Diversity: Cowles & Thompson A Professional Corporation

 



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            Cowles Thompson A Professional Corporation

Diversity at Cowles & Thompson
A Professional Corporation


Mission Statement

At Cowles & Thompson, the ways we are different from each other are as important as our similarities. By creating and maintaining diversity among our lawyers and staff, we are able to best serve our clients and our community. We recruit, retain and advance talented men and women of all backgrounds; a diverse group of lawyers provides different perspectives, richer thinking, and more creative solutions to the challenges faced by our clients.

History

Since its founding in 1978, Cowles & Thompson has led the way in hiring, training and promoting women and minority attorneys. Women attorneys have held equity shareholder positions in the firm since 1984, and women and minority attorneys have served -- and continue to serve -- in management positions including the firm's Board of Directors, officers, section heads and chairs of firm committees.

In 1994, Cowles & Thompson became one of the first law firms in Dallas to adopt the Statement of Goals of Dallas Law Firms and Corporate Legal Departments for Increasing Minority Hiring, Retention and Promotion as published by the Dallas Bar and several minority bar associations. The Statement includes specific actions to promote minority opportunities in the legal profession.
 
Over the course of its 27-year history the Firm has trained and advanced some of the best women and minority lawyers in the state. A number of these lawyers have gone on to distinguished careers in corporate America or other branches of the law, where they remain our friends and sometimes our clients. We are justifiably proud of our diverse alumni and of our reputation as both a great place to work and build a career and as a supportive training ground for those whose career paths may take them in other directions. 

The Firm's current diversity programs build on our longstanding traditions and record dating back long before diversity in the legal profession gained the mainstream attention it now enjoys.

Attorney Development and Diversity Program

Cowles & Thompson adopted and implemented an Attorney Development and Diversity Program, in order to promote greater diversity in the workforce, provide opportunity for those of diverse racial, gender, and ethnic background, and to foster an environment in which all are inspired to achieve, grow, and advance. The goals of the Program are:

  • Recruiting of minorities and women both at the attorney and staff level;
  • Providing professional support to train, develop, mentor, and promote retention of minorities and women;
  • Developing a diverse supplier base and building relationships with suppliers who reflect the market, clients, and communities we serve; and
  • Providing service to the community.

Diversity Committee

The Firm's Diversity Committee, chaired by Chuck Green, implements and applies the goals of the Attorney Development and Diversity Program. The committee is comprised of minority and non-minority shareholders and associates as well as members of the Recruiting Committee. The mission of this committee is to promote and improve the Firm's efforts to recruit, retain, and advance women and minority attorneys, as well as to promote, both inside and outside the firm, our commitment to diversity. The committee meets monthly and reports directly to the Board of Directors.

Recruiting

Cowles & Thompson continues to seek ways to increase the number of diverse students interested in law school, and to recruit diverse lateral candidates and law students.  The firm has participated in the Sunbelt Minority Recruitment Program, which provides legal employers throughout the United States with an opportunity to interview minority law students from five states and 18 different law schools.  The Firm has also participated in the Dallas Bar Association's Minority Attorney Business Development Initiative Minority Recruiting Project, which assists law firms in the systematic recruitment of top minority students attending select law schools throughout the country.

Minority Bar Associations

Cowles & Thompson also actively supports minority bar associations and encourages our minority and women attorneys to participate in them. Firm attorneys have included members of the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association, Dallas Asian-American Bar Association, J.L. Turner Legal Association, and National Bar Association. Cowles & Thompson sponsors and pays the dues and expenses for our attorneys' participation in these minority organizations and associations.

Diversity in the Community

The Firm has a strong commitment to participating in and financially supporting community activities that benefit minorities and women. Our involvement includes the following:

  • December 11, 2008:  Cowles & Thompson was a Premier Sponsor of the "Hispanic National Bar Association and Dallas Hispanic Bar Association's unveiling of the new 'Journal of Law and Policy' " published by HNBA.  The event was held at the Belo Mansion.
  • November 1, 2008:  Cowles & Thompson was a Corporate Sponsor of the "J.L. Turner Legal Association Foundation's 56th Anniversary Scholarship and Awards Gala."  The event was held at the Westin Hotel Dallas.
  • October 30, 2008:  Cowles & Thompson was a Counselor Sponsor of the "16th Annual Texas Minority Counsel Program" held in Houston, Texas.  The event was held at the Hilton Convention Center Hotel.
  • September 17, 2008:  Cowles & Thompson was a Bronze Sponsor of the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association's 3rd Annual "Lighting the Path to Legal Education Gala Dinner."  The event was held at the Belo Mansion.
  • Pro Bono Activities - Cowles & Thompson's attorneys provide hundreds of hours of pro bono representation to minorities each year through the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Project and Legal Aid of Northwest Texas. Ken Mighell, the firm's pro bono coordinator, was honored by DVAP with a 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award for his pro bono work over the past 25 years.
  • Sarah T. Hughes Diversity Scholarship - For more than fifteen years the firm has been a major contributor to and supporter of the Sarah T. Hughes Diversity Scholarships, which provide qualified minority law students with a full scholarship to SMU's Dedman School of Law.
  • Bar Activities - we have sponsored the Dallas Bar Association's yearly Minority Clerkship Luncheon and we are a major supporter of Bar None, the DBA's annual talent production, which raises funds for the Hughes Scholarships.
  • Summer Intern Program - since 2000, the Firm has participated in the Dallas Independent School District's Summer Intern program. Each summer, C&T hires a high school junior to work at the firm; this program helps the students gain self-esteem, self-confidence, and a sense of pride and professionalism that will carry them into college and beyond.
  • Cowles & Thompson supports (both financially and by allowing attorneys to contribute volunteer time during work hours) community causes specifically targeted to minority and disadvantaged individuals. These causes include Legal Aid of Northwest Texas, J.L. Turner Legal Association Foundation. Adopt-A-Family, Genesis Women's Shelter; Habitat for Humanity; Send-A-Kid-To-Camp, and the Stew Pot.

Employment Opportunities

The Firm provides flexible hours and working arrangements to meet the needs of its women lawyers who face the challenges of maintaining a legal career while raising a family. We offer a variety of tailored employment opportunities to allow women shareholders and associates to work part time, work some days from home via telecommuting, take a hiatus from being a shareholder, or work on a contract basis. Our staff is also provided the opportunity to elect "flex time," allowing them to select the daily working hours to best accommodate their individual situation.

Non-Discrimination Policy

Cowles & Thompson, P.C. provides equal employment and advancement opportunity regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era or special disabled veteran in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

At Cowles & Thompson, we consider our diversity efforts an important component in the level of service we provide to our clients. Promoting diversity among staff, associates and shareholders makes our firm both more collegial and competitive in the marketplace. This diversity is a strength that enhances our ability to meet - and exceed - our clients' expectations.