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SAN FRANCISCO � Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman managers first enlisted Tania Shah earlier this year to help them recruit someone to lead the firm’s diversity initiatives. Shah, the former executive director of the California Minority Counsel Program, seemed ideal for that � and, as it turned out, so much more. Last month, Pillsbury hired Shah for a newly created post: director of corporate social responsibility. It’s a title, and role, that so far has mostly popped up at European law firms but may catch on here, as it gives firms a way to manage, and publicize, a variety of feel-good initiatives seen as essential in attracting both clients and lawyers. At Pillsbury, Shah will oversee diversity and inclusion, environmental sustainability, pro bono work, charitable giving, community outreach and even worker health and safety. “If you looked at everything that we were already doing and rolled it up, it looked like a corporate social responsibility program,” said Debbie Johnson, Pillsbury’s human resources chief. For some time, large corporations and even foreign law firms have been unifying such initiatives and marketing them under the banner of “social responsibility.” Meanwhile, most American firms have given them over to separate committees under the oversight of individual partners. Listening to clients Though some might argue that existing committees for such issues make a corporate social responsibility director redundant, others see in Pillsbury’s move an attentive response to client desires that could unify disconnected initiatives. “Those programs as a whole are increasing in importance and they’re getting to a scale that it makes sense to hire someone to oversee them all,” said Chuck Fanning, a San Francisco-based partner at the search firm Major, Lindsey & Africa. Besides being consistent with Pillsbury’s values, Fanning said, hiring a director of corporate social responsibility also responds to demands from clients who are often “holding vendors’ feet to the fire on corporate responsibility.” “If [clients] are proud of their law firm, they’re more likely to stick around,” he said. Kevin Fong, a partner at Pillsbury who runs the firm’s diversity and inclusion committee, said corporate social responsibility is a “cutting-edge idea” in the corporate workplace. “We thought we’d take a cue from them and be the first to bring it to the legal market,” he said. A single contact With Shah directing programs from a high level, he said, Pillsbury’s clients will have a single contact who can present a firmwide plan for corporate social responsibility. Though Pillsbury would not discuss details of Shah’s compensation, and a couple of industry experts said they could not estimate the salary of her new position, most agreed that the measure of her success would be intangible and hard to quantify on the bottom line. Mozhgan Mizban, a San Francisco-based partner at Zeughauser Group who focuses on client relationships and firmwide marketing and planning, said Shah could help Pillsbury make clients more loyal, if she is utilized strategically. But Mizban questioned whether one person could be qualified and knowledgeable in all the areas under the aegis of Pillsbury’s corporate social responsibility agenda. “It’s the melding of a lot of stuff that’s not typically melded together,” she said.

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