Historically, large firms have experienced an “attrition gap” in which more women than men and more ethnically diverse attorneys than non-ethnically diverse attorneys leave the firm. Our diversity-business department is helping to close the attrition gap by working with our diverse attorneys to identify and support opportunities for their success on both an individual and a group basis. The professionals in our diversity-business department assist diverse attorneys with business planning and provide career-path coaching, augmenting the resources provided by mentors and practice group leaders. The department also cultivates relationships with outside organizations to provide writing and speaking engagements for our diverse attorneys to help build their credentials and visibility and create valuable networking opportunities.
As another retention strategy, we support peer-group or affinity-group networks for our African-American, Asian-Pacific, Hispanic, gay and lesbian, woman, and “flex-schedule” attorneys. These groups play a valuable role in connecting our diverse attorneys across the country, leading to informal mentoring relationships and opportunities to work collectively on business- and professional-development projects. The groups also actively participate in recruiting and bring to the surface issues of concern for management’s consideration, giving diverse attorneys an important role in improving the climate for diversity.
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