The Chicago Committee held its Annual Meeting at DLA Piper on February 7, 2018. The meeting was well attended with over 80 participants from member firms, including firm management and diversity officers and personnel. Lindsey Dates, Chair of The Chicago Committee’s Board of Directors, gave opening remarks regarding the Committee’s 2018 objectives. Sharon Hwang, former Secretary of the Board of Directors, and Hannah Jurowicz, Chair of the Associate Board, followed with a retrospective of the Committee’s 2017 programs and events.
The Annual Meeting also included a panel discussion led by Samantha Woo, Vice Chair of the Associate Board. The panel discussed diversity within law firms with a specific focus on the RFP process. Panelists included Ann Chen (Senior Counsel for Social Media & Digital Assets, Abbott), Suheily Natal Davis (Senior Counsel, Global Labor & Employment, McDonald’s Corp.), and Nick Jaramillo (Attorney, Microsoft). Additionally, Jack Lavin, President of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, also spoke about the importance of diversity in both the business and legal communities.
The meeting concluded with The Chicago Committee’s first Diversity Awards presentation. During the fall of 2017, The Chicago Committee asked member firms to complete a questionnaire on diversity and inclusion efforts within the firm. The Committee used the valuable information obtained from the responses to award three law firms for their efforts in advancing diversity and inclusion. The Most Dedicated Resources Award was presented to Polsinelli PC. This award was evaluated based on budget allocated for diversity purposes as well as firm diversity personnel, including the number of full-time employees specifically assigned to handle diversity and inclusion at the firm. The second award was presented to Brinks Gilson & Lione for the Most Partners Of Color In Firm Management. This award was evaluated based on the percentage of diverse attorneys who are department chairs and on management or executive committees at the firm. The third award, for Change Agent, was presented to Katten Muchin & Rosenman LLP. This award was based on the firm’s mentoring and systematic professional development programs in place specifically for racial and ethnically diverse attorneys.