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  • 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 | Anonymous


    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!

  • Fri, December 18, 2020 10:38 AM | Sarah Hayden (Administrator)

    Written by: Katelyn Vue

    Several law students are advocating for greater measures to ensure their mental health and well-being during the pandemic, including changing grading curves in recognition of the challenges of online learning.

    The University announced in early December it would only allow undergraduate students on the Twin Cities campus to switch to or from the pass/fail grading system.

    On the same day of the pass/fail announcement, Garry W. Jenkins, dean of the Law School, sent an email to reaffirm that the Law School would not make any changes to its grading policy.

    According to Jenkins’ email, an abrupt change to grading might disadvantage students who worked hard to improve their grades and could create barriers to employment, as many law schools across the country have not implemented pass/fail options for the fall.

    Full Article

  • Mon, November 23, 2020 11:49 AM | Anonymous


    Talent Acquisition &  Development Administrator
    Paul Hastings

    This month WALRAA is proud to feature Ashley-Marie Julian. Ashley serves on WALRAA's Board of Directors and is next year's At-Large member. She started her legal career as an Associate in New York and quickly realized she had a passion for recruiting. She's been a member of WALRAA since 2016. Read about her experience with in recruitingher best advice for getting through OCI, and more in her own words below. 

    1.      How long have you been a member of WALRAA? What has been your favorite experience so far?
    I have been a member of WALRAA since 2016. I’ve really enjoyed serving on the Board of Directors and look forward to another year of creating fun and informative content for our members.

    2.      How has WALRAA helped you in your field?
    WALRAA is an excellent community of professionals who have a wealth of knowledge.  Often times, if I’ve been stumped, I’ll reach out to my mentoring circle for advice. The WALRAA network has been invaluable to my career and development over these past 4 years.

    3.      How did you first learn about and get started in Attorney Recruiting/Career Services?
    I actually started my legal career as an Associate at a firm in New York. I was very close with our recruiting team and loved the energy and excitement every summer and with every new incoming class. As time went on, I found myself looking for more ways to get involved in legal recruiting and decided to make the leap to the administrative side when our family was transferred down to Virginia (I’m a proud Navy wife).

    4.      What is your favorite moment of your career so far?
    I don’t have just one! It’s always rewarding to connect with students at OCI and see them thriving as successful associates a couple years later after having spent the summer with us. I’m looking forward to the day when one of my summers is elected to partnership, I imagine that’s the ultimate full circle moment.

    5.      What is it that challenges you most in your job?
    If this year has taught me anything,  it’s to remain flexible and nimble and that a little creativity goes a long way. One of the things I love most about this job is that no two days are ever the same and this year has definitely kept me on my toes!

    6.      How do you balance your career and personal life?
    The two have definitely blended during these times. I have a toddler and it’s important to me that I’m there for bath-time and bedtime. While we’re currently in a WFH environment, I appreciate that I have the flexibility to spend time with my daughter and then log back in later if I need to.

    7.      What professional goals have you set for yourself this year?
    As a new mom, I hoped to keep all of the balls in the air without dropping them! COVID has brought forth a number of challenges within our industry. I’ve been amazed at how we’ve all been able to quickly pivot to virtual programming and recruiting events and beyond proud of how we’ve kept things moving without missing a beat!

    8.      What is the best professional advice you have received?
     It’s a marathon not a sprint – I can’t think of a better way to describe OCI!

    9.      What do you like to do for fun?
    I love spending time with my one year old daughter and our two dogs and cats. It’s been great getting extra time with her and being home to catch all of her milestones.

    10.  Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know?
    Before buying our first home in 2018,  I moved a total of 15 times across 6 states in a 10 year span.  

  • Wed, October 28, 2020 4:09 PM | Anonymous


    Partner Recruiting & Integration Senior Coordinator
    Latham & Watkins

    This month WALRAA is proud to feature Caroline Waters. Caroline is originally from New Orleans and moved to Washington, D.C. in 2012. She has been a member of WALRAA for 8 years and believes the association and it's wonderful members have been instrumental in fast tracking her career growth here in D.C. Read about her experience with Hurricane Katrinaher favorite foods, and more in her own words below. 

    1.      How long have you been a member of WALRAA? What has been your favorite experience so far?
    I have been a member of WALRAA for 8 years---it's hard to believe how fast time flies when you're having fun! My favorite experience has been my time spent on the board. It's given me the opportunity to work with so many amazing people from other law firms and schools that I otherwise wouldn't have had the chance to meet and get to know. So many wonderful friendships have been formed through WALRAA that I cherish dearly.

    2.      How has WALRAA helped you in your field?
    WALRAA has played a crucial role throughout the path of my recruiting career. Not only has it amplified my professional development through the many programming opportunities, mentorships, and relationships I have formed, but it has provided me with opportunities to learn so much from my peers and engage in leadership roles outside of my employer that have been instrumental in my career growth.

    3.      How did you first learn about and get started in Attorney Recruiting/Career Services?
    When I moved to DC from Birmingham, AL in 2012, I was in need of a job and a good friend of mine, who is a member of RADS (Recruiting Association of Dallas), introduced me to a colleague of hers who was in WALRAA. She quickly put me in touch with other WALRAA members, including the wonderful recruiting team at Hogan (thank you Lynn & Irena), where I had my first recruiting role as an assistant, and the rest is history...!

    4.      What is your favorite moment of your career so far?
    I don't know if I have just one favorite moment but I have always loved getting to watch the career growth of students and attorneys I've helped recruit throughout the years. In my current role of hiring lateral partners, I've enjoyed seeing the synergies of how the attorney and their practice fit into and help enhance our platform.

    5.      What is it that challenges you most in your job?
    Given that our team is relatively new to Latham, it's been a challenge paving a new way for lateral partner recruiting and integration. Luckily the firm as a whole and the many other departments that play integral roles throughout the recruiting and integration processes have been nothing but supportive to our team.

    6.      How do you balance your career and personal life?
    It's not always easy to do but I try to remind myself to take time to do things that I love to do outside of work and try to spend as much time as I can with friends and family.

    7.      What professional goals have you set for yourself this year?
    Because I'm still fairly new to my role in partner recruiting and to Latham, my goals are to continue to learn about the firm and the many practices, as well as continue to build my professional network both internally and outside of the firm.

    8.      What is the best professional advice you have received?
    As we all know, our industry can sometimes feel like there's no room for error, but it's important to remember that it's okay to make mistakes from time to time. Learning from mistakes and how to deal with such situations can play a big role in developing judgement, decision making and professional growth.

    9.      What do you like to do for fun?
    I love to travel as much as I can. Although I love traveling to new places, you can typically find me in my hometown of New Orleans and visiting my six nieces and nephews in Chicago and Houston. I also love to cook, particularly creole/cajun dishes such as gumbo, jambalaya and red beans and rice. Lastly, I love watching football - Who Dat & Roll Tide!

    10.  Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know?
    Hurricane Katrina hit a week after starting out my senior year of high school. I was misplaced with my family in Alpharetta, GA where I spent 4 months at a new high school before returning back to New Orleans to finish out the school year. It was definitely an interesting experience relocating with only a weekends worth of clothes, living in a hotel and starting at a new school where I knew no one, but everyone was so nice and welcoming and I ended up making some really great friends who I still keep in touch with today!

  • Fri, October 23, 2020 11:21 AM | Sarah Hayden (Administrator)

    Written by: Justin Wise

    Law360 (October 21, 2020, 4:37 PM EDT) -- The employment rate reached near-historic highs for the 2019 law school graduation class, but a stark disparity in outcomes between white and racial minority graduates persists, according to a set of findings released Wednesday by the National Association for Law Placement.

    In a year when the employment rate for recent grads climbed to levels not seen in over a decade, Black and Native American individuals still had significantly lower levels of success in the job market than their peers, an NALP survey of more than 33,000 graduates found. Figures also showed a wide gap between white graduates and Black individuals when it comes to jobs requiring passage of the bar exam.

    Full Article

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