Abbott, Simses & Kuchler

Abbott, Simses & Kuchler

2008 Sager Award Winner

South/Southwest Region

Larry Abbott
Managing Director

Some firms have one particular diversity practice that makes them unique. Abbott, Simses, & Kuchler takes the best policies and implements all of them.

The firm ensures that all employees are aware of and sensitive to the wide-ranging cultural heritages of their diverse staff. It applies firm-wide policies that address sexual harassment and diversity issues, including part-time and flex-time schedules.

In addition, the firm hosts formal diversity training programs, sponsors minority career fairs, supports the individual growth and career development of women and minority attorneys by encouraging and funding attendance at local and national bar association events, and promotes client development opportunities whenever possible.

Reflecting its belief that diversity in the legal profession starts at the pipeline level, it sponsors programs that will help increase diversity in the legal profession. The firm supports an annual scholarship for a minority law student to attend Loyola Law School in New Orleans. The firm also regularly recruits at diversity job fairs and historically black colleges.

The firm leverages its diversity practices to attract talent that other firms may ignore. According to Larry Abbott, the firm’s managing director, “[t]here are four law schools in Louisiana that we recruit from: Tulane, LSU, Loyola, and Southern. We conduct on-campus interviews, but we also hire laterally. For example, we just hired a four-year veteran as a part-time attorney. She is pregnant, but there is no penalty at our firm for working on a part-time basis. She knew that before joining us.”

(L to R): Bill Lowery of Shell Oil Company, Larry Abbott of Abbott, Simses & Kuchler, and Veta Richardson of MCCA

The firm is actively involved in and committed to the principles of the DuPont Women Lawyers’ Network (DWLN). The DWLN was founded to positively impact the business of DuPont by promoting legal excellence through the success, development, and professional advancement of women lawyers. “In fact, starting January 1, 2009, one of the four new managing attorneys is a part-time woman,” Abbott says.

The firm’s demographic profile consists of 48% female attorneys, 29% minority attorneys, 40% female equity shareholders, and 10% minority equity shareholders. In addition, minority associates continue to outpace the firm’s overall growth rate.

The firm’s commitment to a diverse workforce enables it to deliver superior customer service to its clients. “We try to reflect the world we see every day. When you are in a courtroom, you can’t help but be aware of your surroundings. Not everyone in the room is a white male. It is imperative that we are as diverse as the jurors before whom we try our cases,” Abbott asserts.

The firm is already making a name for itself when it comes to diversity. “The Sager Award gives our firm national credibility. It legitimizes what we do every day,” Abbott concludes. DB

From the November/December 2008 issue of Diversity & The Bar®

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