Inclusiveness is a core value that shapes the way we run our firm. It’s part of our daily conversation about investing in talent, staffing our teams and measuring our success.
We’ve made some groundbreaking moves: an industry-leading parental leave policy, a professional development forum for diverse in-house counsel and the first legal career fair for military veterans. We’re also honored to partner with many of the in-house legal departments most focused on improving diversity and inclusion, including Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Gap Inc. and Bank of America, among many others.
We rank #4 for diversity by Vault – but we are not satisfied. We are taking concrete steps to make our firm and our profession more inclusive. You’ll see it in our metrics and our lawyer development and coaching programs – and you’ll feel it in our culture.
Our Diversity & Inclusion Initiative is co-led by Lorraine McGowen, who is recognized by Savoy as one of the most influential black lawyers in the United States, and Darren Teshima. The two spearhead a diversity and inclusion committee with members from offices worldwide. Our Women’s Initiative is led by Sheryl Garko. As Managing Director of Inclusion & Move The Needle, Duane Hughes works with corporate legal departments to advance inclusion.
Here are some of the distinctive ways we are driving improvement:
To create accountability, we prepare a “balanced scorecard” annually for each of our five global business units. This report analyzes performance in women, minority and LGBT lawyer recruiting, retention and promotion, as well as client team composition. Our senior management team meets regularly with business unit leaders to discuss actions for improvement. We also conduct equity analyses on our compensation proposals each year to ensure there is no adverse impact on diverse populations. In each of the past several years, a greater percentage of women than men have advanced in our partnership, and a smaller percentage of women than men have moved down. We are also Mansfield Certified “Plus” by the Diversity Lab, which reflects our commitment to diversity in hiring and advancing.
What Gets Talked About
For over a decade, we have devoted a day each year to Dive/In – a worldwide discussion of the different backgrounds and cultures in our firm and our communities.
Through this tradition, we raise awareness and make diversity and inclusion a year-round conversation. Dive/In features more than 30 events with our clients, lawyers and staff across 25 offices. Speakers have included: Abby Wambach, two-time Olympic gold medalist, advocate for pay equity and lesbian mom; The Honorable Damon J. Keith, the longest-serving African-American on the federal bench; Mary Wilson of The Supremes; David Loftis of the Innocence Project; and LGBT rights activist Chaz Bono.
Orrick offers a variety of mentoring and sponsorship opportunities for lawyers at various stages in their careers. We’re partnering with the Center for Talent Innovation to enhance sponsorship at Orrick, including working with our global leadership team to explore effective sponsorship. We’ve also formed a strategic partnership with Dr. Arin Reeves, which includes the integration of a training curriculum on sponsoring and mentoring as inclusion allies into all of our major academies and retreats. To groom diverse lawyers for leadership roles at Orrick, each year we send dozens of attorneys to leadership training programs, including the LCLD Fellows and Pathfinders programs, Charting Your Own Course Career Conference, and New York City Bar Associate Leadership Institute.
We believe real-time coaching is especially powerful for diverse lawyers to ensure that they get equal access to coaching and mentorship, and we have customized software to support this effort. We introduced a real-time coaching pilot program that allowed for quick and easy feedback delivered in a manner that resonates with today’s associates.
Engaging With Clients
Last fall, we became a founding participant in the Move The Needle Fund and set a unique and ambitious goal to grow client relationships while improving the diversity of our client teams and leadership. We also partner with our clients to promote diversity in the legal profession through career fairs, our Dive/In Day events, and our Successful Women in IP and Women in Employment Law series. Our annual In-House Counsel Forum is led by our own lawyers of color, and many of the clients who attend are from diverse backgrounds. The program features diverse talent explaining current, substantive legal and compliance issues of which in-house counsel need to be aware. As one client reported, “I came because I was intrigued by the diversity focus. I stayed for the quality of the content these lawyers shared.”
Investing in Women
“The Rule of Three” is based on recent social research demonstrating the positive impact on organizations when they have three women on their board of directors. We are fortunate to have seven women on our combined Board and Management Committee, along with a 17-member senior leadership team that is more than 60 percent women. We’re also recognized by the three leading measures of the best firms for women: Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers’ Best Law Firms for Women, Yale Law Women’s Top 10 Family Friendly Firms and Top 10 Female Friendly Firms, and the Women in Law Empowerment Forum’s Gold Standard, which recognizes firm success in advancing women to leadership roles. Please visit Women@Orrick to learn more.
A Commitment to LGBT Causes
We were one of the first global law firms to offer benefits to same-sex couples. In fact, we’ve earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s annual Corporate Equality Index, which evaluates LGBT-related policies and practices, for 14 years in a row. We lent pro bono assistance to the fight for marriage equality starting in 2004, when we represented the mayor of New Paltz, New York, who was criminally prosecuted for performing same-sex marriages without a license. We later worked with groups like Lambda Legal to fight a ballot initiative in California that sought to ban same-sex marriage. When the fight made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, we filed an amicus brief on behalf of more than 100 major companies that opposed the Defense of Marriage Act. Please visit LGBT@Orrick to learn more.
Supporting Our Veterans
Our career fair is the only legal career fair in the United States devoted exclusively to veterans, active-duty service members preparing for a transition out of the military, and military spouses. Since 2015, we have helped over 500 active service members and veterans connect with top legal employers such as Microsoft, Deloitte, Bank of America, Juniper Networks and Goldman Sachs. To further support veterans in our community, we partner with legal services organizations and bar associations to provide pro bono services to veterans in need. Finally, our Veterans’ Forum provides our veteran lawyers and staff with a place to discuss the unique challenges of transitioning from military service to the private sector. Please visit Veterans Programs to learn more.
Bay Area Diversity Career Fair
For more than a decade, we have hosted the Bay Area Diversity Career Fair, which we founded in collaboration with the Bar Association of San Francisco. In 2019, more than 75 employers conducted over 1,000 interviews at the fair and attended its networking and career planning programs. We’re proud to have dozens of career fair alumni on our team.
Compliments of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP – a member of the EACCNY.