Chambers Diversity: A 2015 Review & Thoughts for 2016

Chambers Diversity takes a look back at 2015, a time of growth and expansion for the programme, with new partnerships flourishing in new locations. There remains, however, an awful lot of work to do.

Dee Sekar (Editor: Global Diversity), Daniel Winterfeldt (CMS & Interlaw), Luke Vincett (Writer/Researcher: Global Diversity
Dee Sekar (Editor: Global Diversity), Daniel Winterfeldt (CMS & Interlaw), Luke Vincett (Writer/Researcher: Global Diversity)

It is clear that diversity in the legal profession is becoming an increasingly hot topic with increased coverage in the media. Firms are proving to be willing to commit money and resources to address the issue and law societies and bar associations across the globe are engaging in a variety of initiatives. It is also clear, however, that the problems remain and are, perhaps, even more deep-rooted than anticipated. Progress is stalling.

It is difficult to pinpoint the reasons for this but three key areas that have been widely identified are recruitment, retention and promotion. Whether it is lawyers leaving the profession in search of a better work-life balance, lawyers with disabilities feeling excluded and lacking appropriate access or the over-representation of lawyers from traditional backgrounds, it is clear that old adage that the legal profession is run by and suited to people of a certain stock, character or background still runs true.

Tunde Okewale (Doughty Street Chambers and Urban Lawyers), Dee Sekar (Editor: Global Diversity), Luke Vincett (Writer/Researcher: Global Diversity)
Tunde Okewale (Doughty Street Chambers and Urban Lawyers), Dee Sekar (Editor: Global Diversity), Luke Vincett (Writer/Researcher: Global Diversity)

Those who do not fit the mould not only have to work harder to join the profession initially and are far more likely to feel uncomfortable in the profession or leave it altogether.

In January, the Chambers Women in Law initiative expanded to become Chambers Diversity, broadening our remit to include ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability and mental health, age and social mobility, as well as gender. This has resulted in a much broader scope for seminars and awards, with our first ever events in Dublin and Buenos Aires taking on all strands of diversity, as well as a diversity award at the Europe, USA, Latin America and UK Bar ceremonies. It is an exciting time to engage in diversity initiatives, with even the stronghold of tradition and stiff-upper-lipped-ness, the Bar, acknowledging the necessity for change.

Below is our review of 2015 and some thoughts for 2016.

Diversity Seminars

Women in Litigation

The Yale Club, New York, Thursday, 12th March, 2015

Sponsored by: Kasowitz, Benson, Torres and Friedman LLP

 

 

One of our practice-area focused diversity seminars, Women in Litigation brought together Corporate Counsel from across New York and the surrounding areas to dissect the issues specific to female lawyers, whether private practice or in-house, working in litigation.

Pre-seminar at the Yale Club
Pre-seminar at the Yale Club

Bringing together an expert panel, including two judges, two Kasowitz partners and a managing director and general counsel, the discussion and break-out groups encouraged focused on strategies for increased litigation success, while encouraging delegate engagement. Some of the key topics were obtaining maximum benefit in the courtroom from female trial counsel, dealing with sexism in the courtroom and other practical tips for the next generation of female litigators.

Full agenda and speaker details can be found here.

Feedback

“Thank you. It was a very nice and well done conference, with good speakers.”

Karen Parker, Insurance Professional

Women as Leaders in Law: Cracking the Confidence Code

The Yale Club, New York, Monday, 27th April, 2015

 Sponsored by: Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

Debevoise_Logo_Black_A familiar theme for our diversity seminars, we explored successful routes to leadership positions, while also deconstructing the myths that turn many women away from the application process. With a panel consisting of general counsel from Citigroup, The Estée Lauder Companies and Adidas Group, as well as a judge and a partner from Debevoise, the panel examined how encouragement and support are key to a confident workforce. Further, there were a plethora of practical tips from the top on displaying and projecting the confidence required for leadership roles.

Full agenda and speaker details can be found here.

Feedback

“You do a professional job and your events are worthwhile. It is evident that you put time and thought into the discussions.”

Jennifer Mone, Deputy General Counsel

Chambers Leadership and Arbitration Forum

The Renaissance Hotel, São Paulo, Tuesday 26th May, 2015

Sponsored by: CAM-CCBC

CAM.CCBCTeaming up, once again, with CAM-CCBC, this seminar gathered three  private practice partners from different firms across Brazil and three in-house counsel for a balanced discussion on leadership and the role of women in arbitration. There was advice on negotiating better compensation coupled with a discussion on the many technicalities of arbitration, which soon developed into sharing experiences of creating women’s network and evaluation of different leadership styles. Separate break-out sessions on women’s leadership and arbitration allowed the delegates time for a closely focused discussion on everything covered in the seminar.

Full agenda and speaker details can be found here.

Feedback

“Events like that are very important and are great opportunities to create a vast network for exchange of information and promoting transformative actions capable of strengthening the whole system.”

Daniela Loureiro de Vasconcellos, Institutional Development, Instituto Fazendo Historia

“Chambers has promoted excellent opportunities for women  to share their professional experiences and mentor others. ”

Lorenlai Alves, Senior Litigation and Compliance Attorney, Dresser-Rand

The Role of Women and Diversity in the Corporate World

The Offices of Greenberg Traurig LLP, Miami, Friday, 25th September, 2015

Sponsored by: Greenberg Traurig LLP

Greenberg Traurig LogoYet again, in the run-up to the Chambers Latin America Awards, our annual diversity seminar in Miami was a great success . A full house of delegates gathered for panel discussions from partners and general counsel, as well as the founders of innovative diversity networks Interlaw and

A break-out session in full flow
A break-out session in full flow

Abogados MX, Daniel Winterfeldt and Valeria Chapa. The two panel discussions, ‘How to Recruit, Retain and Promote Women’ and ‘How Best to Educate the Corporate World on Diversity Best Practice’, were followed by focused break-out sessions on key issues such as unconscious bias, cultural awareness and creating inclusive environments for LGBT and minority lawyers. In typical Miami fashion, there were plenty of opportunities for networking and eating and drinking together.

Full agenda and speaker details can be found here.

Feedback

“Very good organization!”

Ana Patricia Portillo Reyes, Partner, Guandique Segovia Quintanilla- LatamLex

Chambers European Leadership and Diversity Summit

The Conrad Hotel, Dublin, Thursday, 15th October, 2015

Sponsored by: Eversheds

Eversheds

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The perfect feedback – practical advice

October was an extremely exciting month as we teamed up with Eversheds for the first time to host the inaugural Chambers Diversity European Leadership Summit, in Dublin. With a fantastic panel of diversity trailblazers and thought leaders from across Europe and the legal profession, including private practice partners, in-house counsel, a barrister and a consultant and business coach, we explored all aspects of diversity and best practice for effective, lasting change.

The discussion, at times inspiring and at others controversial, was never in danger of fizzling out as the panelists and delegates began with the overwhelming evidence of the business case for diversity, before seamlessly transitioning to the moral imperative and practical action points for implementing change. As always, the session was forced to end mid-conversation, with plenty more to discuss. Thankfully, there was plenty of time to network and continue the new relationships that had been formed as The Conrad Hotel, Dublin put on a fantastic spread of drinks and canapés.

Full agenda and speaker details can be found here.

The event was a roaring success, causing a Twitterstorm and receiving fantastic feedback:

“Chambers managed this event with professionalism and efficiency. The moderator Dee Sekar encouraged active discussion between attendees and panel members which added to the success of the event.”

Shane Riordan, In-House Legal Counsel, Electricity Supply Board

 

The Chambers European Leaadership and Diversity Summit: The Panel
The Chambers European Leaadership and Diversity Summit: The Panel

 

Diversity and the Law in 2016: Advancing the Business Case for Diversity and Inclusion

The Yale Club, New York, Wednesday, 28th October, 2015

sponsored by: Baker Botts LLP

175 Year Logo_hi res-3inWRounding off October, we teamed up with Baker Botts in New York and two General Counsel for a seminar to re-establish the business case for diversity and inclusion, while also analysing what it takes to run a successful diversity initiative. As organizations have long since launched diversity and inclusion initiatives, this seminar sought to re-examine key roles & goals of these programs, to ensure that they rise to the challenge of today’s global business landscape and remain relevant to business needs. Our team of panelists assessed the effectiveness and impact of current diversity and inclusion initiatives and ways to leverage diversity to improve business and individual performance.

Full agenda and speaker details can be found here.

Feedback

“Chambers & Partners provides excellent programming, with real-life issues that are pertinent to those in the legal field.  They curate panels which showcase thought-provoking and practical solutions within the legal industry, beyond the usual CLEs.”

Neena Dutta, Principal Attorney, Dutta Law Firm, P.C.

Chambers Diversity Latin America Summit

The Park Hyatt, Buenos Aires, Thursday, 12th November, 2015

Sponsored by: Linklaters, FERRERE and Marval, O’Farrell & Mairal

 

Marval OFarrell Mairal FERRERE logo Linklaters Logo

 

 

Our final diversity seminar of te year saw us go out with a bang as we held our first ever event in Buenos Aires, teaming up with Linklaters, FERRERE and Marval, O’Farrell & Mairal. With keynote speaker, Laura Alonso (Congresswoman, Argentina), accompanied by representatives of the sponsor firms and some of the top in-house counsel in Latin America, our panel discussion cut to the core of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. An icebreaker, in which panelists and delegates alike shared their experiences, be it discrimination suffered or obstacles overcome, was followed by an in-depth panel discussion on issues such as mentoring and unconscious bias. This was compounded close analysis of case studies, leading towards concrete ideas of best practice for diversity.

Keynote Speaker: Laura Alonso, Congresswoman, Argentina
Keynote Speaker: Laura Alonso, Congresswoman, Argentina

Full agenda and speaker details can be found here.

Feedback

“The first time I attended an event where diversity is addressed in such an original way.  Life experiences told by the panellists were very enriching and will for sure make us take some positive actions.”

Lilian Trebotich, Legal Marketing Senior Analyst, Unilever de Argentina

“I thought this was one of the most well run events of its type I have ever attended. I fully recommend to others to attend these events if you can.”
Geoffrey McRae, CEO and Marketing Director, Gateway To South America

“This type of events reinforces the fact that it is important to be part of the change and take the lead for our future generations. It is important to implement new policies on these issues.”

Gillian Paredes, Senior Lawyer, Muñiz, Ramírez, Pérez-Taiman & Olaya, Abogados

Buenos Aires Diversity Seminar - Panel
Buenos Aires Diversity Seminar – Panel

Diversity Awards

Chambers Women in Law Awards: USA 2015

The Harvard Club, New York, Tuesday, 2nd June, 2015

Sponsored by: Sidley Austin LLPPacheco Coto and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

Sidley Austin Logo Pacheco Coto logo Debevoise_Logo

 

Our fourth year of Chambers Women in Law Awards USA was more closely competed and than ever. With increasing awareness of diversity and inclusion resulting in more firms and companies committing to policy changes and networking initiatives, this year’s winners ushered in a new era of original and innovative ways to affect change in the legal profession. The Chambers awards are not judged on a small number of submitted entries, but uniquely on the investigations of the largest legal research team in the world. To win a Chambers award means the recipient truly has reached the pinnacle of professional excellence. The nature of the audience and our special relationship with it means we are able to offer unrivalled networking and marketing opportunities which can be tailored to your specific needs. We offer our congratulations to all firms and individuals.

Women in Law Winners USA
The Winners – Chambers Women in Law Award: USA 2015

Full agenda, shortlist and winner details can be found here.

Private Practice Awards

Future Leader
Winner: Amanda K. Edwards, Associate, Bracewell & Giuliani LLP

Leadership in the Community: Lawyer of the Year
Winner: Doreen Lilienfeld, Practice Group Leader, Shearman & Sterling LLP

Leadership in the Profession: Mentoring Lawyer of the Year
Winner: Robin Cohen, Partner, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP

Leadership in the Profession: Gender Diversity – Lawyer of the Year
Winner: Mary Beth Hogan, Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

Outstanding Achievement Award
Winner: Alice Young, Retired Partner, Kaye Scholer LLP

Most Pioneering Gender Diversity Initiative (Firm)
Winner: Sidley Austin LLPWomen in Law Awards Program

Most Valuable Mentoring Program for Women Lawyers (Firm)
Winner: Morrison & Foerster LLP

Most Inclusive Firm for Minority Women Lawyers (Firm)
Winner: Greenberg Traurig LLP

Corporate Social Responsibility Programme of the Year (Firm)
Winner: Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Outstanding Firm for Furthering Women’s Advancement (Recruitment, Retention and Promotion) (Firm)
Winner: K&L Gates LLP


In-House Awards:

Future Leader
Winner: Julie Ledermann, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, J.P. Morgan

Leadership in the Community:  Lawyer of the Year
Winner: Maureen Del Duca, Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Litigation and Investigations, Northrop Grumman

Leadership in the Profession: Gender Diversity – Lawyer of the Year
Winner: Michelle Waites, Senior Patent Counsel, Xerox Corporation

Leadership in the Profession: Mentoring – Lawyer of the Year
Winner: Julie Jacobs, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, AOL

Outstanding Achievement Award
Winner: Jill Hayman,  Global Head of the Corporate Real Estate and Corporate Services Legal Group, Morgan Stanley

Special Awards:

Outstanding Contribution to Furthering the Advancement of Minority Lawyers
S. Jeanine Conley, Partner, Baker & Hostetler LLP

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S. Jeanine Conley

We are delighted to present our inaugural Outstanding Contribution to Furthering the Advancement of Minority Lawyers award to S. Jeanine Conley from Baker & Hostetler LLP. This award was specifically created based on the wealth and breadth of experience S. Jeanine Conley has brought to the sphere of advancing minorities within the legal profession and far beyond.

Jeanine Conley is co-chair of the inaugural Diversity, Inclusion and Community Service Committee at Baker & Hostetler LLP. She is past Chair of the Committee on Minorities in the Profession of the New York City Bar Association and is currently chair of the Recruitment and Retention Task Force, a subcommittee of the Enhance Diversity Committee of the New York City Bar, a group of leaders working to make a significant and lasting impact on diversity in the legal profession.

Conley’s commitment to diversity is ever-growing and far-reaching. She is a member of the Alumni Fellows Board of the Council of Urban Professionals and a member of the Executive Committee of the New York Urban League Board of Directors. She recently became a fellow in the 2015 class of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity.

Conley is also a champion of gender diversity and has served as Past President of the Association of Black Women Attorneys, which works to enhance the professional and personal development of black women in law and provides scholarships to law school students to help build the diversity pipeline.

Jeanine Conley is a shining example of a true diversity champion who is opening many doors and creating new pathways for both minorities and women.

Outstanding Contribution to the International Community
Kimberley Motely, Partner, Motley Legal Services

We are delighted to present our inaugural Outstanding Contribution to the International Community to Kimberley Motley from Motley Legal Services. This award was set up to honour and highlight the outstanding achievement Kimberley has made to international human rights law.

Attorney Kimberley Motley has earned the reputation of one of the world’s most respected and successful lawyers. Armed with an unwavering determination and a passion for justice, Motley is the first and only foreign lawyer to ever litigate in Afghanistan’s Courts. She currently spends most of her time navigating Afghanistan’s punitive and capricious legal system with unprecedented success.

Dee Sekar & Kimberley Motley
Dee Sekar & Kimberley Motley

This pioneering international litigator is the daughter of a Korean mother and an ex-military African American father, initially served as an attorney with the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office, where she litigated hundreds of criminal, civil and juvenile cases ranging from misdemeanors to felonies. Motley spends nine months of the year living in Afghanistan, defending foreigners to the country, Fortune 500 companies, embassies and ambassadors, and women and children in human rights cases, which have involved everything from accusations of drug trafficking, battery, murder. Bringing her vast knowledge, experience, success record and steadfast ethical standards to each case, Motley challenges out-dated cultural norms and focuses on human rights.

She recently gave a TED TALK and a GOOGLE TALK on her mission to raise the bar of legal representation globally. A documentary highlighting her work entitled, “Motley’s Law” is scheduled to be released in 2015.

Chambers Women in Law Awards: Latin America 2015

The Grand Mercure, São Paulo, Thursday, 1st October, 2015

Sponsored by: CAM CCBC and Machado, Meyer, Sendacz e Opice Advogados

 

Machado Meyer Logo CAM.CCBC

 

 

 

 

WIL LatAm Awards
Tables laid for the Chambers Women in Law Award: Latin America 2015

With over two years of extensive research into gender diversity in Latin America, and four seminars on the topic hosted in São Paulo in the last 12 months, the awards represent both the culmination of our research and an exciting new chapter in our aim for global diversity and equal opportunities in the legal profession. This year we were delighted to include an additional category,  Outstanding Contribution to Arbitration Award sponsored by CAM-CCBC. This award recognised a lawyer who has shown best practice and a strong commitment to the role of women in arbitration. Winning a Chambers Women in Law Award sets a remarkably high precedent, and marks an internationally recognised achievement of excellence in furthering the advancement of women in the legal profession. We firmly believe that, by raising awareness of gender diversity and empowering the people committed to bringing about change, together we can start a new chapter in Latin America with equal opportunities for everyone.

Full agenda, shortlist and winner details can be found here.

 

In-House:

Company Awards

Outstanding Company for Furthering Women’s Advancement (Recruitment, Retention and Promotion)
Winner: Accenture

Individual In-House Awards

Future Leader
Winner: Maria Goicochea – Accor

Leadership in the Community: Lawyer of the Year
Winner: Magda Kiehl – Accor

Leadership in the Profession: Gender Diversity Lawyer of the Year
Winner: Maria Tereza Machado – Cisco

Leadership in the Profession: Mentoring Lawyer of the Year
Winner: Monica Ailt – Intel

Special In-House Awards

Outstanding Contribution to Furthering the Advancement of Women in the Law

Outstanding Contribution to Furthering the Advancement of Women in the Law: Renata Garrido, Procter & Gamble Brasil
Outstanding Contribution to Furthering the Advancement of Women in the Law: Renata Garrido, Procter & Gamble Brasil


Winner: Renata Garrido – Procter and Gamble Brasil

Renata graduated in 1988 from Pontificia Universidade Catolica de Campinas, worked at Rocha and Barcellos Advogados associados as a litigator and for the past 20 years has been working for P&G. She has been P&G Brazil General Counsel since 2002, also managing Government Relations and Compliance.  Renata’s entire team is composed of women. Lawyers, paralegals, assistants and interns are all women.  Renata is a founding member of “Legal in Skirts” or “ Juridico de Saias”, the all-female in-house counsel group that supports women in the legal profession.

Private Practice:

International Firm Awards

Most Valuable Mentoring Programme for Women Lawyers
Winner: Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Outstanding Firm for Furthering Women’s Advancement (Recruitment, Retention and Promotion)Winner: Disan LLP

Regional Firm Awards

Corporate Social Responsibility/Pro Bono Programme of the Year
Winner: Siqueira Castro – Advogados

Most Valuable Mentoring Program for Women Lawyers
Winner: Zang, Bergel & Viñes Abogados

Outstanding Firm for Furthering Women’s Advancement (Recruitment, Retention and Promotion)

Outstanding Contribution to Furthering the Advancement of Women in the Law: Ruby Asturias, Pacheco Coto
Outstanding Contribution to Furthering the Advancement of Women in the Law: Ruby Asturias, Pacheco Coto


Winner: TozziniFreire

Individual Private Practice Awards

Future Leader
Winner: Su Jung Ko – TozziniFreire

Leadership in the Community: Lawyer of the Year
Winner: Lilian Arias – Arias & Munoz El Salvador

Leadership in the Profession: Gender Diversity – Lawyer of the Year
Winner: Gisela Porras – Arias & Munoz Panama

Leadership in the Profession: Mentoring Lawyer of the Year
Winner: Roberta Leonhardt – Machado, Meyer, Sendacz e Opice

Special Awards

Outstanding Contribution to Furthering the Advancement of Women in the Law
Winner: Ruby Asturias – Pacheco Coto

Outstanding Contribution to Arbitration Award, sponsored by CAM-CCBC
Winner: Selma Lemes – Selma Lemes Advogados

Our winners!
Our winners!

Diversity Awards at Regional Chambers Award Ceremonies

As part of the launch of Chambers Diversity, we were delighted to unveil a Chambers Diversity Award at our regional, guide-related award ceremonies. It was a pleasure to work with the Chambers Editors to shine a spotlight on some fantastic diversity trailblazers, firms, barristers and general counsel alike, who have shown incredible dedication to affecting change beyond the region in which they operate.

Chambers Europe Awards, Amsterdam, 24th April

Leslie with her award
Leslie with her award

Outstanding Contribution to Diversity Award: Lesley Wan, Corporate Real Estate Counsel, Lloyds Banking Group

Lesley Wan is Corporate Real Estate Counsel of Lloyds Banking Group.She is pro-actively involved in various community and charity initiatives, both personally and in her professional capacity. In 2012, she created Through the Looking Glass programme to inspire talented young students from less affluent areas to realise their potential, and currently leads Breakthrough – a highly successful mentoring scheme for Lloyds Banking Group’s women’s network.

Chambers USA Awards, New York, 19th May

The Chambers Diversity Award: The Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Relationships Guide, by Jones Day

A firm-wide pro bono effort established by Jones Day, the Guide is a free, online tool which summarizes the legal recognition of same-sex relationships in all U.N. recognised countries worldwide. Successfully linking both pro bono and LGBT initiatives, this is an example of a successful, practical and meaningful diversity initiative.

Chambers Latin America Awards, Miami, 25th September

Valeria Chapa acceptance speech
Valeria Chapa acceptance speech

Outstanding Contribution to Diversity: Valeria Chapa Garza, General Counsel Latin America, Honeywell

In 2015, Valeria co-founded an NGO formed by Mexican in-house and law firm attorneys called Abogadas MX, which aims to increase the representation of women in leadership positions through initiatives that promote networking, professional development and leadership opportunities for women attorneys. This network currently includes over 170 attorneys and organizes quarterly diversity events in Mexico. Through Abogadas MX, Valeria launched an innovative mentoring program that pairs 20 senior lawyers from corporations and law firms with 20 junior lawyers to help guide their professional growth. Honeywell, 3M, Ford, General Electric, Home Depot, PepsiCo, Novartis, Microsoft & JPMorgan are participating in the 12-month pilot phase along with law firms like Baker & McKenzie and Greenberg Traurig. Valeria is a 2013 Fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) and an active supporter of the Women in the Profession initiative led by the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice of the New York City Bar.

Chambers Canada Awards, Toronto, 1st October

The Chambers Diversity Award: Canada: Élisabeth Brousseau and Roland Hung on behalf of McCarthy Tétrault, for work on LGBTI rights

Chambers and Partners recognises litigation associates Élisabeth Brousseau and Roland Hung on behalf of McCarthy Tétrault, together with Lawyers Without Borders Canada (LWBC), for their work in relation to the advancement of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Transsexual and Intersexed (LGBTI rights). Their pro bono mission to Guatemala is indicative of a practical, useful and meaningful initiative that supports LGBTI communities both within the legal profession and far beyond.

Chambers UK Bar Awards, London, 27th October

Tunde Okewale Receives The Outstanding Contribution to Diversity Award
Tunde Okewale Receives The Outstanding Contribution to Diversity Award

Outstanding Contribution to Diversity: Tunde Okewale, Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers

Having taken a non-traditional route to the Bar, Tunde has dedicated his professional and personal time to offering advice and expertise to young, aspiring barristers through his charity Urban Lawyers. The organisation, whose strap line is ‘Access to Law for All’, provides educational resources through workshops, events and curriculum support. By working to remove barriers to the legal profession for future generations, Tunde has demonstrated his absolute commitment to practical action in support of social mobility and community cohesion.

 

Chambers Diversity Blog

 

2015 was an incredibly exciting year for the Chambers Diversity Blog as we published more features than ever before, including event updates, feature interviews and guest contributions from diversity trailblazers across the globe. Continuing to shine a spotlight on diversity champions and the initiatives and programmes that are gradually changing the nature of the profession, this year the blog developed to include expert analysis of policy with a view to establishing guidelines for diversity best practice.

Below are some of the highlights and key quotes from 2015:

Feature Interviews

In February, Dee Sekar met Susan Belgrave of 7 Bedford Row to discuss diversity at the Bar:susanbelgrave

It’s difficult to say whether being a black female has been an issue for me as you never know why you do and don’t get instructed. Sometimes, you feel that you would be further along the route if you had the same skills and qualifications but if you were a white male. However, there is not much point worrying about that  as you can’t do anything about it except constantly seek to excel.”

Read the full article here.

A time of new beginnings, in May Dee was able to interview Valeria Chapa, founder of Abogados MX, a women’s mentoring scheme recently launched in Mexico, to share practical advice for launching diversity networks:

We provide a platform for people to share their experiences beyond the mentoring programme as well. I sent out a survey to all participants via social media, and we had a fantastic response to our survey. We formed committees: started organising breakfasts, inviting experts to speak and as things have grown so fast, we have decided to form an NGO.”

Read the full article here.

Published in October, my interview with Karen Jackson of didlaw explored everything from gender diversity to work-life balance and mental health:Karen Jackson

“I can’t see that it’s really going to change till the old guard say goodbye. Unfortunately what happens with senior men in the profession is that the younger men emulate them, see them as role models, and behave the same way. How is it ever going to change?”

“There are certain kinds of people who are naturally going to be more stressed than somebody else because they make high demands of themselves. That’s what I think is wrong with so many corporate cultures. They don’t really give you allowances for being a human being…There is an expectation that we all have to be super-human, it’s just not possible.”  

Read the full article here.

Finally, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview Ava Benach, partner and co-founder of Benach Ragland LLP. As a transgender woman and immigration law expert, Ava provided a wealth of experience and key advice on building an inclusive culture in the workplace:

“It’s a powerful thing for one of my clients to go back to their community and say: ‘You know, my lawyer who fixed the problem, she’s transgender. Somebody who I trust with really important things is transgender’.”

“I’m never happier than if an associate handles their case from start to finish. If that happens and then the clients’ cousin calls them instead of me, then I’ve built something there.”

Read the full article here.

Guest Contributions

In June, Adriana Ramos, a partner at Gómez & Galindo – LatamLex, became our first ever guest contributor as she analysed the conundrum of maternity policies for partners:

“If we want to move towards equal working conditions between men and women, the internal debate of being a mother or not should not be a determining factor for the professional success of women, whatever their profession. And since nowadays the male/female proportion in relation to the status of partners is measured and equated in law firms, proper internal maternity policies must also be implemented in order to protect female partners within each firm.”

Read the full article here.

Employment lawyer, Patrick Thiébart
Employment lawyer, Patrick Thiébart

Further, we were extremely lucky to receive a guest contribution from Patrick Thiébart, Partner at Jeantet Aarpi, on the latest legislative developments regarding sexism in the workplace:

“The new law banning sexism in the workplace was not necessary, creates legal uncertainty and is a sword over employers’ heads. All of this is not in favor of the social dialogue in the workplace that is promoted by the law of August 17, 2105!”

Read the full article here.

Never seeming to stop working for diversity, in October Tunde Okewale of Doughty Street Chambers wrote an article for us on the benefits of cognitive diversity:

“Cognitive diversity not only focuses on visual representation of diversity but the culture, thinking and practices governing organizations working practices. The focus is a holistic one, which looks at entry, retention and career progression. This change will only come about when we change the way we think about and accommodate diversity and, hopefully, there will come a point that it will be so embedded that we won’t have to think about it all.”

Read the full article here.

Another key supporter and friend of Chambers Diversity, Monica Feria-Tinta shared her experience of Bar Placement Week, as she spent a day showing a student the life of a barrister:Monica Feria Tinta

“We talked about international law and how it is relevant to domestic systems, what type of work is done by a barrister specializing in public international law and what the key challenges were. I was aware that having the opportunity to talk to a specialist in a field that you aspire to know more about is an experience a young, aspiring international lawyer would appreciate.”

Read the full article here.

Diversity in 2016

 

New year, new initiatives, new solutions.

Chambers Diversity will continue to shine a spotlight on the individuals, firms and companies working tirelessly to affect change in the legal profession. We hope to have more events, blog posts and diversity best practice advice than ever before, so watch this space!

Having already received numerous guest contributions in January, including experiences of closing the gender gap in Brazil and the march of Saudi female lawyers, February promises to be an even more enlightening month as we publish guest contributions for LGBT History Month. Shortly following this, keep an eye out for special features for International Women’s Day and Stress Awareness Week. In addition to this, we will be researching and publishing independent reports on the state of diversity in a variety of locations.

There will also be more awards than ever this year. As usual, our USA awards will be taking place in New York in June. This year we will be expanding to become the Chambers Diversity Awards: USA 2016, so watch out for new categories and submission information coming soon! If you can’t wait that long, with the Chambers Asia-Pacific and Chambers Europe awards both taking place in April, we will soon be celebrating international diversity champions.

And as if that wasn’t enough, we’ll be taking Chambers Diversity Seminars to the next level with more locations than ever before, greater breadth of topics and the most cutting-edge advice for diversity best practice.

The Chambers Diversity team consists of Editor, Dee Sekar and Writer/Researcher, Luke Vincett.

If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to contact us at chamdiversity@gmail.com

 

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