Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Santa Clara, CA)

Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Santa Clara, CA)

2004 Employer of Choice Award Winner

Western Region

Michael Dillon
Michael Dillon
General Counsel

Sun Microsystems, Inc., is a leading provider of industrial strength hardware, software, and services that make the internet work. Sun values a diverse team, recognizing that diversity brings a collection of perspectives that strengthens the company's ability to come up with the best solutions.

Led by Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary Michael Dillon, the legal department at Sun is in sync with the company's commitment to diversity. In the 170-attorney department, 31 percent are members of a minority group, and 50 percent are women.

The Sun Microsystems legal department acknowledges that in order to create and maintain a world-class unit, it must attract and retain a diverse workforce. To this end, the department created a diversity council whose mission is to cultivate and promote diversity. This diversity council is also responsible for creating, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating diversity processes and programs. Their goals include active recruitment of diverse representation; retention and job satisfaction of diverse professionals; career and professional development of diverse personnel; and compliance by outside counsel with its diversity objectives.

Through furthering these objectives, the diversity council reflects the department's goal to promote the development of an all-inclusive workplace environment. Such an environment recognizes and respects the uniqueness of each person; actively promotes practices to increase and support the diversity of all employees in the department; helps in the accomplishment of the legal department's goals; and creates, maintains, and recognizes leadership styles, decisions, and organizational structures that encourage the full participation of people from different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.

Veta Richardson, Brian Martin, Madeleine Kleiner
(L to R): Veta Richardson, MCCA; Brian Martin, Sun Microsystems; and Madeleine Kleiner, Hilton Hotels

The legal department has had numerous successes in promoting diversity within the community. In 2004, it established and funded the Sun Microsystems Minority Scholarship for qualified candidates at Georgetown University, Santa Clara University, and the University of Colorado.

Additionally, attorneys developed a diversity component to the Sun legal mentoring program and established diversity criteria for the hiring and retention of outside counsel. It also successfully completed mandatory global diversity and inclusion training for all of its employees, established criteria for job postings to increase the applicant pool for diverse candidates, and extended its diversity program beyond the U.S. to begin to look at diversity from a global perspective.

Sun's commitment to diversity has not gone unrecognized. Its affirmative action and diversity efforts led to its inclusion on Fortune magazine's list of "Top 50 Companies for Asians, Blacks and Hispanics" for two successive years.

From the November/December 2004 issue of Diversity & The Bar®

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