B&D Featured in Diversity and the Bar for Diversity & Inclusion Award
The Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) highlighted Beveridge & Diamond in their Winter 2018 edition of Diversity & the Bar Magazine. MCCA recently recognized B&D's diversity & inclusion (D&I) efforts with their 2018 George B. Vashon Innovator Award and recently recognized B&D's efforts in the recruitment, retention, and promotion of diverse lawyers as well as in the implementation of practices which impact and break barriers to entry for diverse lawyers. Chairman Ben Wilson is also a leading advocate for diversity in the legal profession.
Principal Nessa Coppinger (Washington, DC), the firm's Diversity & Inclusion Committee Chair, noted that B&D has made D&I a core value for more than a decade and has always been willing to get out in front on the issues. The firm fosters strong partnerships with diversity-related organizations including MCCA, the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, the National Association of Women Lawyers, and the National Bar Association, to "advance together" in supporting diverse attorneys.
Nessa also highlighted the firm-wide survey that the firm conducts every two years the firm on a host of D&I-related issues. The firm uses the results of that survey to set priorities for the next two years and to see whether our focus on certain issues has resulted in improvement as reflected in the survey. This helps us "measure whether what we do is working so we can see where our resources are best spent," Nessa said.
Practically, Nessa says that firms need to focus on building the pipeline of diverse attorneys. Clients need to demand that firms have both diverse teams and diverse lead or relationship partners, and firms need to be both willing to share origination credit and willing to challenge implicit bias as it plays out in the workplace.
On the connection between diversity and innovation, Nessa pointed out that "when you have ideas coming from a group of people who have different life experiences, different perspectives, and different priorities, you are more likely to come up with truly innovative ideas, but everyone has to be open to listening and to doing things differently."
"D&I remains an important issue for corporate America because our society is diverse. Corporate leadership should reflect our diverse society, and diverse teams lead to better outcomes," Nessa said. "Diversity is critical to corporate success."
The George B. Vashon Innovator Award honors companies not in the Fortune 1000 and law firms with less than 500 attorneys that lead the way with innovative best practices to assist diverse attorneys. The award is named for George B. Vashon, a scholar, abolitionist, and lawyer who was the first licensed African American lawyer in New York state (1848) and was one of the first attorneys admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.
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