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In supporting populations traditionally underrepresented in the legal industry, the following are some of the actions and initiatives we have embraced to foster an inclusive culture in which all people have opportunities to excel and meet their full potential:

Attorneys of Color. Barclay Damon has instituted numerous initiatives over the past decade to increase the number of attorneys and staff of color at all levels of the firm. The firm continues a sustained focus on the recruitment, development, retention, and ascension of diverse talent, including through our Diversity Mentoring Program and a related sponsorship initiative. We use the Mansfield Rule Law Firm Certification Parameters as a rubric to develop our own internal policies, which has helped us formalize a process for hiring, training, supporting, mentoring, and retaining diverse attorneys.

Barclay Damon’s Black Employees Affinity Network (BEAN) serves as a resource open to all Black, African American, and Afro Latino attorneys and staff. Like our LGBTQIA+ Employee Affinity Network, BEAN elevates the voices of employees with shared identities; serves as an idea-generating forum to advance and support an inclusive firm culture; sustains conversations between employees and management on relevant topics; and offers professional and personal development and support.

In terms of hiring, Barclay Damon is shifting toward utilizing psychometric testing as opposed to simply evaluating academic and professional performance. We are expanding the scope of the minority bar associations we partner with as well as the schools we recruit from to include more historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and we have increased our outreach to local high schools for students to participate in our pipeline programs. Our hiring team is regularly trained in industrial and organizational psychology and stays up to date on using specific analytics to evaluate talent and reduce unintentional bias.

LGBTQIA+. We are committed to establishing a workplace culture where individuals of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions feel safe and supported. 

Our LGBTQIA+ Employee Affinity Network is Barclay Damon’s newest employee affinity network and is open to attorneys and staff who identify as LGBTQIA+. The network elevates the voices of employees with shared identities; serves as an idea-generating forum to advance and support an inclusive firm culture; sustains conversations between employees and management on LGBTQIA+-related topics; and offers professional and personal development and support.

Barclay Damon routinely offers all attorneys and staff a variety of internal trainings and hosts lunch ‘n’ learn presentations by community speakers on topics such as “LGBTQ Cultural Competency and Diversity Training on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues,” “Pronouns and People Who Are Trans,” “Understanding LGBTQ+ and Intersex,” “Lived Experiences of Transgender Professionals,” “Guidelines and Protocols for Understanding Transgender Issues in the Workplace,” and “Understanding Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression.” 

The firm employs consultant Dr. Milo Obourn—who identifies as trans and chairs the State University of New York at Brockport’s Department of Women and Gender Studies—for assistance with LGBTQIA+ issues in the workplace. Barclay Damon has also implemented a gender-neutral dress code as well as gender-neutral bathrooms in its offices. Our employee personnel data form was updated to include gender identity, with options to identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, agender, or pansexual. Attorneys and staff have the option to have their pronouns of choice indicated in their email signatures and website bios.

Women’s Forum. Barclay Damon created our Women’s Forum to establish an environment that fosters meaningful interaction and mentoring opportunities for our women attorneys to help them develop successful strategies regarding leadership, client and professional development, marketing, and work-life balance. It is a forum for sharing information, experiences, and problem-solving ideas in an inclusive setting. The Women’s Forum regularly hosts networking events for women clients and community contacts at offices throughout our platform.

Barclay Damon is working to help close the prevalent gender gap in the legal industry. Connie Cahill became the firm’s first woman managing partner on January 1, 2021, and the firm’s Management Committee is currently comprised of approximately 43-percent women—well above the 20- to 25-percent national average, according to the National Association of Women Lawyers’ 2019 Survey on the Promotion and Retention of Women in Law Firms. Approximately 38 percent of the firm’s practice group leaders are women, approximately 31 percent of the firm’s practice area chairs are women, and approximately 33 percent of the firm’s industry team leaders are women.

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