Affinity Groups (video) – Legal Department Performance
United States: Affinity groups (video)
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Yvette McGee Brown, Kapri Saunders and Daniella Vespoli discuss Jones Day’s diversity initiatives and affinity groups, which focus on recruitment, retention, career development and help female lawyers, black and LGBTQ + women move forward professionally.
Read the full transcript below:
Yvette McGee Brown:
Jones Day’s diversity initiatives are local and global. Thus, in each of the offices, we have a Diversity Committee. We have a Women’s Affinity Committee. In some offices we have a Black Lawyers Group, and in some offices we also have an LGBTQ + committee. Firm-wide, we have all of these committees that meet quarterly by conference call, and then a firm-wide diversity committee. The goal of the Diversity Committee is really to define strategies for recruiting, retaining and advancing diverse lawyers at Jones Day.
There are several affinity groups at Jones Day which is great, but the Cleveland Women’s Group was my first introduction. The women there were very supportive, whether it was career development, business development, or just general legal skills, it was a very supportive group to be a part of. I continued to be part of the Women’s Group here in San Francisco, which was also an equally great experience. I’m also part of the Black Lawyers Affinity Group here. In addition to connecting the black attorneys at the firm, it also provides mentoring and skills or other considerations that you consider as a black attorney at Jones Day.
Jones Day has always been committed to diversity in the development and advancement of all of its lawyers, including LGBT lawyers like me. The Affinity Group was founded with the aim of further formalizing what is already happening, namely the firm that supports individual lawyers in individual offices with different LGBTQ + initiatives.
Yvette McGee Brown:
What we want to do is live a business all over the world. And so what I say to all of our lawyers is, “You have a community across the firm. So by connecting them to quarterly conference calls, lawyers have the opportunity to discuss common interests with each other, whether it’s supporting a specific pro bono cause, as our LGBTQ + lawyers have done. Whether it’s a call to action around the Clemency Project, in which many of our black lawyers wanted to get involved. It’s really about creating opportunities for connection and affinity, because people stay where they feel they belong.
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