Kaye Scholer is committed to diversity, and strives to foster diversity in a positive and supportive work environment. We believe that a diverse group of lawyers and staff increases the value of our law firm, strengthens our firm's ability to attract talented individuals and enhances our ability to retain and serve our increasingly diverse clientele.
The mission of our Diversity Committee is to ensure that we recruit, retain and promote a diverse group of attorneys and that we cultivate a workplace in which everyone is valued and accorded equal respect. To achieve these goals, our Diversity Committee works closely with our Recruiting and Personnel Committees. The firmwide Committee, which is chaired by Scott Talmadge, is composed of partners associates and an administrator. The Committee's accomplishments include an independent firmwide diversity assessment, mandatory diversity training sessions, a mentoring program tailored to our diverse population, affinity groups and an array of diversity-related events and programs.
All Kaye Scholer lawyers participate in the Firm's mandatory diversity training program. Diversity training sessions are composed of a combination of partners, counsel and associates from various departments in the Firm. Through discussion, videos and case studies, the program enables participants to gain insight into the different viewpoints and workplace challenges of both their peers and others.
In 2008, the Firm rolled out a revised mentoring program designed to assist associates' career development and enhance their experience at the Firm. Highlights of the program are:
- all associates are paired with mentors for a period of at least two years at a time
- associates are encouraged to select rather than be assigned mentors
- virtually all mentor/mentee communications are confidential
In addition, there are four Program Coordinators who monitor the mentoring relationships to ensure that mentors and mentees are meeting in a timely fashion, to ensure that the mentor-mentee pairings are appropriate and to evaluate the extent to which the program is functioning successfully.
Recently, the Diversity Committee established an Ombuds Program, a confidential resource for all attorneys. The Ombuds Representatives are neutral confidants who advocate not for a specific individual, but for equity, fair process and compliance with firm policy and procedure. The program was established with a special emphasis on issues concerning women, minorities, sexual orientation and religion. The Ombuds Representatives are available, however, to assist all attorneys in resolving work-related concerns in an informal, confidential and impartial manner. The primary goal of the program is to improve the overall working environment at Kaye Scholer.
The Firm recognizes the importance of active affinity groups for lawyers who share common interests or backgrounds. With the Firm's support, our attorneys have voluntarily formed African American, Latino, Asian, Women and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) affinity groups. Participation in these affinity groups accelerates professional development, provides additional mentoring opportunities and increases networking opportunities.
Kaye Scholer is a proud participant and sponsor of a wide range of programs that celebrate and promote diversity in the legal community. The Firm's Diversity Committee believes that exposure to diverse speakers and points of view promotes professional development and growth. The Committee has hosted several speakers, panel discussions and movie nights. Recent speakers include Clarence B. Jones, a speech writer and attorney for Martin Luther King Jr., as well as lawyers from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF), the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) and from Lambda Legal.