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It is impossible to ignore the dramatic shifts in the demographics of the workforce that are taking place in this country. In general, people of color and women are coming into the legal workplace in larger numbers. For example, in 2006, minority law students represented 21.2 percent of fall J.D. enrollment in ABA-approved law schools, while women comprised 46.9 percent. Without question, numerous talented candidates will be found within this increasingly diverse workforce. To paraphrase recruiting industry expert Lou Alder, top people want top jobs regardless of their cultural, racial, ethnic, religious background, age, sexual orientation or gender. If Philadelphia law firms and corporate law departments are to succeed in attracting and retaining talented diverse candidates, they will need to do two things: identify what qualities makes their law firm or department stand out as a place where talented diverse candidates want to be; and be willing to invest in serious efforts to recruit and retain diverse candidates. Law firms and corporate legal departments are more likely to attract diverse attorneys if they are forthright about their commitment to diversity and inclusion as well as the steps that they have implemented towards that end. A review of the Web sites of AstraZeneca, CIGNA, Comcast, Rohm and Haas and Sunoco reveals that these corporations have embraced diversity/inclusion as a key business objective. In fact, these companies are all past recipients of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s (MCCA’s) Employer of Choice Award for their law department’s diversity efforts. In addition, in 2007, IKON was noted among 25 noteworthy companies for having people of color totaling 28 percent of its management by DiversityInc., and GlaxoSmithKline has been listed as one of the 100 Best Companies for family-friendly working environments by Working Mothermagazine for the past five years. Each one of these achievements may be viewed as evidence of some level of commitment at those companies to support initiatives that foster a culture of inclusion. Recruitment What are some of the most effective ways for firms and law departments to gain access to diverse candidates? For entry-level firm positions, in addition to the traditional on-campus interview process, several other programs exist that are designed to foster connections between law firms and minority law students. They include the Philadelphia Area Minority Job Fair, the 1L networking reception sponsored by the Legal Recruitment Administrators of Philadelphia (LRAP) and Philadelphia Diversity Law Group’s (PDLG’s) summer program for 1Ls. Although most corporate law departments do not hire candidates out of law school, they may still participate in the PDLG 1L summer program � as well as area law school, college and high school career panels � to foster connections as a pipeline development strategy. Great relationships develop routinely through these events, some of which ultimately lead to employment. Another tried and true method for gaining exposure to minority law student populations is to broaden recruitment efforts to embrace historically black colleges and universities with law schools, such as Howard University and Texas Southern University. Entrance to the diverse lateral market can be obtained through a variety of methods. Firms and law departments should expand their recruitment efforts beyond the status quo by using legal search firms that specialize in placing diverse candidates. National minority bar meetings and MCCA events are fertile ground for networking and developing relationships with highly skilled minority lawyers from across the country. Furthermore, Vault Inc., in partnership with MCCA, now sponsors a Legal Diversity Career Fair in selected cities across the country that attracts experienced minority lawyers as well as law students. Another option is to list open positions on MCCA’s monthly electronic Hot Jobs posting. Corporations may also list openings with Corporate Counsel Women of Color � an organization that, as of March 2007, had a membership of more than 1,700 women of color working at Fortune 1000 and Forbes 2000 legal departments � or the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) In-House Jobline. Finally, keeping diverse lawyers at firms and in law departments abreast of available positions may yield referrals to talented candidates among their peers. Retention Analysis by NALP of the presence of minorities and women in law firms in 2006 indicated that in Philadelphia, 2.67 percent of partners were lawyers of color, 18.52 percent were women and 1.07 percent were minority women. On the associate side, 10.16 percent were minority lawyers, 45.74 percent were women and 5.77 percent were minority women. Given these numbers, changing patterns of attrition have tremendous impact on diversity in the law firm environment. In years past, most lawyers started and ended their careers at the same firm, but it is not uncommon in the current climate for lateral movement to occur at all levels, associates as well as partners. The NALP Foundation’s fourth national benchmark study of associate attrition in firms of all sizes found that overall, 62 percent of entry-level associates departed within four years of start. A closer look reveals that 63 percent of female entry-level associates, 58 percent of minority male entry-level associates and 66 percent of minority female entry-level associates left within this time frame. A variety of factors contribute to this phenomenon. The NALP Foundation’s study noted that Generations X and Y, in contrast to previous generations of lawyers, have a free-agent mindset that makes them more mobile from the outset. Another commentator suggests that Generation Y responds to a different set of motivation strategies and is more focused on pursuing interests outside of work. Attrition rates for lawyers of color tend to be higher. Studies have documented that there are certain factors that contribute to minority lawyer attrition in particular. These include, inter alia, feelings of isolation, lack of mentoring, lack of opportunity and stereotypes about ability. The ABA Commission on Women in the Profession’s recent report, Visible Invisibility: Women of Color in Law Firms, concluded that race and gender combined have tremendous impact on the career experiences of women of color. On the corporate side, MCCA’s 2006 survey of minority general counsel in Fortune 500 companies found 32 general counsel of color. Its parallel study of women general counsel in such companies uncovered 83 women overall, six of whom were women of color. Consequently, firm and law department management must embrace policies and practices that promote retention. Specific firm strategies such as encouraging frequent communication between partners and associates; communicating flexibility and support for family priorities; structuring a work assignment process that distributes challenging, varied, progressively more difficult assignments to associates; and providing feedback to associates in close proximity to work completion should be adopted. Elements of successful law departments’ strategies include conducting diversity training and programs that focus on providing information, awareness and tools to build a diverse and inclusive workplace; establishing diversity action plans or performance requirements for managers; fostering opportunities for professional development through individual/group mentoring or succession planning; encouraging participation in the company’s broader affinity groups; and using multiple communication channels to support and promote the diversity efforts of the legal function. Recognizing the unique barriers that minority lawyers face, specific attention should be paid to those best practices identified by other firms or law departments to support this group. They include increasing the number of senior minority attorneys within the firm or law department; providing equal access to quality work assignments, formal and informal events; and conducting internal conferences for women and minority lawyers which provide business development, leadership development and presentation skills. Another approach is to send minority lawyers to external events such as Charting Your Own Course Career Conference (see www.CYOC.org.), or similar types of training, and to give attorneys at firms training on marketing and business development strategies. Further refinements are needed to support women of color. In other words, specific steps should be taken to integrate minority women into the professional and social fabric of the firm or law department. Moreover, dialogue must take place in order to increase awareness of minority women’s issues and it is advisable to help women of color build internal and external support systems. In sum, Philadelphia law firms and corporate legal departments can attract and retain talented diverse lawyers by, in the first instance, embracing diversity and inclusion, then by communicating their commitment to these principles internally and to the larger community, utilizing a broad range of recruitment strategies beyond traditional methods, and learning about best practices and incorporating them into the organization’s policies, practices and procedures on a daily basis. In the long run, communication and productivity will be enhanced and new perspectives and approaches to serving client and customer needs will emerge. The war for talent can be won; now is the time to begin the journey in earnest. Karen Jackson Vaughn is the diversity program manager for Saul Ewing. In this capacity, she devotes her energies full-time to implementing the firm’s comprehensive, multi-year diversity initiative. Previously, Vaughn was the assistant dean for career planning at Temple University Beasley School of Law. Cynthia R. White is currently assistant general counsel at GlaxoSmithKline, where she counsels several business units in the U.S. Commercial Operations division. White’s 16-year legal practice is concentrated in health and general business law with a focus on fraud and abuse, managed care, regulatory, contracting, antitrust and reimbursement issues.

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