Here, diversity is about more than metrics. It’s about a strategy and a holistic approach to culture, advancement, transparency, and change that reflects the modern realities of work and life for our lawyers and clients. Our efforts do not start and stop when a lawyer walks through our doors, or beyond them. We invest in pipelines of future lawyers and leaders from diverse backgrounds – from undergraduate level through law school. And we are committed to supporting our people and our vibrant alumni community through intentional networking and development opportunities.
Nurturing a culture of inclusivity allows us to attract the best talent, build the most effective teams, and deliver exceptional client service.
Lenora Ausbon-Odom, Chief Talent Development & Inclusion Officer
Nurturing an inclusive and supportive environment for all our people allows us to attract the best talent, build the most effective teams, and deliver exceptional client service. Through community building, training on cultural competence and encouraging all to be inclusion champions, we are cultivating a supportive and connected culture.
DLA Piper's resource groups focus on the development, advancement, and retention of members by amplifying diverse voices, creating mentorship and sponsorship relationships that help junior lawyers better navigate the firm and maximize their opportunities for development and business generation. Each resource group is focused on both bridging and bonding activities. Bonding activities are those that support group needs, provide development opportunities and programs that advance both professional and personal growth. Bridging opportunities include connecting beyond the resource group to other groups and communities including collaborating with our clients to impact change.
Our resource groups include:
- Asian American Pacific Islander
- Black Resource Group Invested in Development, Growth, and Excellence (BRIDGE)
- Hispanic Latino/a Organization for Leadership and Advancement (HOLA)
- Iris – LGBTQ+
- Leadership Alliance for Women (LAW)
- Mosaic- all diverse partners and of counsel
- Veterans and Military Families
- Working Parents & Caregivers
By building inclusive recruitment, development, and promotion practices, we empower diverse talent to thrive and for diverse representation among the highest ranks of the firm to flourish. We also foster access to advancement opportunities through transparency around matriculation criteria and potential career pathways, whether at DLA Piper or in-house with our clients and beyond. We provide important opportunities to hone legal skills, gain client exposure, and build business development acumen so the firm’s next generation of trusted advisors is ready to meet the evolving needs of our clients.
DLA Piper created a 15-month Emerging Leaders development program, which cultivates partners within the firm, helping them grow in their business development and leadership skills while also providing them access to key leadership and firm management. We know this access is essential to the firm in demonstrating value to our junior partners in being able to see their career pathways. Many graduates go on to earn leadership positions throughout the firm, including Practice Group Leader, Office Managing Partners, members of the firm’s Policy Committee and leaders of the firm’s national resource groups.
Through our longstanding and valued partnership with LCLD, DLA Piper creates access to developmental programs for diverse lawyers at varying stages in their careers, including the Scholars Program for 1Ls, Pathfinders program for junior associates and Fellows for mid-career emerging leaders.
DLA Piper was one of the first signatories of the Mansfield Rule, a national initiative developed to increase diversity in law firm recruitment, promotion, and leadership appointment practices. The rule has gained significant momentum in the industry as well as with clients over the last two years. As a signatory to the rule since 2017, the firm has received certified plus recognition for all iterations of the rule, most recently 5.0. Mansfield Certification Plus status indicates that, in addition to meeting or exceeding the baseline certification requirements, the firm has successfully reached at least 30 percent underrepresented lawyer representation in a notable number of their current leadership roles.
DLA Piper’s Raja Gaddipati Fellowship is an in-house pipeline initiative that offers underrepresented undergraduate students insight to what a career in a large law firm environment might entail. The six-week, full-time paid summer internship is designed to expose students to the type of practice that happens in “Big Law” through a combination of research projects, lectures and direct mentoring. The students complete a rigorous application and interview process to compete for a limited number of seats. Through this program, we have fellows who return to the firm for their 1L and 2L summers. The fellowship is named in honor a beloved partner, Raja Gaddipati, who was deeply involved in the community and engaged in the advancement of DLA Piper's culture. He was passionate about diversity and inclusion and had an enormous impact on the firm’s D&I initiatives.
Mansfield Rule 5.0 Certification Plus 2022
Having a voice, being a part of a community, and feeling a sense of belonging are essential to retention. My role as a resource group leader is to advocate for that community, to build bridges to belonging, and include diverse voices in both our professional and personal growth.
Cara Edwards, Managing Partner, New York Office
and Co-Chair, Leadership Alliance for Women
Alignment around our goals critical to the development of a more inclusive firm culture. We believe that transparency is essential. We measure and report our progress toward fostering and sustaining a rich, diverse workplace. We participate in key industry surveys each year to measure, understand and communicate our progress. We currently participate in the following annual industry initiatives and scorecards:
- American Bar Association's Model Diversity Survey
- American Lawyer Diversity Scorecard
- Best Law Firm’s for Women (Seramount)
- Diversity Lab’s Inclusion Blueprint
- Diversity Lab’s Mansfield Rule
- Human Rights Campaign – Corporate Equality Index
- Law360 Diversity Snapshot
- Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) Diversity Scorecard
- National Association of Women Lawyers
- Vault Law Firm DEI Survey
- Women In Law Empowerment Forum – Gold Standard Certification
We are committed to increasing and improving access to opportunities within our walls and beyond. Through sponsorships is how we engage with national, regional, and local associations and organizations by providing resources and expertise to create a positive impact the legal profession.
Highlights of partnerships include:
DLA Piper is proud to partner with Black In-House Counsel (BIHC), an organization dedicated to increasing awareness of Black attorneys in Fortune 500 legal departments and AmLaw 100 law firms. BIHC is committed to forging a new path for Black attorneys through events, digital networks, and career development programs.
DLA Piper is a founding sponsor of the Legal Mentor Network, a nonprofit organization focused on providing junior lawyers and law students with free mentoring services. Over the last two years, LMN has helped facilitate over 1,000 mentorship connections, matching law students and newly admitted attorneys with mentors in their geographic area and preferred field of legal practice.
The firm is a sponsor of the Hispanic National Bar’s PODER25, the first General Counsel pipeline program that specifically supports Hispanic attorneys and hosts bootcamp programs and knowledge-sharing sessions that provide participating lawyers with key skill building that helps to propel and ready participants for General Council roles in Fortune 500 companies.
Legal Mentor Group
The firm’s Diversity and Inclusion and Pro Bono teams collaborate to identify signature projects that pursue justice in our communities and around the world by advancing gender and racial equality, advocating for children, and combating hunger. To learn more about these efforts, please visit the firm’s Pro Bono page.
As part of centralized procurement, we consistently track the firm's engagement with certified women-owned and minority-owned businesses. The goal is to diversify our supplier network and increase spend with these businesses over time. As we work toward identifying specific benchmarks, we strongly encourage our attorneys and operations teams to consider and recommend women-owned and minority owned-businesses as opportunities arise. This initiative reinforces our commitment to our clients, our communities, and our people.
DLA Piper joined the Alliance for Asian American Justice to lead and fund a unique social justice initiative, spearheaded by our Asian American Pacific Islander resource group leaders. The alliance supports Asian American communities by providing pro bono legal services aimed at holding the perpetrators of anti-Asian hate crimes and harassment accountable. As part of centralized procurement, we consistently track the firm's engagement with certified women-owned and minority-owned businesses. The goal is to diversify our supplier network and increase spend with these businesses over time. As we work toward identifying specific benchmarks, we strongly encourage our attorneys and operations teams to consider and recommend women-owned and minority owned-businesses as opportunities arise. This initiative is important to us and reinforces our commitment to our clients, our communities, and our people.
The firm’s Diversity and Inclusion and Pro Bono teams, collaborate to identify signature projects that pursue justice in our communities and around the world by advancing gender and racial equity, advocating for children, and combating hunger. To learn more about these efforts, please visit the firm’s Pro Bono page.