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which Littler Mendelson P.C. functions, says Jaff e Dickerson, a senior shareholder for the fi rm


and co-chair of its diversity and inclusion council. “Law is now a global business, and we are marketing

in a global economy,” he says. Dickerson noted that the fi rm had opened a Venezuela

offi ce and will be opening additional offi ces on diff er- ent continents. Littler is a San Francisco-based law fi rm with 51 offi ces and more than 800 lawyers representing employers in labor and employment law. It has the largest practice in this fi eld in the United States and Venezuela. In September 2011, Littler released data showing that

24 percent of its associates, 17 percent of its attorneys, 11 percent of its shareholders, and 26 percent of its entire work- force were people of color. At the same time, women made up 61 percent of its associates, 47 percent of its attorneys, 32 percent of shareholders, and 60 percent of its workforce. Dickerson, a specialist in labor and employment law for

more than 30 years, has been with Littler since 1988 and is based in the Los Angeles offi ce. He says that the fi rm is very proud of its statistics but that numbers do not tell the whole story. “Statistics and benchmarks are important, but the true measure is the demonstrated success of our diverse attorneys and staff , especially their steady and consistent progression into leadership positions,” Dickerson says. “Having a bunch of numbers doesn’t matter if you have a high attrition rate. When you see people come in as entry-level attorneys and work their way up, that is the type of demonstration of suc- cess in terms of our diversity and inclusion goals.” T e council that Dickerson co-chairs bears much of

the responsibility for setting the direction and carrying out diversity initiatives within the fi rm, but the burden of meeting diversity goals rests on everyone in the fi rm, Dickerson says. “It’s not just the board of directors or the diversity and

inclusion council,” he says. “It’s everyone, whether it’s our staff aggressively seeking women and diverse candidates, offi ce administrators giving opportunities to diverse vendors, or current employees getting the word out that this is a great place to work.” Dickerson says that the fi rm takes steps to do business

with vendors who represent a diverse pool of people. “We have a very successful, very robust diversity-

supplier program where we look for diversity vendors and encourage diversity vendors.”


he need for diversity is a “no-brainer” in the increasingly global marketplace in



and cultures, it requires eff ort to retain and promote them, says Lorraine McGowen, who heads


the fi rm-wide Diversity and Inclusion Initiative for Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliff e LLP. McGowen, who is a partner in the fi rm’s New York

offi ce, a corporate restructuring partner, and member of the executive committee, describes retention and pro- motion as among the challenges for Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliff e. Orrick, an international law fi rm, has more than 1,100

lawyers in 23 offi ces spread out through 8 countries in North America, Europe, and Asia. “Our goal is that every practice group will be diverse,”

she says. “I think that one thing we do that not everyone does is not just to report on their progress and challenges to your senior leadership, but to engage in candid conversa- tion with your practice group leaders.” As chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative and

the Women’s Initiative, McGowen said she meets at least twice a year with the fi rm’s 20 practice group leaders “to talk about how they are doing demographically and the challenges that they face. “For our junior partners we talk about what can we

do to assist in their further development, so that we are promoting internally,” she adds. “We engage in very candid conversations with the practice group leaders regarding each of their attorneys. “We want to be able to provide our clients with a diverse

team, and we want all of our diverse staff and attorneys to feel they have not only the opportunity to work here but also the opportunity to thrive and develop professionally.” One of the initiatives of which the fi rm is most proud,

she says, is its founding and sponsorship of the Bay Area Diversity Career Fair for second-year law students. She says it is the largest event of its kind on the West Coast, attracting more than 300 law students and more than 100 employers. Orrick conducts the fair in collaboration with the Bar Association of San Francisco. T e event brings together a diverse pool of students with Bay Area employers, who traveled great distances to recruit minor- ity candidates before the fair was founded seven years ago. Orrick says it plans to replicate the career fair in other locations where it has offi ces.


iversity does not end with recruiting and hiring people from varied backgrounds

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