MIAMI – Dec. 6, 2019 – Identifying solutions for increasing retention in the legal profession was the focus at the Seventh Annual Diversity Summit, hosted by global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP and Chambers Diversity. Held Nov. 22 at Greenberg Traurig’s Miami office, the 2019 summit allowed attendees to share strategies, initiatives, and best practices for promoting diversity in the legal profession.
“Much progress has been made within the legal community in terms of diversity and inclusion since we founded this summit with Chambers seven years ago. However, there is room for continued growth,” said Yosbel A. Ibarra, co-managing shareholder of the firm’s Miami office and a member of the Latin America Practice. “Going forward, it is critical that we share best practices so we can take practical steps to help ensure more representation of minorities and women at all levels of the legal profession.”
With more than 100 lawyers from across the U.S. and Latin America in attendance, the 2019 summit provided a forum aimed at helping advance the inclusion of women, LGBT+ and other minority groups in the legal profession. Significant topics discussed included research and statistics on bullying and sexual harassment in the legal profession; challenges that women face in the workplace; initiatives to recruit, retain and promote talent; and understanding multigenerational differences in the workplace.
“At Greenberg Traurig we believe that it is our responsibility to help increase awareness of the importance of advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace,” said Nikki Lewis Simon, shareholder and chief diversity officer for Greenberg Traurig, P.A.
The 2019 Summit commenced with a presentation by Kieran Pender, a representative of the International Bar Association, who discussed the results of the first ever global study of bullying and sexual harassment in the legal profession. The survey of almost 7,000 lawyers found that one in three female lawyers worldwide had been sexually harassed by colleagues. Pender’s survey found that the high rates of sexual harassment and bullying were causing young female lawyers to leave the profession at increasing rates.
“Only half of global law firms have training in place. We need to do more,” Pender said. “We now have data that allows us to engage on these issues and try to come up with solutions.”
Greenberg Traurig Corporate Practice Shareholder Carol Barnhart moderated a panel discussion with Jennifer Mondino, senior counsel with the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund, Judge Yery Marrero from the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, and Ruchi Kaushal, general counsel for Cable & Wireless Communications. Panelists discussed their individual experiences as women in the legal profession, the unconscious bias that many encounter, efforts to facilitate diversity and inclusion within their organizations, and the importance of helping others in the profession.
“You have to be that voice of change and change can go up the ladder so we can have more opportunities,” Judge Marrero said.
A second discussion moderated by Brigid F. Cech Samole, chair of Greenberg Traurig’s Miami Appellate Department and a member of the firm’s national Appellate Practice, focused on the multigenerational differences in today’s workplace with a workforce that includes five generations working together, from baby boomers to millennials. Panel members included Greenberg Traurig Senior Chairman, Cesar Alvarez, representing the baby boomer generation and Ankith Nath, Deloitte’s Millennial Ambassador.
Nath discussed the importance for millennials of obtaining a work-life balance and the ability to utilize technology to allow people more flexibility to work remotely. Alvarez addressed the advantages of working with a multigenerational team that offers diverse perspectives and maintaining open communications in an organization.
“There’s a tremendous value in having transparent relationships with the firm’s leaders because it provides a comfort level to engage with one another,” Alvarez said. “We need a workforce that can work together so we need to make adjustments at all levels to make sure that this happens.”
About Chambers Diversity Seminars: Chambers Diversity seminars were launched in September 2013 based on global research into the advancement of diversity in the legal profession. The seminars examine the extent of diversity and inclusion within a region or practice area, and can encompass all strands of diversity, such as gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability and mental health, age and social mobility, with the aim of creating critical discussion and ultimately, a more equal and inclusive profession.
About Greenberg Traurig, LLP: Greenberg Traurig, LLP (GT) has approximately 2100 attorneys in 41 locations in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. GT has been recognized for its philanthropic giving, diversity, and innovation, and is consistently among the largest firms in the U.S. on the Law360 400 and among the Top 20 on the Am Law Global 100. Web: www.gtlaw.com Twitter: @GT_Law.