In 2000, Philip Morris Companies Inc. enlisted MCCA’s help to design a law department diversity plan that addressed the key questions about recruitment, retention, and promotion of women and minorities.
Specifically, Philip Morris’ General Counsel Charles Wall emphasized his commitment to making diversity a reality in the law department, which was being done as part of an overall strategic approach to the practice. As a result of meticulous planning, the Philip Morris Diversity Plan is very specific about what initiatives are going to be taken, when, and by whom, as well as how accountability is incorporated into the program.
Globally, the law department consists of 225 attorneys and approximately 70 legal analysts, resident in over 30 countries, with a rich diversity of language and culture. Domestically, Philip Morris’ law department is composed of 115 attorneys, 17 of whom are people of color (or 15 percent) and 39 percent are women.
Philip Morris took the act of encouraging its firms to staff the company’s legal matters with diverse counsel one step further than other clients by asking the managing partners at its highest billing law firms to attend a series of symposia on diversity. The company also requires its firms to report billable hours by the ethnicity and gender of the team assigned to its matters. These data are also tracked and trended, permitting firm-by-firm analysis on where further opportunities could occur.
The company requires its executive search firms to produce diverse candidate slates. They also advertise open positions in the journal of bar associations of color and on MCCA’s job bank. Additionally, diversity analysis is explicitly required to be addressed in the law department’s succession-planning process.
Internally, Philip Morris required that all U.S.-based members of the law department attend the company’s two-day diversity awareness training. This training provides a baseline of skills to interact with people from different backgrounds and experiences.
The results of their external and internal initiatives has produced a department worthy of an award.
Return to List of 2002 Award Winners
From the December 2002 issue of Diversity & The Bar®