Arnold & Porter LLP

Arnold & Porter LLP

2008 Sager Award Winner

Mid-Atlantic Region

Richard Alexander
Managing Partner

Arnold & Porter LLP’s stance on diversity is evidenced by its longstanding programs to promote and reaffirm diversity. Although the firm recognizes that maintaining policies and programs that promote diversity is important, the metrics used by Arnold & Porter illustrate that diversity is a core value at the firm.

Arnold & Porter’s numbers provide a good indicator for measuring the effectiveness of its diversity effort. Between 2006 and 2007, the firm experienced a major increase in the number of minority attorneys at all levels. The percentage of minority partners increased from 7% to 10%, while the percentage of new lateral partners increased from 25% to 42%. Minority associates and staff attorneys increased from 21% to 26%. Minority new hires increased from 26% to 33%. The percentage of minority women attorneys increased from 12% to 15%.

Women represent a sizeable portion of the firm’s attorneys. Overall, 36% of Arnold & Porter attorneys are women, including 45% of associates and 17% of all partners. Furthermore, minorities make up 49% of the non-legal staff, and women make up 72% of this segment of the firm’s employees.

Arnold & Porter mandates a diversity training program for all employees. In addition, the firm organized a group, called Minorities at Arnold & Porter (MAP), that assists the hiring committee in recruiting candidates of color. African American attorneys participate in the “DC Roadshow” during the fall recruitment season in order to attract African American law students to work and live in the Washington, DC area. Each year MAP hosts a retreat for minority attorneys at Arnold & Porter to discuss minority recruitment, development, advancement, and retention efforts.

(L to R): Veta Richardson of MCCA, Richard Alexander, Managing Partner, Arnold & Porter, and Gary Kennedy, Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer, American Airlines

Each fall, the firm holds an event in its Washington office for all minority law students who have received summer associate or associate offers. These events feature panel discussions and networking functions to provide the students with a chance to meet with minority attorneys in the firm during the decision-making process.

Many of the firm’s diversity initiatives are not a result of management efforts, but come from the efforts of the firm’s attorneys and staff. “For example, affinity groups have been established at a grass roots level to address the interests and needs of our diverse community,” explains Richard M. Alexander, Arnold & Porter’s managing partner.

The recruitment effort extends to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community members through outreach to LGBT organizations at law schools where the firm recruits. The firm has supported the annual Lavender Law Recruitment Fair, hosted by the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association, for the past decade.

Alexander asserts that “the challenges law firms face in the area of diversity are evolving, and our diversity efforts must keep pace with that change. It is especially important that we pay special attention to retention and promotion.” DB

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

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