Headquarters: New York, NY
Business: Legal Services
CEO: Henry N. Nassau
CHAIR, BLACK AFFINITY GROUP VINCENT COHEN Shares His D&I Views
Making an Impact
“When I took over leadership of Dechert’s Black Affinity Group, on my arrival at the firm in January 2016, I was impressed with the advances the Group had already made. Since taking the helm, I have implemented a three-pronged strategy aligned with Dechert’s wider approach to diversity and inclusion:
- Business development–Clients increasingly demand that outside counsel reflect their own approach to diversity. As litigators know, being able to field a diverse legal team in court—particularly in front of juries—gives law firms an edge.
- Recruitment–Ensuring that minority lawyers and senior managers are actively involved in recruiting efforts can pay dividends. It sends an important message: At this firm, minorities can and do succeed.
- Retention–Dechert’s Black Affinity Group pairs diverse junior lawyers with senior mentors. Monthly ‘call-in’ lunch meetings encourage candor. The Group also organizes events that bring members together with diversity-conscious clients and potential clients.”
“It was a guest list studded with high-profile clients that made the Black Affinity Group’s private screening of Theodore Melfi’s film Hidden Figures a high point of the year. It was incredible to receive such strong third-party validation and support. The film, which recounts the stories of African-American women who were vital to NASA’s early space program, was discussed by guests and senior Dechert lawyers.
“The year also saw two affinity group members attend “Charting your Own Course,” a four-day conference, focusing on how to cultivate a professional support network and develop strategies for success in the corporate environment.
“At the Black Affinity Group’s request, Dechert once again sponsored the D.C. Road Show, an annual reception aimed at encouraging African-American law students to practice law in large D.C. firms.”
What’s Coming in 2018?
“Building visibility for the Black Affinity Group is one of my chief aims. Over the past year, I have been a keynote speaker and panelist on diversity-related issues. I addressed a reunion for Black alumni at Syracuse University, my alma mater, dissected the state of policing in Black America at the Washington Bar Association, and traveled to London, Hong Kong, and Toronto to address audiences of heavyweight clients.
“A second major objective is finding ways to foster greater collaboration between Dechert’s various affinity groups. Inspired by the LGBT Affinity Group’s Allies Program, … I am developing strategies to broaden the support and interconnectivity of all the firm’s affinity groups.”