Mischa D. Buford
As a recipient of the Thomas L. Sager Award for the second consecutive year, Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. (SHB) has consistently been in the forefront promoting diversity across the board. Those efforts have helped SHB become the 50th largest firm in the United States, with more than 500 attorneys worldwide.
While SHB’s diversity efforts began over a decade ago, the firm has been particularly successful in the past year. Out of 90 new attorney hires, 39 were women and 17 were minorities. Between 1999 and 2001, the firm nearly doubled its number of minority new attorney hires. In the last year, the firm increased its share of women-attorney hires an additional five percent and its minority-attorney hires by six percent.
This year, the firm expanded its 12-member diversity committee to 16 members. Additionally, its diversity committee is a formal standing committee consisting of attorneys from every office and members of the firm’s executive management.
SHB has a diversity training program for new associates, which is part of a 10-week training program. The firm also sponsors diversity events and has hired diversity trainers to discuss diversity-related issues occurring in the workplace.
SHB actively seeks to enhance the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women and minority attorneys. The firm offers progressive programs for the recruiting, mentoring, and support of minority law students, such as attending job fairs, establishing a charitable foundation that will sponsor scholarships, and posting employment opportunities on minority recruiting websites. SHB also sponsors resume writing and interviewing workshops targeted to minority law students.
Routinely, SHB sponsors special lecture and continuing legal education programs. For example, SHB’s 2001 “Women as Advocates” program brought together women from across the nation to discuss issues faced by women attorneys. In response to this past year’s world events, the firm sponsored cultural awareness presentations on the Holocaust, Islamic culture, diversity and the arts, and work-life issues. SHB was also a major sponsor of an international symposium on the life and poetry works of Langston Hughes.
SHB views diversity as more than a committee program or annual celebration. Its new strategic plan, its mission statement, and benefits policies-which were recently audited to reflect the diversity values of the firm-make SHB a leader in domestic partner benefits and family leave programs.
Return to List of 2002 Award Winners
From the December 2002 issue of Diversity & The Bar®