Like many law firms, Warner established a DEI Action Committee (DEIAC) that created the processes, strategies and opportunities for our DEI efforts. But we didn’t stop there. Our DEIAC focuses on Warner’s “one firm” approach that embraces everyone in the firm. We celebrate differences with the same energy with which we honor our commonalities. When all personnel feel safe being their authentic selves in our workplace and all barriers to opportunity are eliminated, it’s a better partnership for all of us.
Accountability Up and Down the Law Firm – We Don’t Hide the Numbers
Our DEIAC is driven by action, implementing the firm’s specific goals to create sustainable systems and processes that promote diversity, equity, inclusion and access to opportunity. Here are a few recent results of that action:
- Warner established broader targets than the legal industry standard identified in the Mansfield Rule. Our current policy states that at least 30% of candidates for every firm position must be from groups that are currently underrepresented within the firm in general or the position itself.
- In 2022, we hired six new lateral attorneys, five of which were from underrepresented groups (83%). We also hired eight entry-level attorneys, four (50%) were from underrepresented groups and two (20%) were BIPOC.
- In 2022/23, we hired 11 summer associates for our summer associate program in 2023. Four (35%) were BIPOC.
- Warner sponsored JD Advising’s Law School Scholars Program in 2021 resulting in six law students from underrepresented groups getting access to a law school prep course, tutoring and study sessions and mentorship opportunities.
- Warner hosts quarterly town halls and lunch-and-learn training opportunities to provide a forum within Warner for open dialogue and expanded competency on DEI-related topics. Last year, more than 400 firm members attended programs on topics such as allyship, generational diversity and LGBTQIA+ inclusion.
- Firm members shared aspects of their identity as part of a firm-wide, voluntary census allowing Warner to better benchmark and track our progress towards workplace diversity.
- The DEIAC implemented phase one of its initiative to increase firm spending with diverse suppliers. Phase two, currently underway, targets specific goals related to the firm’s diverse supplier spend.
- Last year, Warner held the 17th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Social Justice Legacy Contest, open to all sixth graders in the Grand Rapids Public Schools. Students submitted entries identifying and reacting to a racial social justice issue that is especially meaningful to them.
- Warner launched Mosaic, our first BIPOC employee resource group, which was built around the following three pillars of inclusion:
- Dialogue and engagement.
- Mentoring and professional development.
- Community outreach.