list of over 300 African American attorneys, men and women in law firms all over the country, in over 30 different practice areas. If they needed antitrust lawyers we could give them 20 names - if they needed banking lawyers, we had 30 names. and active participation in a meaningful way at our firm, but there is still work to do.” Beyond the firm’s capacity, Wilson cites his longtime active support of MCCA (‘who are at the forefront of the battle’) as being an important factor in his D&I influence and he is active with the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity which boasts a fellows program of diverse (but not exclusively) partners and counsel. “Several thousand people have been through that program, with an overall goal of having invested in the careers of 10,000 diverse people, broadening their approach and enhancing their careers.” Working together with organizations like MCCA, Wilson has seen change effected. Wilson firmly asserts that his efforts to connect people together and to provide support networks for the diverse community have been part of a collaborative team approach, and namechecks the work of colleagues such as John Daniels, Chair Emeritus of Quarles & Brady, as being instrumental to transformational change. In 2008, Wilson initiated the Diverse Partners Network - first in Washington, DC and later nationally - ‘in order to find a way to ensure certain diverse partners were speaking, knew each other, knew what each other’s talents were, and could refer matters to each other.’ He cites the need for diverse attorneys to have access to move in and out of government and the private sector in the same way that non-diverse lawyers do, and he says the Diverse Partners Network

(DPN) is having some success in that regard. In addition to meetings, the DPN has a weekly newsletter that circulates to six thousand diverse lawyers across America and around the world with the express purpose of networking and promoting success. “If someone wins a case or gets a promotion, we want someone other than their mother to know about it.” Additionally, Wilson has organized a group of African American general counsel and managing partners who meet a couple of times a year. At one of these meetings, Wilson tells the story of a GC of a major company who said he didn’t have many diverse contacts, and did Wilson have an recommendations? “We remembered what my mother said about doing a thorough job so we took 30 days and made a list of over 300 African American attorneys, men and women in law firms all over the country, in over 30 different practice areas. If they needed antitrust lawyers we could give them 20 names - if they needed banking lawyers, we had 30 names.” Wilson is adamant that the profession needs to change its tactics, and adoption of the Mansfield Rule (named after Arabella Mansfield, the first female admitted to the bar in the US) is pivotal to this. The Mansfield Rule mandates diverse candidates must be at least 30 per cent of the candidate pool for promotions for senior level hiring and significant leadership roles in the firm. But Wilson believes things must go even deeper.


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“I think the better, more enlightened law firms will ensure that when they are going on client pitches, women and diverse attorneys are not only part of the team, not only playing a meaningful role in the work, but that they will get some ‘credit’ for the work from a compensation standpoint. When the only person who gets credit is an older, senior male partner, then it doesn’t say a lot for succession planning. In most law firms, originating work plays a significant role in terms of compensation, and it all plays a role in how you are regarded in the firm and how people view you for leadership positions.” As much as the pipeline problem is still an issue blocking D&I. This is an issue that takes hold on early on, “In many cities, half the Afri3

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can American young men who start the ninth grade are not there by graduation day. Where did they go? What happened to them? Who is concerned about them?” Wilson says the Mansfield Rule addresses the critical issue of how minorities are treated once they are established in firms and companies. “If they get meaningful work and then are being rewarded for that work, then they will stay - and if they aren’t, they will either go to a different firm or they will leave the profession all together.” In an age of accelerated, digitally-enabled activism and divisive political figures and regimes, Wilson reminds me that “this isn’t the first time that our rights and opportunities have been challenged but it is the most recent. Lawyers in this space play a special role, with an ability to apply the rule of law, so right now is an ideal legal opportunity.” Wilson grew up in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1950s and 60s, profoundly influenced by the political climate of the time, such as the lynching of 14 year old Emmett Till for whistling at a white woman. “ James Meredith (the first African American to attend the University of Mississippi) had the renowned civil rights lawyer, Constance Baker Motley represent him in his case to be granted admission to the still segregated school. Meredith’s wife, Mary-Jane Wiggins was Wilson’s student teacher, so the case was an early source of inspiration. Wilson found Constance Baker Motley herself inspiring, “She was the first woman I had ever heard of who had three names and I thought she must be eight feet tall because she was doing what no man could ever do. She had a grand intellect and a steely determination and I thought she was amazing. I saw the difference a lawyer could make and I was hoping I could use that ability to impact the world around me too.” D & B M A G A Z I N E S P R I N G I S S U E 2 0 1 8 | W W W. M C C A . C O M




UK, The Legal Social and Mobility Partnership By Catherine McGregor


INFORMATIVE DIVERSITY INITIATIVES AROUND THE WORLD, WHICH MIGHT GIVE MCCA MEMBERS AND BEYOND NEW PERSPECTIVES ON THEIR OWN WORK IN CREATING A MORE DIVERSE AND INCLUSIVE LEGAL PROFESSION. The UK-based Social Mobility Business Partnership (SMBP) has been active since 2014 with the aim to provide practical skills and to help students from socially disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue a career in the legal or accountancy professions. The criteria for inclusion are generally that the pupils are at a state (public) secondary (high) school, obtaining grades which put them in the frame for a career in law or finance, and are either the first generation in their family to apply to college or from low-income households (e.g. eligible for state benefits or where income before tax equal to or below average household expenditure). It’s something that the UK legal profession desperately needs. Research in 2015 by PRIME and The Sutton Trust, bodies set up to monitor social diversity in the legal profession, show that 50% of partners at the elite Magic Circle law firms were privately educated, compared to just 7% of the general population. The SMBP was inspired by a work placement scheme run in 2013 in collaboration between UK law firm Slaughter & May and their client, national UK TV broadcaster ITV. This then grew in to the predecessor scheme, the Legal Social Mobility Partnership, which provided places to 20 students in London; fast forward to 2018, SMBP (now a registered charity) will offer over 450 student places in nine cities. Barry Matthews, Director of Legal and Third-Party sales at ITV was 48 D D& &B BMMA AG GA AZ IZNI NE ES PS RP IRNI NG GI SI SS US UE E2 02 10 81 8| 1


(and still is) the driving force behind the initiative. For Matthews, it’s very much a personal mission. He grew up in a working class family and was told by his careers advisor that people from his social housing project “did not go to university, let alone study law”. He believes that socio-economic disadvantage is still often the ‘elephant in the room’; something which needs to be addressed as it is, in many ways, the lynchpin for a diverse society. Matthews told me, “We need to highlight the career journeys of those who grew up in disadvantaged circumstances as this is a characteristic which is not immediately obvious. With any number of industry diversity groups, the big elephant in the room is socio-economic starting point; I believe this is the true measure of diversity. I don’t think we can say we have a diverse profession by only referring to racial, gender or sexual orientation metrics. While important, these in themselves do not preclude an individual from being born into a family with the social advantage of connections in the profession or a private education. For example, it is well noted that one of the key underachieving groups in UK society is white working-class males; they often get ignored in traditional diversity debates because they do not fall within a category which has traditionally been monitored for diversity.” Socio-economic diversity also highlights the issues faced by underrepresented groups, as Matthews explains. “Once you start looking

through the socio-economic lens you see that underrepresentation of other ethnic groups is, to a large degree, due to poverty.” This is backed up by a plethora of research. The Runnymede Trust, Britain’s leading independent, racial equality thinktank has analyzed data from British census figures to show that today, nearly half of the ethnic minority children in the UK live in poverty. MORE THAN JUST WORK EXPERIENCE But what can work placement schemes run by lawyers do to help this? For Matthews, schemes like the SMBP give kids the potential for hope seeing the possibility of change and providing connections with those in the profession. This can then serve as a network, to mirror the more informal support networks that kids from advantaged backgrounds may have via relatives or friends of the family in the professions. Students spend four days over a week with four different in-house legal, finance and business teams at high profile companies and a day with a professional sports club to learn about the psychology of resilience and goal achievement. The week of work insight and skills training is designed to be as hands-on and immersive as possible; students are not merely brought in to watch other people working but are set realistic tasks and challenges and they get to participate in workshops to develop their employability skills. These include written and oral communication tasks, interviewing workshops and negotiationbusinessgames.Thisnotonlyimproves engagement but also provides all important anecdotes for students to use when asked competency-based questions at interviews e.g. Can you tell me about a time when you worked in a team to solve an issue? – essential for students who don’t have access to a wealth of extra-curricular activities. A key focus of the program is not just developing personal and interpersonal skills but also to provide ongoing support; after the program,

students can access virtual career coaching from the lawyers, accountants and business leads in the partner organizations and support at university through a tie-up with the charity Aspiring Solicitors. This combination of training and coaching can fundamentally assist those from socially disadvantaged backgrounds to bridge the gap in many of the invisible advantages (e.g. confidence born out of familiarity with the world of business and parental guidance) afforded to those from more advantaged backgrounds. A significant differentiator on the program is its use of sports psychology. It’s partly inspired by Matthews’ own experience as a rugby player but is also something he thinks is a key factor often overlooked when trying to increase socio-economic mobility. “Essentially, if you feel you may not belong in the first place then any rejection or set-back may be seen as a self-fulfilling prophecy which could lead you to abandon whatever path you were on.” For Matthews, professional sports clubs have a unique perspective on the psychology of resilience and goal achievement which adds an invaluable element to the programme. Led by Mark Soden (Elite Performance Coach), Jordan Turner Hall (Former Harlequins and England player) and Matthews, they work in partnership with clubs including Manchester United, Wasps rugby and Harlequins rugby. The aim is to take the techniques used to help players understand teamwork, leadership and resilience and morph these into a toolkit to help students to navigate the challenges of pursuing a career in law, accountancy or wider business. GETTING STARTED A challenge for many legal departments may be figuring out how to get involved in work experience programs due to the time and resource commitment – one needs to broker relationships with schools, project manage delivery, identify employees to create and deliver sessions and provide ongoing support to students. The SMBP DD && B BMM AA GG AA Z IZNI N E ES PS R P IRNI N G GI SI SS U SU E E2 02 10 81 8| |WW WW WW .M .M CCC AA . C. C OO MM

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model divides the responsibilities and therefore teams are only required to provide a day of content, some sandwiches and a contribution towards the student’s travel costs – SMBP does the rest. Beyond the week of experience, the online coaching platform allows volunteer coaches to regulate their input in line with work commitments. While mentoring is the ‘zen’ of support, all too often professionals shy away from committing on the basis of unpredictable work patterns. The SMBP coaching platform enables students to log in and submit enquiries about their résumés, application forms and interview preparation to three banks of coaches – legal, finance and business. Once submitted, coaches in the relevant bank are alerted to the enquiry and are encouraged to log on and assist – working in the same manner as an online support center one might expect from your bank. The student then enters into a chat stream (all monitored by SMBP) 50 D D& &B BMMA AG GA AZ IZNI NE ES PS RP IRNI NG GI SI SS US UE E2 02 10 81 8| 3


with the coach – the identity of whom is confined to their first name. Once the query is answered the chat stream is closed by the coach; when the student goes through the process again for their next enquiry, he or she may well get advice from another coach. Coaches are recruited from partner organizations. To be as flexible as possible, SMBP has three models for involvement: PRIME Gateway: Law firms affiliated to the PRIME commitment (an alliance of law firms across the UK, committed to improving access to the legal profession through work experience) ‘buddy up’ with a client and offer students on their PRIME week-long scheme the opportunity to join a SMBP Work Insight & Skills Week which features their client. Professional Service Firm/Client Co-delivery: Professional service firms ‘buddy up’ with their client to co-deliver a day in an SMBP Work Insight & Skills Week.

In-house Solo: In-house legal and/or finance teams provide days involvement from the panel firm. A SMBP Work Insight & Skills Week can also include a mixture of these participation models. The SMBP is based around a cluster model with one organisation taking the lead (as Cluster Head) in each city on a voluntary basis to keep costs to a minimum. The Cluster Head is responsible for overseeing the identification of the students, organising student travel between the various organisations/home and ensuring the content of each day of the week is complimentary and not repetitive. The SMBP central logistics team support to the Cluster Heads and assist with identifying the budget to help with travel costs outside of London and delivery of the SMBP induction day (supported by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Law Society of Scotland, CILEx, ACCA, ICAEW and ICAS) and the SMBP resilience day. Currently SMBP operates a geographical cluster model in nine UK locations: Glasgow, London, Manchester, Leeds, Norwich, Birmingham, Bristol, Brighton and Reading. To ensure adoption of the model is as easy as possible, Matthews and the SMBP team have identified key learnings from the five years duration of the program. This has been crafted into a toolkit to help businesses implement the process. BUILDING THE PIPELINE But what’s the impact and does it make a difference? In surveying students who have completed the initiative, SMBP reported that they came away feeling like a career in law was now a realistic and attractive option. This makes a big difference in how these students present themselves when they apply for university, work, or anything related to their careers. They also now have blue chip companies and law firms on their CVs, so their applications are certainly going to stand out from the crowd in regard to university admissions. In addition, the SMBP coaching platform and Aspiring Solicitors partnership enables students

to access ongoing advice and support in the future to help them pursue their career choice. Shama Aktar took part in the programme in 2015. She spent her week with ITV, Microsoft, Yahoo, Viacom and premier sports club Harlequins. Aktar has won a scholarship with Trowers & Hamlins and is now in her second year studying law at City, University of London. She feels this would not have been possible without her SMBP experience, commenting: “The program was very helpful in securing my scholarship for a number of reasons. In my interview, I mentioned what I had done on the program, how it had boosted my confidence, and how it heightened my interest in certain areas of law, particularly Intellectual Property. SMBP also prepared me by generally helping me to develop interview skills and being able to answer competency-based questions.” The pipeline is a key issue in all countries in regard to gaining a more diverse workforce. Increasingly, research and experience across the professions shows that the earlier young people are targeted for pipeline initiatives, the better the impact. Waiting until they are students at college can be too late and means that a whole cohort of potential candidates may be lost. Initiatives like SMBP aim to address this and make the UK legal and finance professions more diverse. If you have any questions about SMBP or are interested in bringing the program to the US please visit the website: www.smbp.org.uk or email Barry Matthews at barry.matthews@itv.com CATHERINE MCGREGOR

CATHERINE.MCGREGOR@MCCA.COM Catherine works as an independent advisor to law firms and legal departments around the world. Her work focuses on the practical challenges for modern legal departments, in-house lawyers and their companies and the related challenges and opportunities for their advisors that understanding their clients can bring. Additionally, she acts as Editor-in-Chief of Skaicre, a specialist community for real estate general counsel and lawyers. DD && B BMM AA GG AA Z IZNI N E ES PS R P IRNI N G GI SI SS U SU E E2 02 10 81 8| |WW WW WW .M .M CCC AA . C. C OO MM

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By Dianne Hayes

The Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) is delighted to celebrate and honor the commitment, dedication and innovation of law ďŹ rms, legal departments and organizations in their commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in the legal workforce. These leaders have gone above and beyond to impact change at every level to develop a solid pipeline of prepared professionals reaching out to communities, and having an impact that reaches far beyond the legal profession. MCCA proudly recognizes corporations, individuals and law ďŹ rms that have put their diversity mission statements into action. They have shown leadership and creativity in developing initiatives to address recruitment and retention, mentoring, pipeline development, LGBT initiatives, and supplier diversity inclusion. Our prestigious Employer of Choice award spotlights industry leaders who are committed to and succeed at creating and maintaining inclusive corporate legal departments. Celebrating creativity, the George B. Vashon Innovator Award highlights the innovative best practices of small companies (not in the Fortune 1000) and law ďŹ rms (less than 500 attorneys). and the Paula L. Ettelbrick award celebrates the achievements of an individual or organization in advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender attorneys. MCCA honors all its 2017 winners for their unwavering commitment to create a more diverse and inclusive legal community.


Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer, Comcast Corporation For as long as he can remember, David L. Cohen knew that he would become a lawyer, but he didn’t anticipate becoming a national diversity leader and one of the most influential people in media impacting programming, employment, policies and a large supply chain. With 159,000 employees and a media reach that covers the nation – 23 million video subscribers and nearly 17 million Internet subscribers – Cohen takes his internal and external influence seriously as the Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation, the nation’s largest internet and cable provider. Since the acquisition of NBCUniversal it has made the media giant a force to be reckoned with, but with that power comes responsibility. For Cohen, it was a conversation early on with Congresswoman Maxine Waters that reminded him of the impact and influence of his role; though, initially he was puzzled by her chiding. “Congresswoman Maxine Waters beat us up a little, questioning the company’s commitment on diversity,” Cohen recalled. “She said ‘David I have spent my entire career working toward diversity 54 D D& &B BMMA AG GA AZ IZNI NE ES PS RP IRNI NG GI SI SS US UE E2 02 10 81 8| 3


in the media. You are now entering a different world. This is my opportunity to motivate you and remind you that you are not only hiring and buying from suppliers, but you put images on TV. What you do has the potential to have a significant impact on diversity in the media space. “I thought that she was right. We have the opportunity to set a public standard for diversity and inclusion that can move the needle in corporate America.” Cohen has made diversity and inclusion a priority with remarkable outcomes, focusing on five primary areas which include: governance, workforce, suppliers, programming and community impact. Understanding that implementing strategic plans for diversity and inclusion begins at the top, Cohen and his team ensure that it is reflected in every aspect of business. Forty percent of the Board of Directors are diverse: 30 percent are people of color and 10 percent are women. Comcast connects teams from every part of the business with best practices that drive meaningful change, while holding each other accountable to make forward progress. The team’s work is driven by the Master Strategic Plan 2.0, which outlines a vision for the future of the Diversity & Inclusion program. With guidance from the internal Executive Diversity Council and external Joint Diversity Advisory Council, Comcast continues to enhance its diversity and inclusion strategies and practices. “I represent a fantastic team,” Cohen said. “We authorize them to make decisions and we support them. Diversity and inclusion impacts every function whether external affairs or legal, that same philosophy comes to bear. The model we try to achieve is that whatever success we achieve is due to our team efforts. “Great leaders have great teams. Anybody who believes that they can do everything themselves is mistaken.”

Working to ensure that the company reflect the communities it serves; 61 percent of the workforce and 69 percent of new hires were diverse in 2016. Comcast also hires members of the military community, including veterans and military spouses, and has made more than 6,000 military hires in the past two years. “The workplace should reflect the diversity of America,” Cohen said. Meeting technology needs for customers requires Comcast to do business with thousands of companies in its supply chain. It actively works and supports its partners in making their supply chains more diverse with $11 billion spent with diversity suppliers. One of the most visible aspects of diversity and inclusion is evidenced in programming, which includes expanding the quality and quantity of diverse programming available on Xfinity platforms including tv or streaming on smartphones. Comcast offers more than 100 Diverse Networks on Xfinity Platforms and more than 16,000 hours of diverse On Demand and online programming offered in 2016. Connecting with the communities served is an essential part of the culture of inclusion as well as a long-standing tradition at Comcast. It has given millions of dollars in cash and in-kind donations to Minority-Led and Minority-Serving (MLMS) and Women-Led and Women-Serving (WLWS) organizations since the start of its formal Diversity & Inclusion program in 2011.

Comcast is committed to strengthening diverse communities through cash and in-kind giving to organizations that support its promise to promote community service, expand digital literacy, and empower the leaders of tomorrow. More than $110 million was given to MLMS and WLWS in 2016. “I’m pretty proud of what we’ve accomplished and how we’ve moved the needle in all five areas,” Cohen said. “We put ourselves out there. We are approached by dozens of companies each year in our diversity and inclusion space. We host and participate in numerous conferences. We feel good that we have had an impact externally and we are a part of the dialogue that is taking place in corporate America.” Cohen especially values input from employees. Comcast and NBCUniversal’s Employee Resource Groups (ERG) assist in identifying best practices, serves as an additional resource for attracting, promoting and retaining the best talent at all levels, and provides professional and leadership development for members. “Bringing together diverse minds helps us improve our business, whether it’s a tv show and determining what the cast or newscasts looks like,” Cohen said. “Diversity ensures that we are covering stories of interest throughout the U.S. We empower our Resource Groups to help drive our business with issues such as what programming we should make available using our ERGs as focus groups to provide input for programming online and On Demand.”

“Bringing together diverse minds helps us improve our business, whether it’s a tv show and determining what the cast or newscasts looks like, Diversity ensures that we are covering stories of interest throughout the U.S.” —DAVID L. COHEN DD && B BMM AA GG AA Z IZNI N E ES PS R P IRNI N G GI SI SS U SU E E2 02 10 81 8| |WW WW WW .M .M CCC AA . C. C OO MM

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The groups include Asian Pacific Americans (APA), Black Employee Network (BEN), MyAbilities Network for employees with disabilities, OUT Network for LGBT employees, Unidos for Hispanic employees, Veterans Network (VetNet), Women’s Network, and the Young Professionals Network (YPN). “One of our great success stories came from input from an employee,” Cohen said. “A tv guide was developed internally that is designed for those with visual impairments who watch tv with speakers. It was developed by our accessibility group. It is a fantastic feature that offers them the opportunity to hear the programming menu. “The Vice President of Accessibility, who is blind came up with the concept. Having those diverse perspectives helps. We empower them to innovate and to be involved in bringing new products to market.” Prior to joining Comcast, Cohen was a Partner and Chairman of Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll law firm. From 1992 to 1997, Cohen served as Chief of Staff to the Honorable Edward G. Rendell, the Mayor of the City of Philadelphia, where he played a critical coordinating role in significant budgetary and financial issues, economic development activities, collective bargaining negotiations, and in a wide variety of other policy and operational issues relating to the city. A native of New York, Cohen received a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College in 1977 and a juris doctor from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1981. He is married with two sons. His personal commitment to diversity and inclusion is more than a work strategy, but something that carries over into his personal life. When he isn’t home relaxing and enjoying leisurely reading, he is attending meetings and conferences supporting diverse organizations.

His drive comes from watching his parents who had strong commitments to community. “I love my work. I’ve got this fantastic job in corporate America. (Chairman and CEO) Brian Roberts lets me participate with organizations that are doing outstanding work. I count all those activities partially as hobbies.” Cohen is also passionate about bridging the gap in the digital divide and has written on the topic. For more than a decade, there has been a national debate about how to close the digital divide: the gap between those who are connected to high-speed Internet at home and those who are not. Because of the digital divide, millions of low-income Americans lack basic digital literacy skills that make them unqualified to fill higher-paying, 21st Century jobs. In August 2011, Comcast launched Internet Essentials, which was designed to address all three causes of the digital divide. Offered to low-income families with at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program, it offers low-cost, highspeed Internet service for $9.95 a month (with no installation or equipment rental fees), the option to purchase a heavily subsidized computer for less than $150, and digital literacy training in print, online, and in person. By the end of June 2015, more than 500,000 families signed up for the program, benefitting more than 2 million low-income Americans. “I want my legacy to show that you can mix good business and solid bottom line financial performance with real commitment to community while addressing important issues like diversity and inclusion. Great companies can have financial success, but need to be embedded in the community.” DD && B BMM AA GG AA Z IZNI N E ES PS R P IRNI N G GI SI SS U SU E E2 02 10 81 8| |WW WW WW .M .M CCC AA . C. C OO MM

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Employer of Choice

The Employer of Choice Award honors outstanding law departments that are leading the charge in change and helping diverse attorneys break through the concrete ceiling. It is designed to spotlight industry-leading Fortune 1000 corporate legal departments that have succeeded in creating, implementing and maintaining a diverse and inclusive corporate legal department.

VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS Executive Vice President, Public Policy and General Counsel, Craig Silliman

Verizon Communications has a long-standing commitment to diversity. While it provides 98 percent of the U.S. wireless network coverage, it has never strayed away from its core mission of diversity and inclusion in every aspect of the company. Its overall workforce is 59 percent diverse, six out of 12 of its board members are women or people of color, and approximately $25 billion is spent with diverse suppliers. Craig Silliman is Executive Vice President, Public Policy and General Counsel, responsible for leading the company’s public policy, legal, regulatory, government affairs and security groups. He also runs the law department 58 D D& &B BMMA AG GA AZ IZNI NE ES PS RP IRNI NG GI SI SS US UE E2 02 10 81 8| 7


of the largest U.S. wireless communications service provider. “In order for us to be effective as a legal department, I need a diversity of thought that is as diverse as my customer base, as my employee base, as the society in which we live,” Silliman said. “I need our in-house legal department to reflect that diversity of experience, of upbringing, of socioeconomic status, of gender, of ethnicity, and I need my outside counsel to do the same thing.” A systematic and rigorous process is followed to identify diverse talent for hiring and promotion including formal talent reviews at all levels. Verizon ensures that diverse employees are provided equal opportunity and consideration for available positions across all business units and geographic regions. All vice president positions and above are reviewed by Verizon’s Chief Talent and Diversity Officer to make sure that qualified diverse candidates are on the slates including executive positions. Executive coaching is provided to help develop a bench for leadership positions, and assist newly promoted vice presidents as they transition into their new roles. Verizon routinely monitors compensation decisions to promote pay equity for employees. The company formally established a Metrics Committee in 2015 to measure a baseline of diverse attorneys representing Verizon and to develop targets for law firms to assign diverse timekeepers staffing Verizon matters. The billing software has been modified to include fields that capture timekeeper demographic information, including the level of the timekeeper, which provides direct access to diversity-related data. In addition, Verizon has asked firms to complete the ABA Model Diversity Survey, which will yield national diversity-related law firm data that Verizon can use to benchmark its own efforts.


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In 2016, Verizon initiated a comprehensive training to educate employees on recognizing unconscious bias. The Diversity & Inclusion Committee brought in speaker Verna Myers to deliver a keynote on the topic at its annual summit in March. All attendees were given a copy of Myers’ book, What If I Say the Wrong Thing: 25 Habits for Culturally Effective People. The D&I Communications Committee launched a quarterly newsletter designed to raise awareness of its programming, team accolades, and partner accomplishments. Verizon’s Employee Resource Groups provide a forum for professional and personal development, celebrating diversity and solving unique business challenges across Verizon’s diverse customer base. Verizon supports nine Employee Resource

well as an internal Health and Wellness team, Employee Assistance Program and on-site fitness and wellness facilities. Working to recruit diverse talent and fill the pipeline, Verizon’s Legal Intern Program (VLIP) is a diversity pipeline initiative intended to develop prospective talent through exposure to the practice of law in a corporate legal setting. VLIP interns contribute to a wide range of activities, including negotiations with large enterprise customers, contract drafting, participating in business meetings, and legal research and writing in areas such as IP, tax and privacy. The internship targets students of all ethnicities, sexual orientation, and disabilities, but it is open to all first year law students. Verizon sponsors the Legal Outreach Pact Program, focused exclusively on improving the

“I’m realistic that I as general counsel of Verizon or Verizon overall is not going to singlehandedly change the diversity of the legal profession, but a thousand people putting a brick at a time can make a huge difference.” —CRAIG SILLIMAN Groups which include Asian Pacific Employees for Excellence, Consortium of Information and Telecommunications Executives, Disabilities Issues Awareness Leaders, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Employees of Verizon and their Allies, Hispanic Support Organization, Native American People of Verizon, South-Asian Professionals Inspiring Corporate Excellence, Veterans Advisory Board of Verizon, and Women’s Association of Verizon Employees. Work-live balance is promoted through policies including flex-time, gender-neutral parental leave for newborns and adoptions; as 60 D D& &B BMMA AG GA AZ IZNI NE ES PS RP IRNI NG GI SI SS US UE E2 02 10 81 8| 9


academic abilities of African-American teenagers through the use of legal training methods. It also supports the Ronald H. Brown Scholar Program, which promotes academic excellence, community and lifelong interactions among its scholars. Scholars are awarded $40,000 for four years toward educational expenses, and the program has a 99 percent graduation rate. Verizon participates in minority/diversity job fairs such as the Asian American Bar Association of New York and Lavender Law. It also partners with community organizations to provide and participate in panels and programming on

law-related topics as well as pro bono efforts in conjunction with the Association of Corporate Counsel, law firms, and the legal departments of other corporations. “I’m realistic that I as general counsel of Verizon or Verizon overall is not going to singlehandedly change the diversity of the legal profession,” Silliman said. “but a thousand people putting a brick at a time can make a huge difference.”

Thomas L. Sager Award

This award is presented to large Am Law 200 law firms (500+ attorneys) that have demonstrated a sustained commitment to improving the hiring, retention and promotion of diverse attorneys. The award highlights MCCA’s continued commitment to magnifying the national visibility of diversity and inclusion champions in the industry.

AKIN GUMP STRAUSS HAUER & FELD LLP Partner & Chairperson Kim Koopersmith

Founded by the son of German Jewish immigrants in 1945 who faced discrimination, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP stands

firmly on the tenets of creating an environment to recognize merit regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. Headquartered in Washington DC, the firm is truly international in its footprint with offices around the world and that informs its strategy on inclusion. “I want to make sure that people in every part of the firm are hearing from the leader of the firm that diversity is not only on my radar screen, but is also one of the things that I consider most important,” said Kim Koopersmith, Akin Gump Chairperson. With more than 900 attorneys, 159 are minority, 325 are women, and 17 are LGBT. Among the firm’s partners, more than 11 percent are minorities, and over 20 percent of the firm’s partners are women. Akin works hard to retain its talent through diversity speaker series, programming related to cultural diversity at the firm such as celebrations of Black History Month, the Chinese New Year, Hispanic Heritage Month and LGBT Pride Month. Affinity groups provide additional support to network and foster dialogue on legal issues pertaining to the LGBT community, forums for women to network and discuss issues such as retention, equity, and professional development. Every other year, the firm’s African-American partners and African-American general counsel from various organizations host a conference, which offers a unique networking opportunity. Akin Gump is dedicated to lowering attrition and increasing retention among its minority and women lawyers by providing opportunities for professional development and mentoring. Each first-year associate is paired with an associate and partner mentor in his or her practice group to help the transition from law school to legal practice. Each summer associate is paired with junior, mid-level and partner mentors. D & B M A G A Z I N E S P R I N G I S S U E 2 0 1 8 | W W W. M C C A . C O M

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“I want to make sure that people in every part of the firm are hearing from the leader of the firm that diversity is not only on my radar screen, but is also one of the things that I consider most important,” —KIM KOOPERSMITH Understanding the importance of work-life balance, the firm offers generous parental leave and paid adoption leave of up to 18 weeks for the primary caregiver parent. The firm also solicits senior associates and junior partners to serve as mentors to mentor those going out or returning to the firm from leave. The firm’s Reduced Work Schedule Policy, allows lawyers to work significantly reduced schedules and remain on a partnership track. The firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee addresses a wide variety of issues including pipeline and inclusive recruiting, the advancement of women and other diverse attorneys, and progressive retention strategies. To address concerns of a diminishing pipeline, Akin Gump seeks out opportunities to collaborate with student affinity groups at law schools where it recruits, through collaboration with clients and numerous community partnerships. Akin recruits at the Lavender Law Career Fair and is an annual participant in the Harvard Black Law Students Association’s Rising 2L Job Fair. In 2016, the firm sponsored a diversity reception at UVA Law School and lawyers from the New York office participated in Columbia Law School’s Law Firm Diversity Expo. It is a leading supporter of pipeline programs such as Sponsors for Educational Opportunity “SEO,” which recruits diverse college students and recent graduates from across the country who are entering their first year of law school and places them in summer internship programs in law firms and financial institutions. The firm also has had interns from the Thurgood Marshall

Summer Law Internship Program, which places high-achieving, inner-city high school students with legal employers for the summer. Akin supports the program by hosting a Diverse Careers Panel for all interns. The firm also collaborates with Street Law, Inc., a nonprofit that encourages young people of color to enter the legal profession by providing them with role models, education, and hands-on experiences. Several years ago, the firm launched the Robert Strauss/Akin Gump Diversity Scholarship, which provides a $25,000 scholarship to two outstanding second year law students to offset expenses for their third year of law school. In addition to the financial award, the scholarships also offer mentoring from firm lawyers and a paid second year summer associate position. Akin Gump’s work has not gone unnoticed. It was named to The American Lawyer’s A-List three times in the past four years. For the past 10 years, Akin Gump has received a top rating of 100 percent on the Corporate Equality Index, an annual survey administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. It is also ranked among the 100 best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces in the US by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Akin Gump is this year’s Thomas L. Sager Award winner and has earned this award on four previous occasions.

George B. Vashon Innovator Award

The George B. Vashon Innovator Award is presented to smaller companies (not in the D & B M A G A Z I N E S P R I N G I S S U E 2 0 1 8 | W W W. M C C A . C O M

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Fortune 1000) and law firms (less than 500 attorneys) that have led the way with innovative best practices to assist diverse attorneys.

EVERSHEDS SUTHERLAND (US) LLP Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP has a long-standing reputation for its commitment to recruiting, developing and supporting diverse attorneys. Eversheds stands on the foundation that diverse skills, knowledge and viewpoints make it a stronger, more productive law firm. With more than 2,400 lawyers, the firm operates 66 offices in 32 jurisdictions in the U.S. and across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. In the US the firm has 420 lawyers across its offices. “Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is vital to delivering creative solutions to our clients and ensuring our long-term viability as an organization,” said Vanessa A. Scott, Partner and Eversheds U.S. Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. The firm recruits diverse attorneys by participating in on-campus interviews and at various job fairs including the Southeastern Minority Job

Fair and the Vault MCCA Legal Diversity Career Fair. It also recruits at the National LGBT Bar Association’s Lavender Law Conference. Eversheds Sutherland participates in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity 1L Program, where first-year law students of color are brought on as summer associates. For 10 consecutive years, Eversheds Sutherland has ranked among the top 10 law firms in the country for associate training and professional development (Vault Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms). The firm offers practical work experience, constructive feedback, a career planning program and a wide variety of training programs, as well as mentoring and career-related courses. Through the Eversheds Sutherland Legal Education (ELSE), a comprehensive, nationally ranked in-house training program for lawyers and clients, Eversheds offers more than 100 substantive and skills-based programs year-round at the practice group level and firm-wide. Topics include cutting-edge legal developments in various practice areas, ethics and professionalism, finance, management skills (for senior associates and partners), negotiation and trial advocacy. The firm’s Affinity Groups serve as support networks for attorneys of color; women lawyers; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender attorneys. Established in 2005, Eversheds Sutherland Scholars is an intensive, three-week, 40-hour program for students from historically black colleges and universities. Guest instructors and panelists have included general counsel from Fortune 100 companies, presiding judges and university law professors. The program is offered

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in Eversheds Sutherland’s Atlanta and Washington DC offices, with more than 400 graduates from the program. For the ninth consecutive year, Eversheds Sutherland (US) was named a “Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality,” by the Human Rights Campaign, America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. Eversheds received a perfect score. The survey rates businesses on a scale from zero to 100 percent on their treatment of LGBT employees, consumers and investors. For the sixth year in a row, Eversheds Sutherland was given the “Gold Standard” recognition by the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF). It was also named one of the “Top 100 Firms for Minority Attorneys” by Law360. The MCCA Vashon Innovator Award is another accolade for the firm recognizing its best practices to support diverse attorneys. “We are extremely proud that the MCCA has recognized our efforts to shape the future of the legal profession,” said Mark D. Wasserman, Eversheds Co-CEO. “We remain committed to supporting and cultivating diverse talent as a pillar of our global strategic plan.”


VMware, Inc., a global leader in cloud infrastructure and business mobility represents 66 15

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innovation at its core, but credits its success to its commitment to a diverse workforce Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, VMware competes to win in markets across the globe with more than 19,000 employees. The company’s VMinclusion program, is a strategic initiative to attract and engage the multinational, multicultural talent critical to its global business. The program has already resulted in 22 percent more women hires and 17 percent more women vice presidents, and it is supported by senior leadership across the organization. Quarterly progress reviews are held to ensure that goals are being met. VMware works to achieve a business mission where employees are free to be their authentic selves and do their best work. It is meant to represent “business change by business leaders,” creating a more diverse and inclusive culture and change in the tech industry. The company tracks hiring, promotion and retention rates. Each business leader has goals to improve diverse representation within their organization. VMware supports inclusion-focused business resource groups called Power of Difference Communities (PODS), which are employee-driven groups that enhance its inclusive culture. The company has PODS for site specific locations as well as those designed to strengthen networks for women and underrepresented groups. PODS are open to anyone in the company and are designed to help participants grow as leaders, engage with different communities, and drive business impact. Demographic POD communities include those for African Americans, Chinese, Latinos, LGBT and veterans. The company has a legal team of more than 160 people in 25 cities across 16 countries. Because women and minorities are underrepresented in the legal profession, VMware has focused the

department’s efforts on hiring, developing, and investing in diverse talent. Everyone on the legal team has an annual development plan. While diversity is good business, VMware is proud of the gains that it is making with 23 percent of its U.S. legal team being diverse , resulting in solid and innovative business gains. The legal department has worked over the past year to dramatically improve cost-saving efficiencies in key areas, and to help VMware maintain its ranking as the second most powerful patent

conscious biases that can disadvantage certain groups. The company seeks to provide research and solutions, and help leaders take responsibility individually and collectively to create a more inclusive company. VMware has received a perfect score of 100 percent on the 2018 Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking tool on corporate practices and policies related to LGBTQ workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign. It has also been recognized as

VMware supports inclusion-focused business resource groups called Power of Difference Communities (PODS), which are employee-driven groups that enhance its inclusive culture. portfolio in the software industry. The department also provided legal assistance as VMware transitioned to a strategically aligned business under Dell Technologies, following the Dell-EMC merger – the largest technology merger ever. The legal team also drives inclusion outside of the organization by asking partner firms for annual reports on diversity efforts and by scoring diversity as part of vendor evaluation processes. Never short on creative approaches to impact change, VMware has instituted initiatives including Dialogue Circles, peer mentoring and a leadership development curriculum, all with measurable results from participants. Eighty percent of participants reported taking action based on the insights gained and 70 percent report expanded access to ways to navigate their careers. Understanding that true change requires attacking the root of the problem, VMware introduced a broad-scale unconscious bias education program to deliver sessions to all of its managers. The company’s goal is to help those in management and above recognize un-

by Fortune Magazine for “100 Top Companies to Work for 2017” and “50 Best Workplaces for Parents 2016;” Glassdoor, “Highest Rated CEOs 2017,” and Computerworld –“Best Places to Work in IT 2017.” Employees are encouraged to be Citizen Philanthropists who share a personal mission to serve, learn, and inspire. The VMware Foundation provides a unique platform for employees to give back through 40 hours of paid service learning (volunteering), social investments, milestone anniversary awards, and matching gifts. Each year, extraordinary employees are honored through the company’s EPIC2 Achievement Awards program for their ability to go above and beyond on a daily basis, and demonstrate a quality of character that is truly remarkable. They are awarded for their dedication to their projects, customers, and fellow team members and they represent great leadership – people who can inspire and motivate, especially during times of transformation and change. As a pacesetter and industry leader, the company launched the VM inclusion Council, D & B M A G A Z I N E S P R I N G I S S U E 2 0 1 8 | W W W. M C C A . C O M

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comprised of a group of senior business leaders who set strategy and work with executive leaders to meet the company’s diversity and inclusion goals. The Council has global and cross-functional representatives from R&D, Sales and Business operations. VMware is also investing in programs to inspire and support the community of female technical talent through events such as Women Transforming Technology and partnerships with organizations such as Women Who Code and Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research.

Paula L. Ettelbrick Award

This award is named for the late Paula L. Ettelbrick whose quarter-century of work with organizations like Lambda Legal, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Commission (now, OutRight) assisted thousands of LGBT individuals and their families.

EVAN WOLFSON Freedom to Marry Founder and President

Widely recognized as the architect of the movement that won the freedom for same-sex marriage in the United States, Evan Wolfson has been on the battle lines since the early 1980s. He is the founder and president of Freedom to Marry, which was a key partner in helping make marriage equality a reality from coast-to-coast. A long-time civil rights leader, Wolfson served as president through the organization’s victory in June 2015 until its closing in early 2016. Having achieved the goal he pursued for 32 years, Wolfson now devotes his time advising and assisting diverse movements and causes in the U.S. and around the world. “I’m grateful to have had both a tremendous professional career and fulfilling personal life,” Wolfson said. “I began my career with a vision of how to win the freedom to marry for gay people, and how to use marriage to transform people’s understanding of who gay people are. I’m proud that I stuck with the work, drove the winning strategy, and built the campaign to deliver that goal through many ups and downs over 30 years, especially in the beginning, when so many people said it wasn’t possible.” From 1989 until 2001, Wolfson worked full-time at Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, the nation’s preeminent advocacy group working on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and those living with HIV/ AIDS. As director of Lambda Legal’s Marriage Project throughout the 1990s, Wolfson created the National Freedom to Marry Coalition, the first full-fledged campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples. “The classic pattern in our history is that when opponents fail to block civil rights gains, they try to subvert them, often abusing the banner of religion. But the American people know that religious freedom is protected in the Constitution and is fully compatible with civil rights.” D & B M A G A Z I N E S P R I N G I S S U E 2 0 1 8 | W W W. M C C A . C O M

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“I’m grateful to have had both a tremendous professional career and fulfilling personal life... I began my career with a vision of how to win the freedom to marry for gay people, and how to use marriage to transform people’s understanding of who gay people are. I’m proud that I stuck with the work, drove the winning strategy, and built the campaign to deliver that goal through many ups and downs over 30 years, especially in the beginning, when so many people said it wasn’t possible.” —EVAN WOLFSON Born in Brooklyn and raised in Pittsburgh, Wolfson graduated from Yale College in 1978. For two years after graduation, he worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in a village in Togo, West Africa. Upon returning, he attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 1983 and moving on to teach political philosophy as a teaching fellow at Harvard College. While a student at Harvard Law School, Wolfson wrote one of the earliest, and still today, most influential cases for freedom to marry. The paper, which Wolfson published during his third year is titled, “Samesex Marriage and Morality: The Human Rights Vision of the Constitution.” The 140-page thesis, served as a guideline for Wolfson’s 2004 book Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People’s Rights to Marry and a roadmap to the founding of Freedom to Marry. It has also been featured in the Harvard Law Library’s exhibit, “Long Road to Equality,” which also included work from other Harvard Law School students, faculty and alumni who have contributed to the movement to win gay marriage nationwide. He has received numerous awards, from induction into his high school Hall of Fame to being presented the Barnard Medal of Distinction alongside President Barack Obama in 2012. 70 19

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Citing his national leadership on marriage and his appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court in Boy Scouts of America v. James Dale, the National Law Journal in 2000 named Wolfson one of the “100 Most Influential Attorneys in America.” Wolfson has been honored by the American Bar Association and the American Psychiatric Association, among others. He has been called “the godfather of gay marriage” by Newsweek/ The Daily Beast, and “The indispensable man in bringing marriage equality to America” by Andrew Sullivan. In 2004, Time magazine named Wolfson one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.”

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Ain’t I a Woman? Intersectionality and the Workplace By Catherine McGregor


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“Ain’t I a woman?” asked abolistionist and formerly enslaved feminist Sojourner Truth, at her speech at a Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio in 1851, where she demanded equal rights for all women as well as for all African Americans. There is some controversy over whether Truth actually said this phrase and that her words may have been edited for effect by a white feminist! But this is possibly the first recorded example of a debate which continues to be a significant gap in both feminism and the discourse of diversity; are certain groups being privileged even amongst the underprivileged and are certain calls for rights heard more clearly than others? There is no easy answer to this, for sure, but given lawyers like order and process, how does intersectionality play out in the workplace in general and the legal profession in particular?

What is Intersectionality?

Intersectionality is a theory first coined by civil rights activist and academic Kimberlé Crenshaw that considers that the various aspects of human identity such as class, race, sexual orientation, disability and gender, do not exist separately from each other, but are interwoven, and that their relationships are essential to an understanding of diversity. Rather than thinking of identity as a collection of separate elements, (man, woman, African American,Caucasian) it is better understood if the elements are thought of as inextricably linked and that all aspects of identity are parts of the whole. I’m a white, working class, woman. At times I can feel both aspects of my identity, positively and at other times these are labels that are thrust upon me via behavior or prejudice of others. In DD && B BMM AA GG AA Z IZNI N E ES PS R P IRNI N G GI SI SS U SU E E2 02 10 81 8| |WW WW WW .M .M CCC AA . C. C OO MM

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those circumstances they can feel limiting separately but when experienced together even more so. But when dealing with issues as large as systematic inequalities how can organizations, such as companies or law firms, do anything other than break these huge issues down into manageable pieces and agendas? I have frequently heard companies or firms say, ‘we’re focusing on the gender issue at the moment’ or ‘we’re prioritizing promoting African Americans into leadership.’ But when very siloed approaches are taken to diversity, it can feel as though a significant part of your identity is being marginalized. Do I have to choose between my identity as a woman and as socio-economically disadvantaged and check one of those at the door? However, some experts in the field of diversity and inclusion think that unless we focus on the intersectionality of oppression -- the systematic inequalities and privileges in society which affect a multitude of groups -- we will never truly solve the issues we face. They argue that current legislation focuses too much on understanding identity in isolation and therefore this can lead to misconceptions. Ultimately, intersectional theorists would argue, unless society considers the myriad forms of identity politics true change can never take place. Samantha Grant a partner of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP and a Commissioner of the ABA Comission on Women in the Profession, points out how strategies and initiatives in law firms and organizations can often be focused primarily on one identity group and not take into account the realities and experiences of those who embody multiple identities such as women of color: “Quite frequently when leaders create strategies for promoting racial diversity and inclusion, the are primarily thinking of the experiences 74 D D& &B BMMA AG GA AZ IZNI NE ES PS RP IRNI NG GI SI SS US UE E2 02 10 81 8| 3


of men of color, and with respect to gender diversity and inclusion, they think primarily of the experiences of Caucasian women. This is particularly problematic because the experiences and realities of women of color are often quite different than those of Caucasian women or men of color”. While diversity and inclusion initiatives can often benefit all attorneys in the end, to be more effective in achieving the firm’s goals, the decision makers should be intentional about also considering the experiences of and impact on attorneys who intersect multiple diverse groups. Nicole Sanchez of Vaya Consulting has been advising companies on diversity and inclusion for over 25 years. She reports that it’s common for leaders of companies to try to separate different agendas because it can make diversity goals seem more obtainable. In her experience she has found that the reverse is true. Companies that take an initiative-by-initiative approach to diversity are generally more likely to fail than those who take an intersectional approach. The key is that recognizing the range of diverse experiences and how they interconnect is what enables inclusive culture.

Black Feminism

Many of the key debates around intersectionality emerged during the rise of feminism as an academic discourse during the late sixties and seventies in what was termed the second wave of feminism. In 1976, the African American feminist academic bell hooks wrote a critique of conventional feminist theory, which used the title of Sojourner Truth’s 1851 speech Ain’t I A Woman as its title. In this hooks argued that conventional feminist theory was skewed towards the viewpoint of white middle class women and was therefore only fighting for an equality which would serve them and not women of color, working class women, gay women etc.

Quite frequently when people think of strategies for promoting racial diversity and inclusion, they think of men of color first, and when they think of gender, they think of Caucasian women first. This is particularly problematic because women of color often don’t experience things the same way that Caucasian women or men of color. That issue has been coming to the fore more recently as some have criticized the Women’s Marches and #TimesUp as focusing too much on the perspective of white middle class women. This is an issue which is obviously not just confined to feminist debate.

Check Your Privilege

For many, the question of true culture change hinges on facing up to the truth of privilege and recognizing that white, straight masculinity is an identity and not the norm from which everything else is a diversity. It is both a privileged identity and one that needs to be part of the discourse on diversity. Verizon GC Craig Silliman recounts being on a panel at the 2017 MCCA Gala where he initially apologized for being non- diverse but was pulled up by fellow panelist, Grace Speights of Morgan Lewis, who is African American and female. She told him, that the panelists were all different identities and therefore diverse. Silliman told me that was important for him to hear and that it’s been a key aspect of driving diversity forward at Verizon that as a leader he does not opt out of the diversity discourse. “I think there’s a lot of discussion about diversity, about a lot of social issues, in which straight white males feel that they don’t have right to express, to have their voice heard. I understand

the rationale for that, there’s a lot of discussion about checking your privilege. But I think there is a danger there because it’s incredibly important that this discussion includes everyone including straight white males. If the discussion about gender is only taking place with women, then it’s a gender issue. If it’s only people of colour having the sessions about ethnic diversity, then it becomes an ethnicity issue, and it needs to be a people issue, a talent issue, a culture issue. And so it’s important that people like me are involved in the discussion not despite the fact that I’m a straight white male, but because I’m a straight white male.” But for straight white men to be involved in discussion there needs to be an acknowledgement of their privilege. Indeed perhaps the whole point of intersectionality is about the acknowledgment of privilege. There is a fantastic essay on this written by Carl Martin, a white, straight male, tech company founder, who took part in a workshop curated by Fearless Futures, a diversity and inclusion consultancy that specializes in training based in intersectionality theory. In his essay at medium.com, Carl describes how he was forced to think about privilege and how this fundamentally changed how he now thinks: “One exercise in particular stood out, where we were presented with a sheet of paper that listed 32 privileges—everything from ‘the D & B M A G A Z I N E S P R I N G I S S U E 2 0 1 8 | W W W. M C C A . C O M


ability to easily access any building’, through to ‘not fearing physical harm from a sexual partner’. We were asked to circle the privileges that we felt like we had. I circled every single one. I can be honest in that 50% of them I’ve never thought about once in my life before. The notion that ‘privilege is invisible to those that have it’ had never been so radically apparent. This moment was emphasized by the results of another participant—a young black woman and fellow founder, having circled just four.” What the acknowledgement of privilege can bring, though, counsels Nicole Sanchez, is discomfort for those with more advantages. But this is unavoidable if an organization is dedicated to sustainable change. Sanchez told me that much of her work hinges on, “People starting with their own self-awareness. None of us ask to be born into our lot in life. But we still have to understand our role in a diverse society.” In her workshops, Sanchez often uses visual exercises to show the advantages participants do and don’t have. She feels it’s important to see this as a continuum, for example, she says, “Just because I was born poor and Latina in the US doesn’t mean I don’t have advantages.” She also counsels that advantages are not a fixed state and some change depending on circumstance; for example, in Silicon Valley where age can seem like a liability. “When you can graphically map privilege for people you remind them that you were born with some, and some were built over time. That relieves the pressure on those with advantage, as it shows them it is the system not them.” Sanchez explains, “The challenge is rebuilding this system that puts people on such 76 D D& &B BMMA AG GA AZ IZNI NE ES PS RP IRNI NG GI SI SS US UE E2 02 10 81 8| 5


entrenched pathways.” Sanchez believes we are currently at a unique moment with movements like #MeToo. “For the first time we are seeing people who assumed they were going to be in power forever, being toppled. The danger is that they are then using the language of oppression to re-assert themselves. For example, James Damore, the engineer fired by Google for sexist posts, wants to say he has been discriminated against as as a white man the first time his status is called into question. “

Does it Matter?

Essentially yes. Whilst companies or law firms may think they have ticked the diversity box with their gender initiatives and don’t need to worry about other issues, they can actually be missing the bigger picture and therefore setting their initiatives up to fail. If initiatives fail then there can be a danger to assume the problem is too big for the organization to tackle, or that its root cause lies in the diverse populations and not the system itself. The problems of ‘code switching’ and the pressure to fit in can exacerbate these systemic imbalances for diverse employees, As Samantha Grant of Sheppard Mullin remarks about the way law firms credit success it can also work against women of color. “At majority law firms, because there are relatively few women of color and often a lack of mentors, supporters, and champions who will naturally gravitate towards those women, they often feel isolated; as such, women of color may spend an inordinate amount of time volunteering for administrative committees in order to increase their positive visibility in their firms and demonstrate that they are team players. At the

same time, it is decidedly more difficult to be included in a group that is pitching a new client or for new work or even to receive origination credit even when they are integrally involved in obtaining the work.” For law firms this is an entrenched problem and is often at the heart of their challenges in becoming more inclusive. New research being undertaken by Professor Joan C. Williams and Marina Multhap which, is supported but the MCCA and the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession shows how all work in law firms is not equal. Data shows that work is often highly skewed with the ‘glamour work’ (more lucrative, high profile etc.) going more to white men and what the research terms ‘office housework’ (sometimes literally the housework like getting coffee, but also the more mundane, less high profile work) going predominantly to women and employees of color. I asked diversity consultant, Nicole Sanchez, what she felt companies could practically do to adopt a more intersectional approach in their diversity and inclusion initiatives and their workplaces. For Sanchez, the key is in the inclusion part and taking that are the core of how you think. But the first step is acknowledging the problem. “I always tell companies that the best place they can start is by normalizing the conversation; asking people where they are failing, polling the employees, using focus groups. It’s a good start to say they want to start this.” For Sanchez, the initial step is often executive coaching and working with executive officers and CEOs who may be nervous to start the conversation.

Sanchez told me she often gets asked, “Can we do this in spite of our leadership?” “Sure, to a point,” says Sanchez. “But at the end of the day, improving diversity and inclusion costs money, resources and time; for systematic change, the leadership has to understand why, and get behind it.” Often day to day mechanisms in organizations are unconsciously biased against certain groups. This is often not a case of overt discrimination but just unthinking or thinking from a position of advantage. However, the end result is the same. For example, most reimbursement policies will assume possession of a credit card and ability to access cash whilst waiting for reimbursement. Lack of access to credit, or indeed factors such as support of other family members, would not enter into how these were devised. Employee away days may also assume the norms of a certain identity group. Sanchez and I discussed the example of skiing – if you’re working class and did not live near a ski resort, chances are skiing was not on your radar! Sanchez details how she often counsels companies when planning trips or social engagements to “take the position of the most diverse employee and find something they find comfortable.” It may sound like a bad joke that diversity opponents might scathingly tell, but in reality the truly diverse and intersectional workplace, legal or otherwise will be one where an African American, disabled, LGBT, Muslim woman can come to work and feel truly comfortable and valued. Now that’s a great ambition for MCCA and for all of us to work towards over the next twenty years! DD && B BMM AA GG AA Z IZNI N E ES PS R P IRNI N G GI SI SS U SU E E2 02 10 81 8| |WW WW WW .M .M CCC AA . C. C OO MM

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MAKING THE CHANGE Grace Speights of Morgan Lewis on her work advising clients in changing workplace culture.

THE FIRST OF A REGULAR FEATURE WE INTERVIEW OR PROFILE CASE STUDIES IN WHICH THOSE INVOLVED ARE TRYING TO FUNDAMENTALLY AND PRACTICALLY EFFECT CHANGE TO PRODUCE A MORE INCLUSIVE CULTURE. In the first feature we speak to Grace Speights leader of the Labor and Employment practice at Morgan Lewis about her advisory work with clients on culture change and how that has achieved even greater resonance in the light of #MeToo and #TimesUp. While having a successful labor and employment practice, your work also includes advising employers on changing workplace culture and adopting best practices. How did this come about and why do you think it’s important? Counseling employers has always been an important part of my, and my colleagues, labor and employment practices. I really enjoy offering legal advice to employers on how to create environments that allow employees to feel valued, included, and secure in their positions and able to achieve their potential. By working with employers, I’m able to assist them in making systemic adjustments that can make a positive impact on their workplace dynamics and culture. And what’s interesting about the last half-year since the #MeToo movement began is that we have seen employers become much more proactive at examining their workplace cultures. Many companies want to determine if there are workplace issues or problems before they surface, which is a distinctive change in a practice that used to focus on addressing incidents after they happened. Now many companies are assessing their workplaces before allegations are even made and are taking a much more compre1 D D& &B BMMA AG GA AZ IZNI NE ES PS RP IRNI NG GI SI SS US UE E2 02 10 81 8| 78


hensive view of their workplaces rather than just investigating or examining an isolated incident after it occurs. What kind of changes have you seen in your practice or in client outreach since the #MeToo movement started? Prior to the #MeToo movement our work related to sexual harassment generally fit into two categories: pre-emptive training and investigations into a specific incident. But that has broadened significantly in light of #MeToo. Many companies want to get ahead of the curve and try to make sure their workplaces are a positive, safe, and inclusive place for all. We’re also hearing from shareholders and board members who are holding their companies accountable by requesting independent investigations of allegations of sexual harassment against high-level executives and what their management may have known (and what they did once they gained such knowledge) about such allegations. And we’re counseling boards of directors and high-level executives on their responsibilities in connection with providing a safe and sexual harassment-free workplace. I’ve read about workplace culture assessments – what exactly is that and how is one done? A workplace culture assessment doesn’t focus on an incident or a specific problem. It’s a much more comprehensive look at the employee experience in a workplace. It’s a way of proactively determining if there are issues in the workplace


that can be addressed to make the workplace a better place for employees. It’s an attempt to get ahead of issues rather than sitting back and waiting for issues to surface. If that sounds a bit fluid, it is. The framework of a culture assessment is built specifically for each company and the framework may be different for each business unit or organization within a company; there is no “one size fits all.” We work with the leaders of an organization to determine what kinds of issues they want to surface or learn about. Lately, one of the issues that many companies want to know about is whether employees know how to report inappropriate conduct like sexual harassment and, if so, whether they would feel comfortable in doing so. Culture assessments involve conducting individual interviews with employees and/ or focus groups of similarly situated employees. Going in we don’t know what we’re going to hear when people start talking. We really focus on listening and let the employees take the lead. What do clients do with that information after receiving it? That also differs with each company. When

we present our findings (not specific names or stories, but themes that come up over and over) to the company, we also provide recommendations to address or correct the issues that we found. Some companies share our findings with their employees, others address our recommendations in smaller groups to make changes from the top down. We have seen, for example, more hiring and training of HR professionals, updated and more practical training for employees, the formation of sexual allegation response committees within companies to provide an additional way for employees to report about sexual harassment, and boards asking for external oversight. There is a lot for companies to consider. Do you think that companies should focus more on their workplace cultures which may include changing things which aren’t strictly wrong or illegal? As I mentioned before, there is no one-size-fitsall answer to addressing or preventing potential incidents of sexual harassment or any other workplace culture challenge. It all depends on the needs and structure of the company. For some, DD && B BMM AA GG AA Z IZNI N E ES PS R P IRNI N G GI SI SS U SU E E2 02 10 81 8| |WW WW WW .M .M CCC AA . C. C OO MM

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PROPER TRAINING, ENVIRONMENT, AND OVERSIGHT IS IN PLACE SO WOMEN’S EMPLOYMENT AND ADVANCEMENT ISN’T ADVERSELY AFFECTED. making proactive changes to the workplace culture goes a long way to making a better working environment. For others, it’s hiring more HR professionals and training them to be both scrupulous and empathetic. But overall, companies need to be both proactive and transparent in however they choose to address these issues. What do you think are some of the warning signs that may signal a workplace culture has problems? The obvious one is one or more allegations of inappropriate workplace conduct. But the signs can be more subtle, from what’s talked about in the halls but not brought to management to the composition of groups in the lunchroom. A company’s HR team is the first line of defense. Whom you pick, how you train them, how they investigate, how they follow up with employees after concluding their investigations, and how they show empathy in the process can make all the difference in how employees feel about their workplace, as well as their willingness to raise complaints and otherwise cooperate with investigations. #MeToo and #TimesUp have generated a lot of positive focus on the issue of harassment and inequality. Do you think this is here to stay? It’s clear that this movement has national and international support, and we expect to see similar allegations across more industries, so it’s definitely here to stay. And it will most likely be working its way through the courts for the foreseeable future as we expect to see more lawsuits filed (or threatened) not just from those alleging sexual 3

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harassment, but by those accused of sexual harassment, and perhaps even from shareholders demanding that their companies do more to respond to and prevent these types of claims. Some general counsel have said to me they worry that the focus on this area could adversely affect women’s’ employment and advancement. Do you think this is a danger? Any kind of broad-based social change has growing pains. While I think ultimately this movement will lead to a more inclusive and egalitarian society, it is up to employers to make sure the proper training, environment, and oversight is in place so women’s employment and advancement isn’t adversely affected. This is not a time for leadership and management within companies to retreat from supporting and advancing women. If anything, it’s a time for leadership and management to set the example of appropriate workplace conduct and support for the professional development, retention, and advancement of women. What would be your one key piece of advice to companies in the light of #MeToo? Employers must focus on their workplace culture and consider how that culture impacts not only their employees but also their companies’ reputation with business partners, clients, and the general public. We recommend that companies assess their culture and implement changes that will promote a positive, transparent, safe, and inclusive workplace.

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