Law Firm WilmerHale scores well for diversity again

Published by chris on May 25th, 2012 - in Diversity

For the sixth year in a row, MultiCultural Law magazine has included WilmerHale on its list of the “Top 100 Law Firms for Diversity.” Additionally, the firm ranked in the specialized areas of “Top 100 Law Firms for Women,” “Top 50 Law Firms for Partners,” “Top 50 Law Firms for Associates,” “Top 25 Law Firms for African-Americans,” and “Top 25 Law Firms for Asian-Americans.”

WilmerHale continues to be recognized for its diversity and inclusion efforts for minority and women lawyers. Most notably, the firm ranked in the top 30 of the magazine’s “Top 100 Law Firms for Diversity” listing second in its “Top 100 Law Firms for Women” listing.

MultiCultural Law magazine, a leading media advocate for law professionals, publishes these listings to acknowledge the industry’s “movers and shakers” and to celebrate the proactive achievements of law firms that continue to make a positive difference in the drive for diversity.

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KPMG Partner wins City Woman of Achievement Award

Published by chris on November 8th, 2011 - in Equality

Pamela McIntyre, a partner at KPMG, beat off the competition to win the Accountancy category for the 2011 Women in the City Woman of Achievement Award at the Celebration evening sponsored by Lusso in the Museum of London, Docklands.

Pamela was one of just seven eminent women who secured success and won their category. The highly competitive award scheme saw a wide variety of talented female executives from across London go head-to-head to compete for the Women in the City Award.

Pamela McIntyre said: “I am thrilled to win this award. At KPMG we have fabulous women’s networks aimed at retaining our women and creating an environment for them to really fulfil their potential. We have achieved a lot but there is still much to do – awards such as these are a great platform to further enhance profile around this critical business issue. KPMG has given me the opportunity to develop personally and to mentor many women over the last few years – I am passionate about being a good role model. Winning this award provides me with renewed inspiration to drive forward the women’s agenda.”

The Accountancy category is endorsed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). As a category endorser the ICAEW helps to; promote the award, provide a Judging Panel, select the Category Winner, and presents the Award Certificates.
On presenting the award last night, Sharron Gunn, Director, Member Services at the ICAEW, commented; “It gives us great pleasure to award this prize to Pamela. Pamela demonstrated to us that not only is she a female partner within a Big Four firm, leading audits on some of the world’s largest banking institutions, but that she also invests time and energy, with success, in actively supporting and championing the advancement of women within her organisation, in addition to her role in technical delivery. Pamela is an excellent role model for many within the accountancy world – and with this award we are sure she can keep building on her great work in this area.”

The overarching aim of the Women in the City Woman of Achievement Award is to highlight and formally recognise the outstanding contribution these women make to the City and in particular to identify those who are actively promoting and encouraging the progress of women above and beyond their everyday job. The Award identifies excellence and celebrates the achievements of senior and partner-level professionals working in London’s business hubs. Now in its fifth year the Award draws over 350 women to the Annual Women in the City Celebration Lunch in November when the 2011 Woman of Achievement Award Winner is announced.
Pamela will now go on to contend for the overall 2011 Woman of Achievement Award, which will be presented on Friday, 25th November at the 9th Annual Women in the City Annual Celebration Lunch held at Plaisterers’ Hall, London. The winner of this Award will receive a prize which includes a place on the Accelerated Development Program delivered by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business at its London campus.

The Awards judging panel is chaired by Prof Susan Vinnicombe, OBE, Director, Centre for Developing Women Business Leaders at Cranfield School of Management.

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Deloitte UK celebrates Diversity month

Published by chris on October 26th, 2011 - in Diversity

Deloitte, the business advisory firm, is celebrating diversity month with an exciting programme of activities and guest speakers, including Garth Crooks OBE, ambassador for the ‘Kick It Out’ campaign, and England cricketer, Ravi Bopara.

During the month, all nine of the firm’s diversity networks, including women’s, GLOBE (gay, lesbian and bisexual), multicultural, workability and faith networks will showcase the role they play within the firm. Over 4,000 Deloitte employees are members of a diversity network, which provide opportunities to hear inspirational talks, receiving mentoring and support from colleagues and network with other members of your network.

Stevan Rolls, Head of HR at Deloitte, said: “The Deloitte networks are an important part of the firm’s diversity strategy, and a key feature of our identity as an inclusive firm. Our approach to diversity is founded on a strong corporate culture and shared values which emphasise fairness and the promotion of talent on merit regardless of background.

“Diversity month is one of the key points in the year when Deloitte formally takes the opportunity to celebrate the differences that make us unique as individuals, and provides an opportunity to debate the important issue of respect at work with our people and clients.”

The events began with a Q&A session hosted by David Sproul, Managing Partner and CEO of Deloitte. David was joined by Jane Galvin, MD of Professional Services at Barclays Corporate and Garth Crooks OBE. They talked about their personal experiences of diversity in the workplace and were questioned by audience members on the importance of diversity at Deloitte and in UK plc more widely.

Will Smith, Audit partner and co-chair of the GLOBE network, said: “Diversity is fundamental to our business and we are very proud of the impact that the networks have. The GLOBE network is growing rapidly across the firm and we hold regular events that unite members across all grades, locations and service lines. GLOBE has become a strong platform for our people to develop internal, client and community relationships.”

The celebrations continue throughout the month with GLOBE celebrating with Parliout, the Houses of Parliament’s LGBT diversity network, to recognise the successes Deloitte has had supporting the Albert Kennedy Trust, which offers shelter to vulnerable young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual people. The Workability network will hear inspirational stories from a number of different speakers including Paralympic shooter Andy Gardiner, who will talk about his ambition of competing at London 2012, whilst Diwali will be celebrated by the Hindu network with an evening of celebrations hosted by England Cricketer Ravi Bopara.

For more information on Deloitte’s Diversity networks please visit: http://careers.deloitte.com/united-kingdom/experienced-professionals/culture_benefits.aspx?CountryContentID=12357

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Freshfields appoints Kate Laffar as Head of Global Diversity and Inclusion

International law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has re-enforced its commitment to being a diverse and inclusive employer by refreshing and expanding its global diversity team.

Kate Laffar, currently head of internal communications, has been appointed head of the global diversity and inclusion team. Together with intellectual property partner Avril Martindale and corporate partner Mark Rawlinson she will have responsibility for driving the firm’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. Each of them will join the firm’s global diversity committee, which is chaired by senior partner Will Lawes.

Real estate partner Annette Byron, dispute resolution partner Andrew Austin and risk and compliance director Jonathan Kembery will support Avril and Mark as diversity champions in London. They will each take responsibility for a key strand of diversity and inclusion, with Avril focusing on gender, Mark championing work-life balance and flexible working and Annette, Andrew and Jonathan concentrating on respectively ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability.

The new appointments in London reflect the approach being taken internationally, with partners in each office selected to champion key strands of diversity and inclusion locally.

Will Lawes said: ‘Creating an even more diverse and inclusive workplace is a business imperative that we take very seriously. Diverse organisations perform better, clients increasingly demand we share their diversity values and we need to be a place where all feel welcome. It will also help ensure we continue to attract and develop the very best talent and are recognised across our global footprint as an employer of choice.’

Richard Norbruis, global people partner, said: ‘Each member of this new team has shown huge commitment to helping the firm nurture an inclusive culture in which everyone feels valued and able to realise their full potential. We are confident that their leadership and commitment will help us move closer to achieving our diversity goals.’
Freshfields’ diversity initiatives include unconscious bias training; coaching, development and mentoring for women associates; maternity transition coaching; the support and encouragement of women’s networks; free emergency childcare for all employees in London and Germany and a focus on making flexible working a success.

The firm has secured a number of accreditations for its diversity efforts including being named as one of The Times’ top 50 employers for women and featuring in The Stonewall Workplace Equality Index legal top ten.

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Kroger appoints new Chief Diversity Officer

Published by chris on June 15th, 2011 - in Diversity

The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) announced today that Reuben Shaffer has been appointed Chief Diversity Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Shaffer will report to Kroger’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, David B. Dillon.

Mr. Shaffer, 60, has been serving as the Vice President of Retail Operations for the Cincinnati/Dayton Division. He began his career with Kroger in 1988 and has held various leadership positions in the organization.

“Diversity is a core value at Kroger,” said David B. Dillon, Kroger chairman and CEO. “We take our commitment to diversity seriously, both because it is right and because it makes us better at our business. When our decision-making is inclusive and reflects the diversity of our customers, we make better decisions. We look forward to Reuben applying his broad experience and deep understanding of Kroger values in this important area.”

Mr. Shaffer will oversee Kroger’s comprehensive diversity initiatives, including supplier diversity and integrating the company’s ongoing commitment to create an inclusive culture into key business and organization initiatives.

Kroger has been a leader in the use of minority and women-owned business enterprises in all aspects of its business for more than 30 years. Kroger currently spends more than $1 billion with nearly 1,000 minority and women-owned companies.
Mr. Shaffer is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and is involved in a number of organizations in the local community, including the Cincinnati Association of the Blind and Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation. He and his wife, Kathy, have one daughter and two grandchildren.

Kroger, the USA’s largest traditional grocery retailer, employs more than 338,000 associates who serve customers in 2,458 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith’s. The Company also operates 786 convenience stores, 361 fine jewelry stores, 1,014 supermarket fuel centers and 40 food processing plants in the U.S. Kroger, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, focuses its charitable efforts on supporting hunger relief, health and wellness initiatives, and local organizations in the communities it serves. For more information about Kroger, please visit www.kroger.com.

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AT&T appoints new Senior VP Talent Development and Chief Diversity Officer. Two job titles that will always be linked ?

Published by chris on June 10th, 2011 - in Diversity, Talent Acquisition

AT&T* announced today the appointment of Debbie Storey as senior vice president-talent development and chief diversity officer. In her new role, Storey will be responsible for leading the company’s award-winning efforts to foster an inclusive workforce and develop its diverse talent to meet the business needs of the 21st century. “At AT&T, diversity at every level of our company is a key to our success. It helps spark innovation, elevate customer care and strengthen connections to the communities we serve,” said Bill Blase, AT&T senior executive vice president, human resources. “We look forward to Debbie’s leadership to ensure that AT&T continues to be one of the most respected companies in America for its inclusive workforce and business practices.”
“I am honored to be named to this important post,” said Storey. “I am proud of AT&T’s commitment to diversity and to talent development, and I look forward to building on our longstanding reputation as a leader in these critical areas.”
AT&T’s four-pronged approach to diversity — talent development, multicultural marketing, community support and supplier diversity – has been widely recognized. It has ranked consistently in the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity® list and, in 2010, it was named Corporation of the Year by the National Minority Supplier Development Council. In addition, Chief Learning Officer magazine this year named AT&T No. 1 in its inaugural “LearningElite” benchmarking and recognition program, and best in corporate America at aligning learning and development with business results.

Storey brings extensive leadership and telecommunications experience to the position. In her most recent assignment as senior vice president-centers support, she was responsible for sales and operations support for all AT&T consumer call centers as well as self-service and online operations. Previously, she was AT&T vice president for consumer sales.
Storey played a key role during the merger of AT&T with BellSouth in 2006. As vice president of merger integration for BellSouth, she developed plans for the merged organizational and operational structure as well as the execution strategy. Earlier, as BellSouth vice president of broadband transformation, she led the evolution of BellSouth’s internet operation from voice to broadband services.
While at BellSouth she served as president of the BellSouth Women’s Networking Alliance, one of the company’s employee resource groups (ERG). With the merger of AT&T and BellSouth, that organization became Women at AT&T, with Storey continuing to serve as an executive advisor. Women at AT&T is one of the company’s 10 ERGs, which provide mentoring, networking and development opportunities for about 12,000 members combined. ERG membership at AT&T is open to all employees.
Storey started her career with AT&T in 1982 in Atlanta as customer service clerk for BellSouth telephone directory publisher Stevens Graphics.
Storey earned a B.A. in Psychology and Criminal Justice from the University of Georgia and an executive MBA from the Terry School of Business at the University of Georgia.

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New report shows that diversity is lacking within leadership teams of Canadian Law Firms

Just 6.8% of leaders in the GTA legal sector are visible minorities, relative to 49.5% of the population studied, reveals a new report released today.

The third annual DiverseCity Counts report, produced by the Diversity Institute at Ryerson University on behalf of DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project, tracked 3,330 leaders across the corporate, public, elected, education and nonprofit sectors. Also included in this year’s report is a first-ever look at visible minority leadership in the legal sector. While previous research has studied diversity among lawyers exclusively, the Counts report tracked 2,410 leaders in the field including judges, governing bodies, law school leaders, partners in the top 20 law firms and crown attorneys.

Lawyers and judges are influential decision makers who shape the laws and the administration of justice,” explains Wendy Cukier, the lead author and founder of the Diversity Institute at Ryerson University. “Lawyers lead in other areas too, such as in elected office – in fact, 73 per cent of Canadian Prime Ministers have also been practising lawyers. They are also at the forefront of advocacy and social change. Representation in this sector is critical to a democratic society.”

Although the research shows that there is an under-representation of visible minorities in leadership in the legal sector, the report found that overall, 14.5 per cent of leaders in the GTA are visible minorities which is an increase of eight per cent from 13.4% in 2009.

Within the legal profession, judges are found to have higher levels of visible minority representation than law firm partners or crown attorneys (8.3 per cent compared to 6.6 per cent). Governing bodies and law school leaders come out on top at 10.5 per cent.

“These results put numbers to what we’ve been observing. We already knew that only 14.4 per cent of lawyers are visible minorities but now we can see that the problem increases as we move up the chain. Greater diversity at the top of our profession is both a social imperative and a business driver,” says Julia Hanigsberg who is a member of the DiverseCity steering committee and is Vice President, Administration and Finance and General Counsel, Ryerson University.

DiverseCity Counts is the third report commissioned by DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project, a multi-pronged initiative to accelerate prosperity in the GTA by enabling a more diverse leadership to emerge. Previous research has found a link between diversity in leadership and more effective, innovative and productive organizations.

Recruiters: Are you breaking the law when you interview a candidate ?

Published by chris on June 7th, 2011 - in Disability

The Government Equalities Office has published ‘What do I need to know? A quick start guide to the ban on questions about health and disability during recruitment’.

In the past, some employers asked questions about health or disability in the initial stages of recruitment. Disabled applicants were being rejected before interview and before being given the opportunity to have their suitability, skills and experience for the work considered by the employer. This resulted in unfair discrimination.

The new 2010 provisions aim to ensure that disabled applicants are given the opportunity to have their ability to do the job in question properly assessed. They also aim to ensure that disabled people are not discouraged from applying for work because they will be asked questions about their health and disability on application forms.

There are a few specific circumstances when questions about health and disability can be asked during the initial stages of a recruitment process. These are explained later.

Who has responsibilities?

These provisions apply to any person recruiting people for work. In most cases, this will be an employer or someone working on their behalf such as a recruitment agency. However, the restriction also applies to people who are recruiting people for contract work, business and limited liability partnerships, work as a barrister or advocate, or for a personal or public office (such as a position as a director of a business or a non-executive director of a public body).
This guide uses the term “employer” to cover all of the above.

    Example

Matt would like to find temporary office work and contacts a recruitment company to see if they are able to place him anywhere.The recruitment company is unable to ask Matt any questions that relate to his health or disability (except in the specific circumstances outlined later in this guide) while they are in the process of recruiting him for temporary contracts.

What is prohibited?

The general position is that it is unlawful for an employer to ask any job applicant about their health or disability unless and until the applicant has been offered a job. (But note that there are a few specific circumstances when questions about health and disability can be asked.These are explained later in this guide.)
Where an organisation is holding a bulk recruitment exercise, this restriction on questions about health or disability applies up to the point where an applicant has been placed in a pool of successful applicants who are to be offered jobs as vacancies arise.
It is also unlawful for an employer’s representative to ask a job applicant questions about their health or disability.This means that an employer cannot refer an applicant to an occupational health practitioner or ask an applicant to fill in a questionnaire provided by an occupational health practitioner before a job offer is made.
Questions about previous sickness absence are classed as questions that relate to health or disability and must not be asked.

Specific circumstances when questions about health or disability are allowed before a job offer

There are certain specific situations in which health or disability questions are allowed to be asked during the early stages of the recruitment process.

1.To establish whether the applicant can take part in an assessment to determine their suitability for the job.

    Example

Khalid applies for a job at a scaffolding company. During the recruitment process Khalid is asked whether he is able to undergo an assessment to demonstrate he can climb scaffolding safely.This would be lawful because
it enables the employer to ensure that Khalid is able to undertake the assessment to show his suitability for the job.

2.To determine whether any reasonable adjustments need to be made to enable a disabled person to participate in an assessment during the recruitment process.

Employers must ensure that information on health or disability which has been obtained for the purpose of making reasonable adjustments during the recruitment process does not form any part of the decision-making process about whether or not to offer a job.
Employers should keep any information on disability and health, obtained for the purpose of making reasonable adjustments during the recruitment process, separately from other information.

    Example

Katie applies for a job in a call centre. As part of the selection process, the call centre requires applicants for customer service posts to undertake an exercise that involves handling a series of practice calls and inputting data to
a computer.The employer asks Katie whether, because of health or disability, she requires any reasonable adjustments to be made so she can take part in the practice exercise.This would be lawful.
An employer cannot ask questions about whether any reasonable adjustments need to be made to carry out the job itself until after a job offer has been made.

3.To find out whether a job applicant would be able to undertake a function that is intrinsic to the job.

An intrinsic function of a job is a function which, if it could not be performed, would mean that the job could not be carried out.

    Example

Mary applies for a job at a residential care home as a care assistant.An intrinsic element of the job is the ability to be able to help lift and physically support residents.The employer would be allowed to ask Mary questions relating to health or disability in order to determine whether Mary is capable of lifting and physically supporting residents because it is intrinsic to the job.

4.To monitor diversity among job
applicants.

Monitoring information should be kept separate from application forms in order to minimise the risk that this information will influence the selection process.

    Example

Jacinda runs a catering company and wants to make sure that the recruitment procedures are operating fairly. The company is allowed to ask applicants whether they have a disability, so that it can monitor how disabled candidates fare at each stage of the recruitment process compared to non-disabled candidates.

5.To support “positive action” in employment for disabled people.

The Act allows an employer to take “positive action” to assist people who are disadvantaged or under- represented in employment.This can include action to improve employment opportunities for disabled people. An employer is allowed to ask an applicant
if they are disabled for the purpose of ensuring that the applicant can benefit from any action the employer has taken to improve the employment rate of disabled people.
For example, an employer is permitted to ask if an applicant is disabled so that it can ensure that the applicant qualifies to be included in a guaranteed interview scheme.When asking questions about eligibility for a guaranteed interview scheme, an employer should make clear that this is the only reason the question is being asked.

    Example

Liam applies for a job with a large retailer. The retailer wants to improve disabled people’s chances of being selected for its vacancies.Therefore, it offers guaranteed interviews to disabled people. In order to identify disabled people, the retailer
is allowed to ask whether Liam has a disability and wishes to take advantage of a guaranteed interview.

6. If there is an occupational requirement for the person to be disabled.

The employer would need to demonstrate that a person with a particular impairment is required for the job in order to ask questions about health or disability.

    Example

Harry applies for a job as a counsellor for people with mental health conditions. One of the requirements for the job is that counsellors must have personally had a mental health condition.The counselling centre advertises for candidates explaining this. During the interview Harry is asked to confirm that he has had such a condition.This is lawful because experience of having a mental health condition is an occupational requirement of the job.

National security vetting

In addition to the above circumstances, the Act does not prevent an employer asking applicants questions about health or disability for the purpose of vetting them for national security reasons.

    Example

Niall applies for a job in a government department which would involve handling highly sensitive documents. The department is allowed to ask Niall questions about health or disability in the recruitment process if this is needed to vet him for the purpose of national security.

After the selection process

Once the employer has decided that a job applicant meets the requirements for work, the employer might make the applicant a job offer, or place the applicant in a pool of successful applicants to be offered jobs as vacancies arise.
At this point, the employer is allowed to make the offer conditional upon the successful applicant meeting the employer’s health or other requirements. The Act does not then prevent the employer asking questions relating to health or disability.The employer may, for example, need to ask questions to determine whether a successful applicant would be eligible for job-related benefits, or would need reasonable adjustments to enable them to do the job.
However, an employer must avoid making final job award decisions that discriminate against disabled people – see “Avoiding direct discrimination” section below.

    Example

Huang has been offered a job with a large consultancy firm.The company enrols all its employees into a health insurance scheme as part of their employment conditions.As such, the firm makes Huang’s job offer conditional on him being eligible to join the scheme. The employer, or the operator of the health insurance scheme acting on behalf of the employer, may ask any disability or health-related questions that are necessary to determine whether Huang is eligible for the scheme before making the final decision to appoint him.

    Example

Nicole has received an offer from a local authority for a job as a clerical worker, because she has shown she has the required skills and experience for the job.The local authority asks Nicole whether there is a need to make any reasonable adjustments to the job, the working arrangements or the workplace to enable her to do the job.This is permitted.

Avoiding direct discrimination

If an employer rejects an applicant solely because the person has a disability, this is direct discrimination and is unlawful. At whatever stage of the recruitment process an employer gains information about a person’s disability, the employer must not use that information to discriminate against the disabled person because of the person’s disability.

Employers can make job offers conditional upon satisfactory responses to disability questionnaires or satisfactory health checks. However, they must ensure that they do not discriminate against a disabled job applicant on the basis of any information gained from such questions or checks.

If an employer asks questions that are unlawful

If a person thinks that an employer has acted unlawfully by asking questions about health or disability that are not permitted, the person can complain to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which has powers to take enforcement action against the employer. A person does not need to have a disability to complain to the Equality and Human Rights Commission in this situation.
A person cannot bring an EmploymentTribunal claim against an employer for asking unlawful questions about disability and health. It is only where such questions are asked and the employer uses the information gained to discriminate against the person that he or she can bring a disability discrimination case in an Employment Tribunal. If an employer asks unlawful questions but does not use the information to discriminate against the person because of disability (for example the disabled person is nevertheless offered the job) no discrimination has occurred and there is no case to bring.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission appoints new Chief Exec

Published by chris on June 7th, 2011 - in Equality

The Equality and Human Rights Commission this week announced the appointment of Mark Hammond as chief executive.

Mark Hammond joins the Commission after an extensive career in local and central government. He was previously chief executive of West Sussex County Council, a post he held from 2004 to 2010. He first joined West Sussex in 2000 as director of environment and development.

From 1985, Mark held a wide range of posts in the Civil Service including private secretary to the permanent secretary at the Department of the Environment; part of the UK team which negotiated the United Nations climate change convention; and the energy, environment and telecoms brief at the British Embassy in Washington.

Commenting, Equality and Human Rights Commission chair Trevor Philips said:

“Mark’s appointment as permanent chief executive is a crucial step in the next phase of the Commission’s life. We can already count many achievements to our name, including ground breaking legal cases and investigations, but we need to build on those successes – most of all in charting an inclusive path to economic prosperity.

“We’ve made much progress in modernising the organisation over the last 18 months, and we are now about to start consulting on a new strategic plan to deliver the Commission’s vision of improving life for the whole of society. Mark will be leading the work to create an efficient, effective and creative organisation which can deliver that vision.

“His extensive experience of delivering large scale organisational change will be vital to us as we look to build on the progress made by his predecessors Helen Hughes and Neil Kinghan. The board is delighted that he will be leading the organisation into this new challenge.”

Mark has also been appointed by the Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities as a commissioner and accounting officer.

Lynne Featherstone, Minister for Equalities added:

“It is vital that we have a strong, effective and independent equalities and human rights body. I congratulate Mark on his appointment and am confident that he will work towards delivering this.”

The Law School Admissions Council’s (LSAC) Diversity Matters Award recognizes Phoenix School of Law for its commitment to valuing all individuals.

Published by chris on June 7th, 2011 - in Diversity

Phoenix School of Law was honored as the top law schools in the USA for its diversity efforts with the 2011 Law School Admissions Council’s Diversity Matters Award at the organization’s annual meeting in Los Angeles on Saturday.

PhoenixLaw was among the more than 200 LSAC member schools that were considered for the award. The award is given to schools that are seriously committed to diversity, and who demonstrate this by their recruitment efforts directed toward underrepresented minority candidates.

“We recognize that students of color have long been underrepresented in legal education and we are pleased that our efforts in this area have been acknowledged by LSAC,” said Shirley L. Mays, Dean of Phoenix School of Law. “Our fall 2010 class of 31% diversity students and our spring 2011 class of 40% diversity put us at the forefront of diversifying the legal academy. As diversity increases in our country and throughout the world, we are proud to reflect in our student body the skills, exposure, and preparation that these future leaders will exemplify in the legal profession.”

According to a 2009 Columbia University Law School study, African American and Mexican American representation in law school has decreased in the last fifteen years. Applicants from these groups are also denied acceptance by all the schools to which they apply more often than Caucasians. One of PhoenixLaw’s missions is a commitment to valuing and achieving diversity among students, staff, faculty and administration, so that the school can provide and impart a deeper understanding of the needs of all individuals, especially those who have been underserved.

Phoenix School of Law has made diversity an integral part of its mission through the creation of the Diversity Committee and Dean’s Diversity Council which provide opportunities to identify and resolve challenges facing the school’s diverse community. The faculty has a 37% diversity rate, and is an integral part of these two committees. The goals of the Diversity Committee and Dean’s Diversity Council are to promote programs that influence and effect social change at the school, as well as the community, and to promote and advance the goal of diversity in the legal profession.

PhoenixLaw also hosts an annual High School Law Day and Diversity Day to educate high school students, college students and working professionals about law school preparation and careers in law.

In 2009, Phoenix School of Law began a partnership with the Arizona State Bar’s Diversity Section for the Diversity Pipeline Project. The State Bar adopted Cloves C. Campbell, Sr. Elementary School (7th and 8th grades) in South Phoenix to start the project. With more than 10 student volunteers from PhoenixLaw, the pipeline project exposes students from diverse backgrounds to the benefits of higher education in an effort to encourage them to attend law school, pass the bar, and become attorneys. Project volunteers mentor the youngsters and guide them through the pipeline from entry to advancement in the legal profession.

© Copyright Chris Bale