Our core values define the culture of Foley & Lardner. At the heart of those values lies our commitment to our people and to diversity and inclusion. We are living in times of extraordinary challenge, and we cannot ignore the very real grief, frustration and anger that many Black Americans and allies across this nation are feeling. We certainly do not profess to have all the answers, but there are some things that are very clear to us. If we are to live our core values as a firm, we must be unwavering in our stand against racism in whatever form-whether overt, systemic or otherwise. While our commitment to diversity and inclusion extends, as it should, far beyond issues of race, we cannot and should not lose sight of issues of racial inequality.
To be true to our core values, we must commit to doing the difficult work necessary to combat prejudice and effect the change that is so desperately needed. This includes recognizing injustice, speaking out against it, supporting those impacted and finding meaningful ways to address it peacefully both in our firm and in the communities in which we are privileged to serve. We likewise are committed to listening to the experiences of our Black colleagues. While we cannot walk in their shoes, we can and must listen to their experiences as we work together to better ourselves, our firm and our country.
Words, of course, regardless of how powerful, are not enough; we must take tangible action to address injustices. While we believe we have made strides in our diversity and inclusion journey, there is much yet to be done. As it relates to racial injustice, our firm’s Management Committee, upon the recommendation of our Black Attorneys Affinity Group, in coordination with our Diversity & Inclusion team and in furtherance of our D&I strategic plan, recently approved the following action steps:
- Enhance our recruiting efforts of Black law students, experienced attorneys and professional staff. This includes recruiting at additional law schools and diversity-focused job fairs; building relationships with diverse student organizations, bar associations and external recruiters; expanding our Diversity Fellowship Program; exploring additional diversity-focused client fellowships and pipeline programs; ensuring our Recruiting Committee includes a broad representation of diverse attorneys; and engaging our affinity groups in the firm’s recruiting efforts.
- Implement work allocation mechanisms that ensure equal work opportunities and experiences for all of our associates.
- Analyze compensation and promotion decisions to ensure equitable treatment of our diverse lawyers and professional staff.
- Review selection criteria for leadership and committee positions and implement 360 feedback for firm leaders with the goal of ensuring equal opportunity for firm leadership roles and to provide feedback to and the opportunity for introspection by our leaders.
- Continue to educate our lawyers and professional staff about bias and the steps we can take to build a racially just workplace.
- Cultivate a culture of civic engagement by supporting (with our own time as well as with financial resources) organizations that serve disadvantaged and marginalized communities; expanding the firm’s MLK Oratory Competition to additional cities; sharing anti-racism resources with our attorneys and professional staff; creating a Racial Justice and Equity practice group to address, on a pro bono basis, issues of racial inequality; and participating in the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance.
- Strengthen our culture of inclusion and understanding by sharing personal stories of our Black attorneys and launching a new podcast, The Path & The Podcast, to showcase the diverse background, experiences and perspectives of Foley attorneys.
The actions listed above are a starting point. We know there are many other day-to-day actions that are essential to effectuating real and sustained change. As a firm, we are committed to putting in the work to achieve that change.