The aim of all our programs is to assist our member organizations to actuate their individual and collective commitment to diversity and inclusion. Our focus is on helping our members to (1) recruit more diverse lawyers; (2) retain more of the diverse lawyers they hire for longer periods of time; and (3) build a community of diverse lawyers that few individual firms can build alone.
Twice a year, the Coalition brings both nationally-recognized experts on D&I issues and local authorities in the field to speak to leaders in our member organizations. The Coalition also provides periodic training for our members and publishes best practices guides. In addition, we host regular happy hours and other opportunities for diverse lawyers to build community.
Knowing that our legal community has not yet reached the goals we have set for ourselves when it comes to welcoming previously marginalized groups into our profession, we have concluded that individual programs, no matter how worthy, are simply insufficient to create meaningful change. What is required is a sustained strategic approach sufficient to lay a strong foundation for the kind of success that will make a true impact.
With that in mind, the Coalition was set to launch, at our 2020 Spring Members Meeting, a year-long series of programs designed to help members create work places where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Unfortunately, the coronavirus put a stop — temporarily, only — to the series we are calling Towards a Culture of Inclusion. As we wait to determine when in-person programming can begin again, we continue with our planning for this important initiative. You can learn more about it here and also read why the series is so important and see the goals of the series in The Bridge – News.
Past Coalition Programming to Enhance Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
- One of the Coalition’s first speakers was Dr. William D. Henderson, Indiana University Maurer School of Law Professor, who presented practical solutions supported by empirical research to the legal profession’s “diversity problem.”
- The following year, in response to research presented by Dr. Henderson on interviewing techniques to help eliminate bias in hiring, the Coalition hosted Dr. Arin Reeves of Nextions Consulting to help members introduce elements of behavioral interviewing into their hiring process.
- The Coalition piloted a Model Career Advocate Program in 2019 for senior associates and young partners, the point at which research indicates many diverse lawyers leave their employers and sometimes, even the profession. The program, with the benefit of lessons learned in its inaugural year, will relaunch soon.
- To discuss how important and how effective sponsorship programs can be, the Coalition presented Ricardo Anzaldua, general counsel of Freddie Mac, who described the sponsorship program he introduced while serving in the same position at MetLife.
- A series of programs have been aimed at bringing our corporate counsel members together with our law firm members to foster collaborative efforts to enhance the success of diverse lawyers.
- The Coalition hosts quarterly “Diversity Champions” lunches to facilitate the sharing of ideas, resources, and mutual support among our members’ diversity professionals and committees.
- The Coalition regularly works with the Allegheny County Bar Association, the local chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, and the city’s two law schools (Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh) on programming to leverage the strength each organization brings to D&I work in the local legal community.