Biglaw firms across the country are implementing all manner of initiatives to bring attention to the importance of diversity and inclusion among their ranks. We’ve previously acknowledged Dorsey & Whitney, Hogan Lovells, Reed Smith, Cooley, Baker McKenzie, and Ropes & Gray as firms where approved diversity and inclusion-related work will be billable for attorneys and will count toward bonus thresholds. We’ve just received word that in the final days of Black History Month, yet another Am Law 100 firm rolled out a similar program in an effort to show just how dedicated it is to furthering diversity and inclusion within the legal profession.
Locke Lord — a firm that brought in $496,433,000 gross revenue in 2019 — announced yesterday that effective January 1, 2021, attorneys at the firm will be able to receive credit for up to 75 hours of qualifying diversity and inclusion activities toward their annual billable hours requirement. Here’s an excerpt from the firm’s press release on its new policy:
The announcement closely follows several recent actions to further elevate and strengthen the Firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts. After achieving Mansfield Rule Certification 3.0 from Diversity Lab in 2020, which requires firms to consider a diverse slate of candidates for a defined list of roles, committees and leadership activities, Locke Lord is currently participating in the Mansfield Rule 4.0 Certification, which will conclude by July 2021. Locke Lord also achieved a 100 percent rating in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2021 Corporate Equality Index for the fifth consecutive year. A perfect score in this annual report evaluating policies and practices related to LGBTQ employees, culture and corporate social responsibility earns the Firm the distinction of being an employer of choice for LGBTQ employees.
Congratulations to Locke Lord on its commitment to diversity, and for offering its attorneys a way to create a more inclusive workplace. At 75 hours, the firm’s diversity billables are higher than almost every other firm that has announced such programming, save for Ropes & Gray (100 hours) and Baker McKenzie (125 hours). What an admirable way to support diversity and inclusion efforts.
Which firms will be the next to step up and do what’s right?
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.