Alexis Robertson Discusses the Importance of a Systematic Approach to Improve DEI Outcomes

08 March 2023 The American Lawyer News

Foley & Lardner LLP Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Alexis Robertson is featured in The American Lawyer article, “A National Conversation on Racism: the Legal Profession's Role in Driving Equality,” discussing the importance of taking a more systematic approach of integrating functions like work allocation, performance reviews, and client pitches into their DEI goals.

“We can’t just be focused on events and activities, and we can’t just be focused on changing hearts and minds,” Robertson said. “It has to be more of a systems-focused approach and complementing and integrating that with broader talent management systems.”

Robertson described how at Foley, DEI initiatives have been tied to efforts to improve the firm’s performance review and feedback system, as it is often women and racial minorities who are more likely to be impacted by a lack of substantive feedback.

Similar barriers influence another key area not typically considered in a DEI context, Robertson said: work allocation.

“Work allocation is a really big area that firms have been loath to address,” she said. “In a lot of these large systems, there have been free market systems. Who is more likely to miss out on that? Likely underrepresented folks.”

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Alexis P. Robertson

Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion