L-R Arokium Sampson and Alison Bernard.
Pictured, from left, are Satra Sampson-Arokium and Alison Bernard. (Handout Photo)

Dechert has revamped its talent and diversity leadership, bringing in two Big Law veterans to lead lawyer development and diversity initiatives.

The firm announced Wednesday that it hired Alison Nina Bernard as chief talent officer, and Satra Sampson-Arokium as director of diversity and inclusion.

Bernard, a lawyer, comes from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, where she led the firm’s office of attorney development. Sampson-Arokium was previously the director of diversity and inclusion at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, and at Kaye Scholer before that.

Chief talent officer titles have multiplied at big firms in recent years, but it’s a new role in the hierarchy at Dechert. It combines the positions of global director of legal talent and chief human resources officer at the firm. Those roles were previously held by Molly Peckman and Mike Lewis, respectively.

Peckman, who left Dechert in September, started her own consulting agency. Lewis retired from Dechert at the end of 2016, according to the firm.

The former director of diversity and inclusion, Chantel Moore, also left Dechert in September to start a consulting business, according to the firm. She was Dechert’s first diversity director.

As chief talent officer, Bernard oversees legal recruiting, diversity and professional development—or as she called it, “the life cycle of the attorney experience.” One of her first tasks in the job, which started even before she officially joined in January, was hiring a new diversity director. Sampson-Arokium stepped into that role in mid-March. The firm is also planning to hire a director of professional development.

Bernard said she is inheriting “a strong framework” at Dechert in terms of attorney development. She cited the firm’s public speaking seminars for associates, its exceptional teachers award to encourage mentorship, and its associate development counseling.

She hopes to make some changes in the firm’s recruiting methods, she said, by analyzing more than just law schools and grades as indicators of future performance. The firm grew its head count in 2016 and is expecting further growth in 2017, particularly overseas.

“On the recruiting front we’re really going to try to innovate how we’re finding our talent,” she said. “We’re really going to be diving into that … to make sure we’re interviewing in the most productive way.”

Sampson-Arokium said Dechert, like many law firms, has room for improvement on diversity, and is looking to improve its numbers on that front. One of the ways it will do so, she said, is improving sponsorship programs to provide diverse attorneys with pathways to partnership.

Dechert has revamped its talent and diversity leadership, bringing in two Big Law veterans to lead lawyer development and diversity initiatives.

The firm announced Wednesday that it hired Alison Nina Bernard as chief talent officer, and Satra Sampson-Arokium as director of diversity and inclusion.

Bernard, a lawyer, comes from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson , where she led the firm’s office of attorney development. Sampson-Arokium was previously the director of diversity and inclusion at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer , and at Kaye Scholer before that.

Chief talent officer titles have multiplied at big firms in recent years, but it’s a new role in the hierarchy at Dechert . It combines the positions of global director of legal talent and chief human resources officer at the firm. Those roles were previously held by Molly Peckman and Mike Lewis , respectively.

Peckman, who left Dechert in September, started her own consulting agency. Lewis retired from Dechert at the end of 2016, according to the firm.

The former director of diversity and inclusion, Chantel Moore, also left Dechert in September to start a consulting business, according to the firm. She was Dechert ‘s first diversity director.

As chief talent officer, Bernard oversees legal recruiting, diversity and professional development—or as she called it, “the life cycle of the attorney experience.” One of her first tasks in the job, which started even before she officially joined in January, was hiring a new diversity director. Sampson-Arokium stepped into that role in mid-March. The firm is also planning to hire a director of professional development.

Bernard said she is inheriting “a strong framework” at Dechert in terms of attorney development. She cited the firm’s public speaking seminars for associates, its exceptional teachers award to encourage mentorship, and its associate development counseling.

She hopes to make some changes in the firm’s recruiting methods, she said, by analyzing more than just law schools and grades as indicators of future performance. The firm grew its head count in 2016 and is expecting further growth in 2017, particularly overseas.

“On the recruiting front we’re really going to try to innovate how we’re finding our talent,” she said. “We’re really going to be diving into that … to make sure we’re interviewing in the most productive way.”

Sampson-Arokium said Dechert , like many law firms, has room for improvement on diversity, and is looking to improve its numbers on that front. One of the ways it will do so, she said, is improving sponsorship programs to provide diverse attorneys with pathways to partnership.