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This article by Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance was published in Law360’s Expert Analysis column on July 15, 2020.

As states begin to lift restrictions and people emerge from the shutdown, law firms are developing their strategies for reopening offices after weeks of remote working.

Many firms will find that it’s not as simple as it sounds, and there are countless intricacies to consider before employees return. While most firms will focus on ensuring physical spaces are as safe as possible, it’s equally important to consider the impact reopening decisions will have on your firm’s culture of inclusivity moving forward.

Firms will clearly focus on safety measures such as social distancing guidelines, the use of masks and gloves, plexiglass dividers, temperature checks, bathroom and cafeteria limits, and frequent sanitization. Additionally, many offices will choose to bring employees back in phases or have them alternate days in the office. However, even with all the protective measures in place, experts agree that nowhere will be 100% safe from the virus until there is a vaccine or cure.

Consequently, firm leaders are facing extremely difficult decisions regarding how and when to reopen the office and who should return. When contemplating these significant questions, firms should consider the following tips to maintain fairness and support a culture that embraces diversity and inclusion.

Continue Reading on LAW360.com here.

This article by Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance was published in Law360’s Expert Analysis column on May 14, 2020.

 

A successful team is made up of individuals who perform their responsibilities, support each other, and possess the flexibility to pivot and meet the needs of their coworkers.

While law firms have always functioned in teams, the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified this equation and exponentially increased the need for cohesive teamwork at all levels. In order to ensure smooth operations during remote work and navigate the uncertain road ahead, each team member needs to commit to his or her unique role, intensify support for colleagues, and support the idea of flexible flexibility.

The Role of Chairs and Partners

During this pandemic (and beyond), leadership plays a critical role in setting the tone and navigating the course. All staff and attorneys are dealing with heightened stress and anxiety, and in many cases, increased caregiver responsibilities and isolation. Firm leadership should take this opportunity to demonstrate gratitude, empathy and commitment to their teams by:

Sustaining Morale

It’s particularly important for chairs and partners to relay optimism and empathy while remaining realistic during this pivotal time. To sustain employee morale and engagement during remote work, firm leaders should continuously send messages that reinforce the notion of “we’re in this together” to reassure employees and combat feelings of isolation and anxiety.

Continue Reading on LAW360.com here.

2019 New Partner Report Released

Washington, DC – November 8, 2019 – Yesterday, during the Diversity and Flexibility Alliance’s Annual Conference, fifty-one law firms were recognized for having 50% or more women in their 2019 U.S.-based new partner class. The firms, recognized as “Tipping the Scales,” were identified through the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance’s New Partner Report, a compilation of public data and self-reported sources released each year for the past eight years. The Report revealed that 41.3 percent of new partners in 138 major U.S. law firms in 2019 were women, surpassing last year’s mark by 2.4 percentage points. The Executive Summary is publicly available here.

PHOTO: Representatives from major law firms pose with Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance, after receiving their “Tipping the Scales” Recognition at the Alliance’s 2019 Annual Conference in Washington, DC on November 7, 2019. Photo Credit: Birch Thomas (photosbybirch.com).

The “Tipping the Scales” firms recognized for having 50% or more women in their 2019 new partner class included:

1.     Akerman

2.     Alston & Bird

3.     Arent Fox

4.     Arnold & Porter

5.     Ballard Spahr

6.     Boies Schiller Flexner

7.     Bracewell

8.     Cahill Gordon & Reindel

9.     Cravath, Swaine & Moore

10. Crowell & Moring

11. Davis Polk & Wardwell

12. Davis Wright Tremaine

13. Debevoise & Plimpton

14. Dentons

15. Dickinson Wright

16. Drinker Biddle & Reath

17. Duane Morris

18. Epstein Becker & Green

 

19. Eversheds Sutherland

20. Fenwick & West

21. Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy

22. Gibbons

23. Goodwin Procter

24. Goldberg Kohn

25. Hogan Lovells

26. Jackson Lewis

27. Jones Day

28. K&L Gates

29. Lathrop Gage

30. Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith

31. Littler Mendelson

32. Manatt, Phelps & Phillips

33. McGuireWoods

34. Miles & Stockbridge

35. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius

 

36. Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart

37. O’Melveny & Myers

38. Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein

39. Perkins Coie

40. Polsinelli

41. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan

42. Schiff Hardin

43. Seyfarth Shaw

44. Shook, Hardy & Bacon

45. Shutts & Bowen

46. Thompson & Knight

47. Van Ness Feldman

48. White & Case

49. Williams & Connolly

50. Wolf Greenfield

51. Womble Bond Dickinson

 

The 2019 New Partner Report also found that the percentage of women promoted to partnership in major U.S. law firms has increased by 8.1 percent since 2012. Additionally, a larger share of firms have attained a 50/50 split or greater of women in the new partner class than in previous years. The fifty-one firms with 50% or more women in their 2019 new partner class represented 37% of the firms in the study. This is an increase from the 2018 figure of 31.3% and also represents a significant increase over previous years.

“We are encouraged to see the overall increase in the percentage of women in new partner classes in 2019 and are thrilled to recognize those firms that are “Tipping the Scales,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “Despite this progress, we continue to recognize the need for firms to commit to a more intentional and proactive strategy to retain and advance women.”

The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance’s New Partner Report is a yearly compilation of data from more than 100 (138 this year) of the nation’s largest and top-grossing law firms examining the gender breakdown of attorneys promoted to partnership in their U.S. offices. The data is based upon publicly available firm announcements and other self-reported sources on new partner classes with an effective date of promotion between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019.

The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance is a think tank that collaborates with organizations to develop non-stigmatized flexible work policies that promote inclusive work cultures and help to advance more women into leadership positions. The Alliance provides practical research-based solutions, training workshops, and strategic advisory services that increase organizational effectiveness through diversity and flexibility.

 

Contact Manar Morales at 202-957-9650 or manar@dfalliance.com for more information.