The Diversity Ops Center: Opinions, Operations, and Opposition

  • 17 Mar 2015
  • 10:30 AM - 5:00 PM (UTC-00:00)
  • CMS Cameron McKenna 160 Aldersgate Street, London EC1A 4DD

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Diversity Committees are often the lynchpin to an organization’s successful (or not) diversity, equality and inclusion efforts. But within the legal profession, there are myriad forces that impact upon or influence the effectiveness and success of these committees. For Diversity Committee members, many of whom are busy practising lawyers, there may be inadequate time in their demanding schedules to devote to becoming diversity experts or to implement the strategies or organize programmes aimed at addressing diversity, equality and inclusion issues. Therefore, they rely upon the ability and expertise of their fellow committee members, and the HR or Diversity Professionals or Chambers or Legal Administrators in their firms, chambers or professional associations.

For those HR professionals, diversity professionals, chambers administrators, and legal administrators who are responsible for working with these committees, this work can be extremely satisfying yet offer challenges unique to the law, the legal profession, and lawyers. In both the UK and the US legal professions, the diversity committees and their staff in law firms, chambers and professional associations  frequently find themselves faced with tremendous responsibility, limited authority and resources, complex issues that can be compounded by biases that are both implicit and explicit, and an ever-evolving landscape within which to work. All of this contributes to very unique professional challenges, not readily or satisfactorily addressed by the diversity, equality and inclusion strategies being applied to far greater success in other professional settings.

Please join us for a series of open discussions wherein we shall explore the intricacies and challenges of diversity, equality and inclusion for those responsible for the implementation of organizational diversity efforts in the legal profession.

Co-sponsored with InterLaw Diversity Forum and Black Lawyers Directory.



Programme

10:30 AM – 10:45 AM     Welcome                              

10:45 AM – 11:15 AM    The Demographics:  What Diversity and HR Professionals in UK and US Law Firms or UK Chambers Need to Know


Whether you work in a law firm or chambers, when you are one of the staff professionals responsible for diversity, equality and inclusion matters for the lawyers who work there, it is critical to be aware of the most current data and demographics about the legal profession in both the UK and the US. This overview will provide you with an accurate understanding of the numbers as they exist today and the trends they forecast for the future.


SPECIAL FEATURE: Disability Demographics and Resultant Issues for the Bar


with Sam Mercer, Head of Policy, Equality & Diversity and CSR, The General Council of the Bar


11:15 AM – 12:15 PM    Diversity Forums, Councils, and Committees


Most law firms that have offices in both the UK and US (and perhaps a few chambers) have diversity forums, councils or committees. But why do those in
some law firms work well while others do not? What makes some productive and others moribund? Are diversity silos or inclusion clusters the best way to structure these groups? Are there things that diversity professionals can do to ensure these groups work effectively? What kinds of leadership are diversity professionals best able to provide?


12:30 PM – 2:00 PM      Lunch


                                    A Conversation for Diversity and HR Professionals:  Meeting the Responsibility for Diversity, Equality and Inclusion in Anglo-American Law Firms 


British and American law firms are continuing to expand their presence in both countries. What are the particular challenges that diversity and HR professionals in these firms encountering and what strategies are they employing to address them. How are Anglo-American law firms addressing diversity, equality and inclusion issues? What lessons are American firms learning from their British offices? What American experiences might British diversity professionals find useful?


with Sarah “Sally” Olson, Chief Diversity Officer, Sidley Austin LLP and Sharon Jones (Moderator), Jones Diversity Group

 

2:15 PM – 3:00 PM        Gender Diversity: The New Frontier for Women Lawyers and the Diversity and HR Professionals Who Work With Them


There’s more to gender diversity than simply demonstrating competence or managing work/life balance. In an increasingly global profession, issues of gender diversity have become more complex, requiring more sophisticated and nuanced strategies and implementation. What are the cutting edge gender diversity issues and how are Diversity and HR professionals addressing them?


3:00 PM – 3:45 PM       Racial/Ethnic Diversity: Recruiting, Retaining, and Promoting BME Lawyers

It isn’t always comfortable to speak openly about race or ethnicity. Yet the fact remains that despite their numbers, BMEs are significantly under-represented within the legal profession, especially in positions of power and prominence. What are diversity and HR professionals doing to support their law firms’ and chambers’ efforts to recruit, retain and promote BME lawyers within their ranks?


with Debo Nwauzu, Founder, BLD Lawyers


3:45 PM – 4:30 PM       Straight Allies for LGBT Lawyers            


The number of openly LGBT lawyers is increasing. The career success of these lawyers requires more than just numbers but stronger and more visible support by straight allies. Many would-be allies, however, are uncertain about how to be effective allies, the most meaningful ways to give support, or just what to say when confronted by those who demonstrate insensitivity to LGBT individuals or other types of diversity. What are the best ways that diversity and HR professionals can support and encourage straight allies for LGBT lawyers?  

                           

4:30 PM – 4:45 PM        Moving Forward: Ideas for Next Year

Diversity, equality and inclusion efforts are constantly evolving and improving. What do diversity and HR professionals want to have covered in future sessions? What hot topics are on the horizon?

4:45 PM – 5:00 PM        Closing Remarks

5:00 PM – 6:30 PM        Networking Reception




British and American law firms are continuing to expand their presence in both countries. What are the particular challenges that diversity and HR professionals in these firms encountering and what strategies are they employing to address them. How are Anglo-American law firms addressing diversity, equality and inclusion issues? What lessons are American firms learning from their British offices? What American experiences might British diversity professionals find useful?

  • ·         Sarah “Sally” Olson, Chief Diversity Officer, Sidley Austin LLP
  • ·         Sharon Jones (Moderator), Jones Diversity Group
   
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