Tuesday, January 06, 2009

 

PAR Announces the Diversity and Flexibility Connection

We've launched a new initiative here at PAR: the Diversity and Flexibility Connection. The Connection will bring together the best research of the diversity and flexibility fields, with the aim of creating real progress on both fronts.

One of the most significant aspects of the Connection is that it will also bring together prominent general counsels and managing partners for frank and in depth face-to-face discussions about how law firms and law departments can work together to support each other to make the legal profession more inclusive for women and minority lawyers.

Here's our press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

General Counsels and Managing Partners to Meet
for Diversity and Flexibility Initiative

SAN FRANCISCO, January 6, 2009: Today, the Project for Attorney Retention (PAR) launched the Diversity and Flexibility Connection with key general counsels and law firm managing partners. "There is a fundamental connection that has not been made at our nation's law firms that PAR is now in a strategic position to explore, and that is the connection between work/life strategies and diversity objectives," said Joan Williams, co-director of PAR. "We are very excited and greatly appreciative to have twelve distinguished general counsels participating in the Connection. Their involvement is a testament to the benefits both law firms and clients can gain from this broadened approach."

Although research shows that diversity programs need to include a work/life component in order to be successful, until now, diversity and work/life programs have largely been treated separately. "PAR is connecting carefully selected law firm managing partners and general counsels who are in positions to create real change," noted Williams. "This high level group will have frank, moderated discussions about how in-house and outside counsel can work together in an approach that incorporates the most effective tactics from both diversity and flexibility efforts."

PAR has selected, based on their leadership and commitment to diversity, the following general counsels to participate in the Connection:

Dennis J. Broderick, Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, Macy's Inc.

Catherine A. Lamboley, Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary (retired), Shell Oil Company

Thomas A. Mars, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Michele Coleman Mayes, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, Allstate Insurance Company

Teri Plummer McClure, Senior Vice President of Legal Compliance and Public Affairs, General Counsel & Secretary, United Parcel Service

Roderick A. Palmore, Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, General Mills Inc.

James Potter, Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, Del Monte Foods Company

Thomas L. Sager, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, DuPont Company

Douglas G. Scrivner, General Counsel, Secretary & Compliance Officer, Accenture

Laura Stein, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, The Clorox Company

Leslie M. Turner, General Counsel CCNA, The Coca-Cola Company

Danette Wineberg, Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, The Timberland Company

The general counsels will invite twelve managing partners from firms that have a demonstrated commitment to diversity and work/life issues to participate in meetings. Topics to be discussed at the meetings include shared objectives for diversity, the role work/life issues play in diversity, major issues that affect women's advancement, and how corporate counsel and law firms can best work together to achieve inclusion through flexible scheduling. After initial discussions, the Connection will produce best practices and action steps for law departments and law firms. PAR will also assist with the establishment of metrics to measure the progress that results from the initiative.

PAR's Connection will complement the work of other influential groups and initiatives that are working to increase diversity and flexibility in law firms and to strengthen law firm/client relationships, such as A Call to Action, the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, the Association of Corporate Counsel's Value Challenge, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, and the National Association of Women Lawyers. In consultation with these groups and building on their work, the Connection will bring together diversity and flexibility research and best practices that until now have been viewed as distinct. In keeping with PAR's hallmark, the Connection also will develop practical action steps and solutions for law firms and their clients that will achieve inclusion for all lawyers. PAR will release a report of the Connection's work and recommendations in the fall of 2009.

PAR, a nonprofit organization that studies the advancement of women lawyers and work/life issues for all lawyers, is headquartered at UC Hastings College of the Law. Its co-directors are Joan C. Williams, distinguished professor of law at Hastings, and Cynthia Thomas Calvert, a former law firm litigation partner. PAR is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and other grantors, and by its law department and law firm members. For more information, visit PAR's website at www.pardc.org.

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Watch PAR's website for updates.

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