Statement of Goals of Philadelphia Law Firms and Legal Departments for Increasing Minority Representation and Retention

I. Introduction

(a) The number of African-American, Hispanic-American and Asian-American (collectively Minority) lawyers practicing in law firms and corporate and institutional legal departments in the City of Philadelphia has long been small in relation to the total number of lawyers employed by such law firms and legal departments and in relation to the total number of practicing Minority attorneys in the City of Philadelphia (approximately 1200).

(b) In a profession that has prided itself in leading the fight for equal opportunity under the law, it is essential that we make further progress in achieving greater representation of Minority lawyers at all levels in our own firms and legal departments.

(c) The increased enrollment of Minorities in law school, which now averages 18% of the total enrollment in the Philadelphia area law schools alone and 15% of the total enrollment in law schools nationwide, affords an opportunity for increasing the representation of Minority lawyers in firms and legal departments, provided there is the will to do so and that concrete steps such as those enumerated below continue or are taken.

II. Statement of Goals for Increasing Minority Representation at All Levels of Law Firms and Legal Departments

EACH SIGNATORY PLEDGES TO PURSUE THE FOLLOWING GOALS:

Full and Equal Participation of Minorities

To achieve participation of Minority lawyers at all professional levels in its law firm or legal department.

Minority Hiring
To achieve the goal of hiring, during the period of 1993 through 1997, a substantial number of Minority lawyers. A desirable goal (not a quota) to be achieved would be at least 10% of the total number of all lawyers hired by such firm or legal department during the period 1993-1997. We believe that this goal is realistically attainable if the steps recommended in Section III are continued or are taken.

Retention
To improve the rate of retention of minority attorneys employed by law firms and institutional legal departments.

Minority Partners and Senior Legal Department Counsel
To promote or invite to partnership in each law firm and to senior counsel status in each corporate and institutional legal department Minority lawyers who meet the firm's or legal department's criteria for partnership or senior counsel status. We believe that this goal and the hiring and retention goals set forth in the preceding paragraphs are related and mutually dependent in that, if recruitment and retention programs are successful, then, over time, the number of Minority partners and senior counsel will correspond more closely to the percentage of Minority lawyers hired by the firm or legal department. Firms and legal departments that have Minority lawyers at the senior level are better able to recruit Minority law graduates. The more successful a firm or legal department is in recruiting, the more likely it is that more Minority lawyers will achieve partnership or senior counsel status.

III. Steps to Be Taken by Firms and Legal Departments in the Recruitment Process

EACH SIGNATORY PLEDGES TO PURSUE THE GOAL OF INCREASING THE NUMBER OF MINORITY LAWYERS HIRED BY TAKING ALL OR SOME OF THE FOLLOWING STEPS:

  1. Continuing to utilize hiring criteria for all lawyers (Minority and non-Minority) that include academic grades, public service, communication skills, leadership, integrity, resourcefulness and other factors which indicate potential for success in the law firm or legal department.

  2. Utilizing summer programs and student internship programs.

  3. Increasing the pool of Minority law student applicants who meet the firm's or legal department's hiring criteria by:

    1. interviewing at law schools having significant numbers of Minority law students; and

    2. identifying Minority students through placement administrators, faculty members, former summer associates and Minority law student organizations at law schools and by job forums, receptions and other activities for law students.

  4. To the extent that a law firm or legal department engages in lateral hiring, increasing the lateral Minority attorney applicant pool by:

    1. communicating with law school placement administrators and faculty members for referrals to practicing Minority lawyers;

    2. requesting professional recruiters, when used, to include Minority candidates in their searches

    3. requesting Minority bar associations for referrals; and

    4. requesting Minority partners or law firms for referrals.

  5. Recruiting Minority applicants by involving partners and senior counsel in the recruitment process.

  6. Communicating to all lawyers the firm's or legal department's commitment to the goals set forth in this statement.

IV. Steps to Be Taken by Firms and Legal Departments for Retention and Promotion of Minority Lawyers to Partnership and Management Positions

EACH SIGNATORY PLEDGES TO CONTINUE TO PURSUE THE GOAL OF INCREASING RETENTION AND PROMOTION RATES FOR MINORITY LAWYERS BY DOING THE FOLLOWING:

  1. Exercising diligence and sensitivity to ensure that the opportunities for Minority lawyers are equivalent to those provided to non-Minority lawyers in the assignment of work on a consistent basis of the type necessary to develop skills and acquire experience for success and advancement;

  2. Initiating or enhancing efforts aimed at increasing retention rates for Minority attorneys, focusing on allocation or interesting work, training and guidance, relationships with partners and senior counsel, client contacts, feedback and pro bono opportunities;

  3. Exercising diligence and sensitivity further to ensure that the work environment is as hospitable for Minority lawyers as it is for non-Minority lawyers by providing that:

    • Minority lawyers receive equal opportunity to perform significant work assignments for important clients and partners;

    • Minority lawyers receive equal training, mentoring, guidance, feedback and opportunities to grow and succeed;

    • Minority lawyers are included in work-related social activities with other lawyers and clients;

    • Programs are adopted for all new lawyers that enhance their understanding of business concepts, client relations, client development and their confidence in dealing with such matters;

    • Policies are adopted that prohibit law firm or legal department sponsored functions at private clubs that discriminate on the basis of race, creed, religion or gender;

    • Implementing a formal mechanism through which Minority attorneys may voice concerns as they arise and through which feedback is solicited from all attorneys regarding the quality of their professional experiences, including work assignments, training, office atmosphere and relationships with colleagues and clients;

    • Ensuring equal opportunities for Minority lawyers to achieve partnership or senior counsel status by:

      • Using the same criteria for Minority and non-Minority lawyers in evaluating lawyers for

        promotion to partnership or senior counsel status;

      • Guiding the development of Minority lawyers in the same manner as non-Minority lawyers;

      • As Minority lawyers near consideration for partnership or senior counsel status, assigning responsibility for important client matters to senior Minority lawyers in the same manner and extent that such matters are assigned to senior non-Minority lawyers.

The Statement of Goals was originally developed by the Association's Committee on Minorities in the Profession and endorsed by the Board of Governors in 1993. Since then, more than 50 law firms, corporations and other legal employers have adopted the Statement of Goals.