Friday, January 05, 2007


Fenwick & West Implements Innovative Diversity Program

Jesse Seyfer of The Recorder reports on a laudable new program at Fenwick & West that ties partner compensation to how well the partners support the firm's diversity goals ("Fenwick Redefines Color of Money with Diversity Goals"). Partners are given a list of suggested activities to improve minority recruiting and retention, among other things, and then associates are allowed to evaluate the partners on how well they performed. In the article, one partner reports that he received a "not insignificant" bonus for his work on a pro bono gay-rights matter and for visiting minority organizations at law schools.

The article notes that another aspect of the program includes partners being asked to ensure that attorneys of both genders and all races and sexual orientations have significant client contact.

PAR has previously discussed two best practices that are similar to Fenwick & West's practices. The first is tying compensation to how well partners support a firm's part-time program and advancement of women, and the second is looking at teams that service the firm's clients to make sure that they include attorneys on alternative schedules and women.

Based on comments made by Fenwick & West partner Ralph Pais at a conference last March sponsored by PAR and the Center for WorkLife Law, it appears that the firm is also exploring innovative programs in the work/life balance arena. The firm's website says that the firm offers "flexible work schedules, reduced billable hour requirements, backup childcare, and an on-site lactation room, and it notes that 30% of the firm's executive management committees are female. Several firms have already instituted programs of tying partner compensation to how well they retain women and support work/life programs. Would anyone from Fenwick & West like to tell us if it includes advancement of women and/or support of work/life programs in its partner compensation program?

Hats off to Fenwick & West!


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