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DEWEY & LEBOEUF > Northeast Region


New York, has won the T omas L. Sager Award for the Northeast Region for its outstanding

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dedication to hire, promote, and retain diverse and women lawyers. Christiani Franck, director of diversity, says that is a refl ection of Dewey & LeBoeuf’s belief that “diversity is an essential element of our fi rm’s business and culture. “We hold the belief that a diverse workforce will position

our fi rm to better understand its clients, and provide our cli- ents with better service, and create an inclusive fi rm culture” she says. Dewey & LeBoeuf has more than 1,100 lawyers working in 26 offi ces in 15 countries around the world and has become known primarily for its practices in corporate, energy, insurance, litigation, tax, and restructuring. “Dewey & LeBoeuf prides itself for being at the center

of such an important movement as the diversifi cation of the legal profession,” she says. “Winning the Sager Award for the third time really validates to the many people who work on diversity initiatives at the fi rm that their deter- mination is recognized. ” Franck says the fi rm’s diversity initiatives are focused

in fi ve key areas: recruitment, retention, workplace culture, promotion, and partnerships with organizations that promote diversity. “We take a top-down, bottom-up, and inside-out

approach to promote diversity and inclusion,” she says. “We also understand that the involvement of fi rm man- agement in diversity initiatives is essential. T erefore our senior leadership and members of our diversity committee make certain that diversity and inclusion is discussed dur- ing major fi rm meetings and functions.” In the past few years, she says, the fi rm has “augmented its

eff orts in the area of retention and promotion.” For example, the fi rm created Connections Across Diff erences, a tailored mentorship program that pairs junior to midlevel diverse associates with partners. T e program requires that the men- tor and mentee create and sign a contract that outlines the professional goals for the mentoring relationship. According to Franck, the fi rm also has a partner succession planning program. T e program pairs senior partners who are nearing retirement to transition their key clients to younger diverse and women partners. To assist in the transition, the partner pairs are encouraged to create a business plan to demonstrate how the junior partner will achieve greater client responsibility and ultimately “inherit” the client base.


or the third time in four years, Dewey & LeBoeuf, a global law fi rm headquartered in


FORD & HARRISON > Southwest Region

tives to help it fi nd and keep new talent. Under the Diversity Pipeline


Initiative, any Ford & Harrison attorney who identifi es a minority attorney candidate, facilitates his or her success- ful hire, and makes a three-year commitment to be on the recruit’s mentoring team is eligible for a bonus, according to Dawn Siler-Nixon, diversity and inclusion partner at Ford & Harrison. In 2009, Siler-Nixon, who was a labor and employment

litigator for more than 16 years, became the fi rm’s fi rst diversity and inclusion partner with primary responsibility for its diversity initiatives. T ese functions were previously carried out by individuals and a diversity committee within the fi rm. Siler-Nixon is based in the fi rm’s Tampa, Florida, offi ce. T e Diversity Pipeline Initiative focuses on law school

and lateral attorney recruiting and the long-term retention and professional development of minority attorneys. “To promote retention, the incentive is paid over three

years and conditioned on the minority candidate’s con- tinued successful employment with the fi rm,” Siler-Nixon explains. “T e candidate must increase the ethnic and cultural diversity of the specifi c offi ce he or she joins. For example, in an offi ce where six of ten lawyers are currently Hispanic, adding a Hispanic lawyer would not increase the diversity of that particular offi ce.” Siler-Nixon says the candidates referred by the Ford &

Harrison employee are subject to the same hiring standards and process as others. “T e Diversity Pipeline Initiative’s success depends on

both the hiring and the long-term retention of outstanding minority lawyers,” Siler-Nixon says. She says all new associates are assigned a diff erent part-

ner mentor each year for the fi rst three years of employ- ment and all lateral associates are assigned a partner mentor for the fi rst year of employment. However, under the Diversity Pipeline Mentoring

program, minority associates are provided a consistent mentoring network of at least four lawyers for the fi rst three years of the minority associate’s employment. T e network might include a partner in the minority associ- ate’s practice group or offi ce, a partner outside of his or her offi ce or practice group, at least one senior associate, and the minority associate’s practice group leader, in addition to the recruiting attorney.


n one of its more unusual diversity eff orts, Ford & Harrison LLP gives its attorneys fi nancial incen-

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