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Arnold & Porter LLP (Washington, D.C.)

Arnold & Porter LLP (Washington, D.C.)

2002 Sager Award Winner

Mid-Atlantic Region

James Sandman

Arnold & Porter’s Washington, D.C. office is one of the most diverse law offices in America. Eighteen percent of the attorneys practicing there are minorities, and 35 percent are women. With its commitment to inclusion at every level, over the past five years, Arnold & Porter has accomplished a triple-digit increase in diversity: 321 percent for minorities, and 230 percent for women.

Additionally, more than 20 percent of new associates have been minorities, and for the third straight year, the retention rate for minorities was higher than that for all associates.

This year’s summer associate program was the most diverse class in firm history: out of 56 associates, 48 percent were women and 39 percent were people of color. These award-winning results are due to all-encompassing recruitment and retention programs, beginning with scholarships, receptions, and events for law school students to firm-wide affinity groups to develop, promote, and retain associates and partners.

Commitment from the top has been key to the firm’s success, as well as involving minority and women attorneys at every level: in recruitment with events, interviews, call-back decisions, and on the hiring committee.

In its retention and promotion efforts, the firm appoints a diverse group of attorneys to committees on hiring, pro bono work, ethics, child care, new associates, and summer associates. Encouraging active involvement of women and minorities allows them to shape the policies and practices of the firm. Arnold & Porter actively promotes formal and informal mentoring and work/life programs. The firm supports affinity groups in which informal mentoring between senior minority and women attorneys and new associates can occur, as well as mandatory, top-down diversity training.

Not only does the firm operate programs to enable associates to meet family and professional commitments, such as onsite day care, telecommuting, and viable part-time programs, but it strongly communicates that utilizing these programs will not eliminate attorneys from the partnership track.

While Arnold & Porter has been recognized by as the most diverse firm in America, and Working Mother magazine as one of America’s 100 Best Places to Work, its high rates in recruitment and retention are undoubtedly the best reward of all.

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From the December 2002 issue of Diversity & The Bar®

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