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  • Fri, January 14, 2022 10:44 AM | Sarah Hayden (Administrator)

    Written by: Karen Sloan

    Law firms brought on a historically diverse cohort of summer associates in 2021, according to new data from the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), outpacing diversity gains among more senior lawyers.

    The proportion of summer associates of color climbed to 41% in 2021, up from 36% in 2020. That represents the largest year-over-year increase since NALP began tracking this data in 1993, it said.

    Summer associates work at law firms after their first or second year of law school and are typically offered permanent associate jobs afterward.

    Much of 2021's summer associate diversity gains were among women. The proportion who were women of color increased 3% to a quarter of all summer law students hired to work in the more than 500 law firm offices that reported figures to NALP.

    Full Article

  • Fri, December 10, 2021 9:45 AM | Sarah Hayden (Administrator)

    Written By: Andrew Maloney

    Amid a “Great Resignation” and lingering uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, law firms had “one of the strongest years on record” in 2021, according to a new report.

    The Citi Hildebrandt 2022 Client Advisory, published Thursday, found an average revenue increase of 14.7% and demand increase of 6.6% across all segments of the Am Law 200 and beyond, and with relatively tame expenses concluded net income and profits per equity partner could also reach heights not seen since before the global financial crisis in the late 2000s.

    While the industry has sometimes focused on rates driving revenue, Gretta Rusanow, managing director and head of advisory services for the Citi Private Bank Law Firm Group, said the growth this year was more about demand.

    Full Article

  • Fri, October 15, 2021 10:23 AM | Sarah Hayden (Administrator)

    Written by: Dan Packel

    Hunton Andrews Kurth managing partner Wally Martinez wasn’t the only leader of an Am Law 100 firm of Hispanic origin when he took the reins at predecessor firm Hunton & Williams in 2006. At that point in time, Cesar Alvarez was serving as CEO at Greenberg Traurig.

    But after Alvarez stepped down in 2010, Martinez’s personal success stood out among a broader failing in the legal industry. Hispanics comprised 16% of the U.S. population in that year’s census, but only 1% of the top roles in the Am Law 100. The ranks of Latinx law firm leaders have ticked upward over the past two years. In 2020, Hogan Lovells installed Miguel Zaldivar as its CEO, and earlier this year Sidley Austin announced that partner Yvette Ostolaza will step in as the chair of the firm’s nine-person management committee in 2022.

    The three leaders, who all share roots in Cuba, took the time to share their stories with The American Lawyer for Hispanic Heritage Month, which comes to an end Friday. They also addressed how Big Law can better provide leadership opportunities for diverse individuals.

    Full Article


  • Fri, October 08, 2021 12:13 PM | Sarah Hayden (Administrator)

    Written by: David E. Schwartz and Kimberly Franko Lower

    On June 15, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidance explaining its views on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton Cnty., 140 S. Ct. 1731 (2020), and clarifying employers’ legal obligations with respect to LGBTQ+ workers. In the landmark Bostock decision, the Supreme Court held that the prohibition against sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) includes employment discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status. Specifically, the new guidance from the EEOC (EEOC Guidance) explains that an employer may not discriminate against an employee on the basis of gender identity by prohibiting an employee from dressing consistent with the employee’s gender identity; by denying an employee equal access to a bathroom consistent with that employee’s gender identity; or by refusing to use pronouns or names consistent with the employee’s gender identity. With many employers returning to the office over the next several weeks, New York employers should consider how to implement the EEOC Guidance, as well as similar state and city laws.

    Full Article

  • Fri, September 17, 2021 11:26 AM | Sarah Hayden (Administrator)


    Written by: Dylan Jackson

    All 118 law firms in the latest round of Diversity Lab’s Mansfield program have achieved certification—a first for the four-year-old program.

    The full certification comes in a year where the organization was worried that the pandemic would discourage law firms from committing the resources required to participate.

    “Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, the Mansfield Rule certified firms have not deviated from their goal of ensuring that law firm leadership reflects the rich diversity of the profession. We are enormously proud to work with such a committed group of firms,” said Natalia Marulanda, Mansfield Rule director at Diversity Lab.

    Law firms that participated in the program needed to show that they had affirmatively considered at least 30% women, underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, LGBTQ+ lawyers and lawyers with disabilities for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitch opportunities and senior lateral positions.

    In each annual iteration, Diversity Lab adds another requirement to its certification process. For this round, Mansfield 4.0, firms that wanted to achieve “Mansfield Plus” certification had to ensure that 30% of the lawyers staffed on matters resulting from formal pitch meetings be from historically underrepresented groups, in addition to the requirement these lawyers make up 30% of notable leadership roles.

    Of the 118 firms, 92 achieved Mansfield Plus certification.

    Full Article

  • Fri, April 09, 2021 10:49 AM | Sarah Hayden (Administrator)

    Written by: Daphne Higgs and Laura Zagar

    It’s no secret that women, particularly women of color, have for decades faced tremendous hurdles when it comes to achieving equal opportunities and compensation in the legal industry.

    Despite nearly two decades of parity in the enrollment of women and men in law schools, women lawyers represent a minority of equity partners across the Am Law 200. The statistics are even more disheartening when focused solely on women of color.

    While progress has been made, the legal industry’s work toward equality has a long way to go. This was true before the pandemic, but COVID-19 is setting gender equality back even further.

    Full Article

  • Fri, March 05, 2021 11:59 AM | Sarah Hayden (Administrator)


    Written By: Paulina Firozi and Allyson Chiu

    Jeremy Bailenson was exhausted. It was a Friday in late March and he had just finished his first full week working from home during the coronavirus pandemic — nine-hour days spent glued to a laptop in a spare bedroom of his house.

    Then a reporter asked him to jump on another video call for an interview. He thought to himself: Why does this need to happen on video?

    It’s been nearly a year since he first experienced that video-call-induced exhaustion — an early glimpse of what millions of others may have faced since beginning to work remotely. Now he’s published a paper outlining why video chats may exact such a mental toll, and suggesting how you can reduce fatigue.

    “There was a transformation in that we went from rarely videoconferencing to videoconferencing very frequently and without really knowing the parameters of what the costs and the benefits are and how to really think about that,” said Bailenson in an interview. He is a professor and the founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab.

    The peer-reviewed article was published last month in the American Psychological Association’s Technology Mind and Behavior journal. It draws on existing academic theory and research and says there are four possible reasons for “Zoom fatigue.” The paper, Bailenson writes, should not be perceived as “indicting” Zoom or other videoconferencing platforms.

    “I am a huge fan of what Zoom has done,” he said. “I just think asking yourself, ‘Do I really need to be on video for this?’ is a nice way to approach a moderation strategy toward your media day.”

    The paper was widely shared on social media, and reactions poured in responding to Bailenson’s analysis. Some suggested his paper essentially called for a return to phone calls.

    Full Article


  • Fri, February 19, 2021 11:56 AM | Sarah Hayden (Administrator)

    Written by: Zach Warren

    As Christine Simmons noted last week, Coca-Cola GC Bradley Gayton made waves in late January in unveiling a new set of diversity standards for outside firms working with the company. According to the new guidelines, law firms must provide Coca-Cola with self-identified diversity data for a quarterly analysis of the diversity of teams working on the company’s matters. At least 30% of the lawyers on Coca-Cola’s new cases have to be diverse, half must be Black. Firms that fall short multiple times will see a reduction in fees or possibly lose Coca-Cola’s business entirely.

    Gayton’s efforts advance the ball further in what has been an increasing realization among corporate legal departments and law firms alike: diversity metrics have real power. A record 117 firms sought certification for the industry’s “Mansfield Rule” last year, after all, in which firms agree to consider at least 30% women, lawyers of color, LGBTQ+ lawyers, and lawyers with disabilities for leadership and senior positions. “You can’t get what you don’t measure,” Diversity Lab CEO Caren Ulrich Stacy said last summer. “One thing the Mansfield Rule does that no one really talked about is, as a foundational premise, it requires that firms track their candidate pools.”

    But amidst this new rush to measure, it’s also worth asking the question: What data should the legal industry actually be measuring? Some legal initiatives have focused on strictly quantitative data—number of diverse attorneys, percentage of partners, etc.—in large part because it’s easy to track. But there’s also qualitative data to consider—the quality of work diverse lawyers are getting, advancement opportunities, inclusion in practice culture, and more. In Coca-Cola’s new guidelines, for instance, there are the quantitative metrics, but also qualitative: Outside firms need to be transparent about how origination credit is awarded and identify at least two diverse attorneys as a potential successor to a partner on Coca-Cola’s book of business. But that’s the sort of data the legal industry may not be ready for.

    Full Article

  • Fri, February 12, 2021 12:15 PM | Sarah Hayden (Administrator)

    Written by: Nathan Cemenska, Wolters Kluwer ELM Solutions

    While increasing diversity can seem like a daunting task, having quantifiable goals is a key and helpful step for kickstarting progress. Here are three steps for ensuring your organization can quantify its pathway to diversity.

    The legal industry, like many others, has been working to improve its efforts toward diversity and inclusion. According to the American Bar Association (ABA), 85% of lawyers in the United States were white and 64% were men as recently as 2018. A myriad of initiatives aimed at remedying the lack of diversity exist, but one place corporate legal departments (CLDs) can start is by requiring an improvement in the diversity of their outside counsel.

    Full Article

  • Tue, December 29, 2020 1:36 PM | Brittney Rokicki


    ED LAFAYETTE

    Manager of Legal Recruiting
    Ropes & Gray LLP

    This month WALRAA is proud to feature Ed Lafayette. Ed is a proud Vermonter and got started in the legal field as a paralegal. He has been a member of WALRAA since 2014 and enjoys the quality interactions he's experienced there with other members. Read about his experience in recruitinghis favorite moments, and more in the questions below. 

    1.      How long have you been a member of WALRAA? What has been your favorite experience so far?
    I became a member of WALRAA in early 2014 when I joined Ropes & Gray. I have enjoyed so many parts of my WALRAA experience so far. The most impactful has been the amazing colleagues I have met and the many opportunities the organization provides for quality interaction between its members.

    2.      How has WALRAA helped you in your field?
    WALRAA has introduced me to a tremendous community of peers who have always been happy to share their knowledge, insight, and support throughout every level of my recruiting career. WALRAA programming has helped me develop professionally while making meaningful personal connections at the same time. It is truly a bright spot in our profession that helps me enjoy what I do.

    3.      How did you first learn about and get started in Attorney Recruiting/Career Services?
    I previously worked at another DC firm as a paralegal, and had enjoyed my interaction with the recruiting team there. After a few enjoyable years helping run a DC area law school admissions office, I decided to return to a firm. I found a posting for a coordinator position with a strong amount of overlap in the recruitment aspects of the admissions role, and thought it would be something I would really enjoy doing. I was lucky to end up here.

    4.      What is your favorite moment of your career so far?
    I feel like there are so many great moments that really help me appreciate what we do. I still get excited every time a candidate calls or emails to accept an offer. I love orientation, when those students you spent the previous summer with return to the firm with a ton of opportunity in front of them. It's a great feeling when you see a student you first met in a hospitality suite getting recognized for their outstanding work at the firm.

    5.      What is it that challenges you most in your job?
    It might be too specific of an answer, but navigating a fully-virtual recruitment cycle has certainly made things challenging. While this has limited the in-person interaction that I find truly enjoyable, it has forced us to expand our interviewing capabilities and develop new methods of connecting with candidates and colleagues who are in various locations, which should provide value well past 2020.

    6.      How do you balance your career and personal life?
    It helps that I have a very supportive partner and it doesn't hurt that she is a teacher who has more free time than I do in the summer, when extra hours are needed. I do my best to dedicate as much time as I can for family, friends, and some fun travel.

    7.      What is the best professional advice you have received?
     Not to fear change or a challenge.

    8.      What do you like to do for fun?
    I love to play adult softball, go to Nats games, and coach or attend whatever sport my ten year old daughter is playing in any given season. This year there has been a lot more time spent walking, hiking, and doing puzzles.

    9.  Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know?
    I am proud to be a Vermonter and I grew up across the street form Bernie Sanders!


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