By Kathy Bowman-Williams
Day Pitney’s strong reputation for client service and legal representation goes hand in hand with its commitment to diversity and inclusiveness. The firm has been at the forefront of diversity and inclusion within the legal industry for more than a decade. Kathy Bowman-Williams, who was appointed Day Pitney’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion last year, said, “Diversity and inclusion are part of the fabric of who we are. Our practice has a culture of inclusion that gives a voice to everyone.”
As a leader in the firm, Mary Rogers, Chair of Day Pitney’s Labor and Employment group and member of the Executive Committee, believes that providing an environment for diversity to thrive at the partner level makes sense from a business perspective as well. “The more diversity you have weighing in on an issue the better decision. We want to be certain that we have programs in place such as active mentoring to ensure our diverse associates can succeed in the law firm.”
The firm’s diversity initiatives speak to our commitment to hiring, developing and retaining the best and brightest.
Day Pitney Summer Associate and Barbara Rosenthal High School Intern programs create a strong pipeline of diverse talent. Our Summer Associate Program is a way for us to develop budding attorneys as well as create lasting relationships with diverse talent. In addition to the Summer Associate Program, the Barbara Rosenthal High School Intern Program allows us to mentor and develop students earlier in their education. In addition, the firm’s Hiring Committee is highly engaged in developing relationships with law schools and student organizations in our market areas. We have adopted a lateral non-partner hiring practice that ensures we are tapping into a diverse slate of candidates.
Day Pitney Protégé and Attorney Pipeline programs are focused on the development and retention of talented Day Pitney attorneys. The firm launched the Protégé Program two years ago to identify diverse counsel-level attorneys to be sponsored for successful promotion to partner. Through the Protégé Program, we have promoted four diverse counsel to partner. In second quarter 2017, the firm launched the Day Pitney Attorney Pipeline Program. This program is designed to develop and mentor associates in their third through sixth years to prepare them for the next level of opportunity within the firm. Rogers said she actively mentors associates and new attorneys in the group in order to improve diverse representation at the partner level, “primarily because as a firm we owe it to our attorneys and to our clients,” Rogers said. “A diverse team is a better team.”
Day Pitney Alliance, Day Pitney Attorneys of Color (DPAC) and Women Working Together (WWT®) encourage employee engagement. These three firm attorney/employee affinity groups provide development, networking and community engagement opportunities to their members. Bowman-Williams said, “Our partners serve in a leadership capacity in each of the employee resource groups and are the voice of their membership.”
Brand and reputation. As a firm, Day Pitney has traditionally collaborated with affinity bar associations and other groups in our market areas through event sponsorships. We seek out opportunities to collaborate on a myriad of initiatives with like-minded organizations, from conducting diversity best-practices sessions to volunteering and taking leadership positions. We are a firm that gives back to the communities we serve. Our offices are engaged in local initiatives, from participating in reading programs for elementary school children in Hartford, CT to mentoring in inner-city high schools in Newark, NJ. Day Pitney remains committed to advancing diversity in the firm and the legal industry. We believe that investing in our workforce and the community not only positions us as a leader in diversity and inclusion, but also enables us to set the pace for advancement. With its professional development and mentoring programs in place, Day Pitney is well-positioned to take its diversity initiatives to the next level.