At Finnegan, we believe that a successful Diversity, Equity & Inclusion program must encompass recruitment, training, and mentoring/sponsorship programs. One of the ways we are measuring success across these efforts includes hands-on opportunities to interact directly with clients and opportunities to influence decision-making within the firm.
Approximately 40% of our associate pipeline is Diverse (including: women, LGBTQ+, and attorneys of color), and we continue working diligently to enhance the diversity of our future associate classes. For instance, in summer 2020 approximately 70% of our summer class was Diverse.
We are committed to hiring a Diverse pipeline of associates with partnerships at historically Diverse engineering and science undergraduate and graduate programs educating Diverse students on careers in intellectual property law. We also cast a wide net in our search for identifying and hiring qualified Diverse law students.
While we are pleased with our hiring successes, we understand that the “proof is in the pudding” when it comes to retaining and promoting Diverse talent. Finnegan has a number of initiatives designed to effectuate these goals.
Training to Foster an Inclusive Environment
The tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor coupled with the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color ignited an outcry for change. Finnegan launched a series of “Employee Voice Sessions” where subject-matter experts facilitated employee focus groups discussing racial injustice. These sessions were supplemented by an interactive training on “How to be an Upstander,” which provided participants with a better understanding of the impact of racism, bias, and injustices, and techniques for how to address racism actively in the moment.
Sponsorship for Associates
In 2019, we launched a sponsorship program where high-performing Diverse associates are paired with members of our Management, Compensation, and Coordinating Committees to further support their development, retention, and advancement.
Opportunities for Diverse Associates to Succeed
We closely monitor the firm's client pitches to ensure that women and other Diverse attorneys have the opportunity to interact directly with clients, resulting in access to the best billable and nonbillable opportunities key to an attorney's development and promotion. From July 2019-July 2020, 92% of the client pitch teams included at least one Diverse attorney.
Leadership Reflecting Our Commitment to Diversity
In 2020 and 2019, Finnegan was honored to receive Mansfield “Certification Plus” from the Diversity Lab. This status indicates that the firm will consider and appoint a diverse group of candidates for leadership and governance roles, promote to equity positions, and/or hire at least 30% Diverse attorneys. Eighty percent of Finnegan's Management & Compensation Committees are Diverse attorneys, 40% of our practice groups are led by Diverse Partners, 50% of our practice sections are led by Diverse attorneys, and 60% of our Partnership Admission/Elevation Review Committee includes women. Finnegan believes key decisions regarding performance management, compensation, and promotion are influenced by groups that reflect the overall diversity of the firm and its clientele.
Finnegan's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives are indicative of the firm's continuous quest for improvement in recruiting, retaining, and promoting the best and brightest diverse talent.
Originally Published by Finnegan, December 2020
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