Jackie Redin Klein
Lord, Bissell & Brook’s commitment to diversity is clearly demonstrated by the demographic makeup of its Los Angeles office: Of its 28 attorneys, 36 percent are minorities and 46 percent are women; of their 14 associates, 57 percent are minorities and 71 percent are women. Two, or 17 percent, of the office’s equity partners are minorities, and three, or 25 percent, are women, which far exceeds the national averages of 4 percent and 15 percent, respectively.
The firm’s commitment extends beyond these impressive numbers. “More and more of our clients,” explains partner Jackie Redin Klein, “are demanding that their matters be staffed by diverse teams on which minority attorneys are significantly represented, not only as associates but also as partners with significant responsibility for the final work product.”
According to the firm, its clients, juries, judges, and public officials are themselves increasingly diverse. Thus, if its attorneys are not as diverse as the people they deal with everyday, then the firm would be at a clear disadvantage.
To this end, Lord, Bissell & Brook expends significant resources firm-wide to develop customized diversity training programs for hiring, mentoring, retaining, and promoting minority attorneys. Individual attorney’s efforts toward the firm’s overall diversity goals play an important role when the firm’s legal personnel committee makes salary and partnership decisions.
Lord, Bissell, & Brook’s attorneys are also staunch supporters and members of many organizations that focus on minorities and diversity-related efforts, including the California Minority Counsel Program (CMCP), Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms, the UCLA School of Law Alumni-Mentoring Program, the Mexican American Bar Association, the South Asian Bar Association, the Network of Indian Professionals, and Big Brothers of Los Angeles.
The firm plans to continue to develop new innovative programs for diversity, and to continuously mold existing programs by throwing out the ones that don’t work and improving on those that do work.
Lord, Bissell & Brook will continue to search for and adopt new approaches to achieving fairness in how it treats all of its attorneys, regardless of their differences.
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From the December 2002 issue of Diversity & The Bar®