Establishing and maintaining a diverse, fully inclusive, and community-minded workforce is essential to a strong law firm.
K&L Gates has implemented a number of programs to promote diversity and inclusion, and we believe that K&L Gates is an industry leader in this regard. For example, in 2003, the firm appointed the profession’s first Chief Diversity Officer. This unprecedented appointment was noted in Diversity & the Bar in an article entitled “Above the Cut: Law Firms Raise the Bar” that featured this unique position and announced that the firm was among the industry’s leaders.
Similarly, the firm’s appointment of the industry’s first Director of Professional and Personal Life Integration and the launching of its innovative Balanced Hours Initiative received acclaim throughout the profession. In 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 K&L Gates was named as one of the “Top 100 Law Firms for Diversity” and “Top 100 Law Firms for Women” by MultiCultural Law magazine. MultiCultural Law also named K&L Gates a “Top 50 Firm for Partners” in 2011. Also in both 2011 and 2012, K&L Gates was among selected law firms to be awarded the Gold Standard Certification by the Women in Law Empowerment Forum, recognizing us for the integration of women into the highest leadership positions in the firm. The Pennsylvania Bar Association included K&L Gates on its Honor Roll of Legal Organizations Welcoming Women Professionals in its 2009 Annual Report Card on Women in the Profession. K&L Gates was honored among the best law firms for women by Working Mother magazine and Flex-Time Lawyers LLC in their first-ever “Best Law Firms for Women” list, and in 2012 our Australian offices were named as an “Employer of Choice for Women” by the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA).
In 2011, K&L Gates expanded the responsibilities of its diversity team. In addition to the leadership provided by the firm’s Diversity Committee, a cross-office initiative chaired by Paul Sweeney, the Los Angeles office Administrative Partner and a member of the Management and Executive Committees, a new Firmwide Director of Diversity and Inclusion has been appointed and charged with tasks that are global in scope and focus on eliminating barriers to inclusion within the mainstream working environment wherever our lawyers reside. Across our firm, the focus is on the professional development continuum – from a lawyer’s recruitment through his or her ultimate advancement.
Women lawyers, lawyers of color, LGBT lawyers and lawyers with disabilities have continued to become increasingly engaged at K&L Gates. They have taken on leadership roles that include service on the Management Committee and its Executive Committee and as Administrative Partners of offices, Practice Area Leaders and Practice Group Coordinators. In 2011 and 2012, K&L Gates was named a “Best Place to Work for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality” after earning a top rating of 100 percent in the Corporate Equality Index, an annual survey administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. K&L Gates lawyers also regularly participate in and lead traditional and minority bar organizations and non-profit community organizations focused on serving minority communities and enhancing opportunities for minority youth. We also fund fellowships for diverse law students from ABA-accredited law schools.
K&L Gates sponsors or participates in a number of other diversity-related organizations and events including the ABA’s Minority Counsel Program and Commission on Disability Rights, the Hispanic National Bar Association, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the National LGBT Bar Association, and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. K&L Gates has been the largest and sole Title sponsor of Corporate Counsel Women of Color (“CCWC”), a non-profit organization serving women of color lawyers in corporate legal departments, every year since CCWC was founded. In addition, we use our sponsorships as an opportunity to network with lawyers from around the globe and to emphasize the firm’s diversity efforts and initiatives. The firm is also the sole sponsor of the annual Nabrit Lecture Series at the Howard University School of Law, which typically features remarks by a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
K&L Gates also is a member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (“LCLD”), an organization of corporate chief legal officers and law firm managing partners dedicated to increasing diversity throughout the legal profession. Our Chairman and Global Managing Partner is a member of its Board of Directors and serves as vice-Chair of its Strategy and Innovation Committee. LCLD has initiated a Fellows Program designed to connect high-potential lawyers with General Counsels and Managing Partners from preeminent organizations for a year-long development program that focuses on relationship-building and leadership skills. We strongly support the program and are proud to have one of our lawyers selected and serving as a Fellow. We also have two first-year law students who were selected as LCLD 1L Scholars, and are proud to have numerous partners co-chairing LCLD mentoring initiatives across the country.
K&L Gates’ Women in the Profession Committee is a leader in the profession. The Committee’s mission is to identify and promote ways to develop our women lawyers’ advancement of their careers, with a particular focus on their internal and external business development; to promote women as leaders and role models; and to work to enhance the sense of community among our women lawyers and within the community of women lawyers in our markets at large. Working both at the global and local office level, our Women in the Profession Committee members have express responsibilities that promote on a daily basis the achievement of this mission.
The Chair of the Women in the Profession Committee is a member of the firm’s Management and Executive Committees and, as the firm’s Global Development Partner, is one of three global management partners. K&L Gates is proud that nineteen women partners are leaders of firmwide practice groups and eight women partners serve on the firm’s Management Committee.
Our firm’s work in this area has earned us a number of awards, including the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) Gold Standard Certification in 2011 and 2012. WILEF Certification emphasizes leadership roles achieved by women partners, and firms are eligible for certification if they successfully demonstrate that women represent a meaningful percentage of the firm’s equity partners, highest leadership positions, governance and compensation committees, and most highly compensated partners. K&L Gates was also shortlisted for the 2012 Chambers USA Women in Law Awards in the “Most Innovative Gender Diversity Initiative” Category for our Women in the Profession Committee.
At K&L Gates, we are committed to fostering diversity within our firm and the legal profession and strive to maintain an inclusive culture that enriches the experience of our lawyers, enabling them to better serve our clients. We encourage cooperation and teamwork and provide fair and ethical treatment of all employees regardless of race, color, gender, religion, age, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability.