FordHarrison is a labor and employment law firm with 27 offices across the U.S. A member of the global employment practice alliance Ius Laboris, our resources allow us to provide clients with sound legal advice, practical counseling, and excellent client service—no matter where in the world they operate.
The firm believes a diverse and inclusive environment creates a pathway to success and employee fulfillment. Our efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce are focused on three objectives—to recruit, retain, and advance; to create a better workplace; and to create an engaged and active workforce.
Some examples of our most successful efforts include:
- Implementing a pipeline initiative for diverse attorneys. One significant reason that associates leave firms is lack of mentoring. We provide all diverse associates a 4-member mentoring network for their first three years of employment. This network helps new associates foster multiple relationships across the firm, ensures meaningful work assignments and accelerates the diverse associate’s overall professional development. Currently, 5 of the firm’s 34 diverse associates are being mentored through the pipeline initiative—11 of the firm’s 81 partners serve as mentors.
- Supporting our diverse attorneys’ growth and learning. Providing internal and external learning opportunities helps us to attract and keep our diverse talent. We’ve sponsored the Corporate Counsel Women of Color’s National Conference, as well as the Florida Diversity Council’s LGBT-Allies Diversity Summit, which was co-chaired by one of our associates. An associate in our Chicago office served on the National Summit of Black Women Lawyers Steering Committee. Our attorneys have attended and spoken at conferences hosted by the National Employment Law Council, the National Asian Pacific Bar Association, and the Leadership Institute for Women of Color Attorneys.
- Embarking on a campaign to increase cultural competence within the firm. Cultural competence is critical to recruiting and retaining diverse attorneys. Spearheaded by the firm’s diversity partner, Dawn Siler-Nixon, and the firm’s Executive Diversity Committee, the campaign includes a cultural competence panel, featuring diverse in-house counsel and law firm attorneys, as well as an email series about cultural norms and blunders. Our attorneys will also take a cultural competency assessment and participate in cultural competence and unconscious bias workshops led by renowned diversity consultant Verna Myers.
- Championing our diverse attorneys by honoring their achievements. Recognizing our attorneys’ accomplishments helps to attract and retain diverse attorneys. For example, we recently successfully nominated an associate for the Lawyers of Color’s Inaugural Hot List.
- Providing resources and networking opportunities for our women attorneys. Empowering our women attorneys is a key part of our retention plan. We are one of only six firms granted gold standard certification by the Women in Law Empowerment Forum. We recently hosted our first Women Leaders Forum for our women partners and general counsel clients led by well-known diversity consultant Angela Vallot.