Faegre Baker Daniels
A Culture of Diversity
Faegre & Benson defines diversity broadly to include all the different life experiences that we find in our workforce and among our clients and communities: age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, economic background and many other characteristics.
We are committed to increasing the diversity of our workforce and to providing an inclusive environment where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed. We place a particular focus on increasing our representation of women, people of different races and ethnicity, and gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender (GLBT) individuals. We aim to recruit and retain a diverse team of lawyers and staff, and to advance their careers and fulfill their leadership potential.
We strive to incorporate diversity efforts into the daily practice of our firm. Our diversity committee sponsors firmwide diversity programs and works to ensure that our policies, events and business models reflect our values and commitment.
Results, Not Just Good Intentions
While we believe we have come a long way in creating a culture of diversity, we know that there is much work to be done not only in building a diverse workforce, but also in helping diverse individuals achieve their potential within the firm. We measure success by charting our internal demographics, benchmarking our own demographics in relation to those of our communities and our competitors and—most importantly—assessing long-term retention and advancement among our lawyer and staff populations.
We recognize that nurturing a culture of diversity in our firm is more than policy statements and written goals. It requires continuous effort, focus and action to build awareness of the value of diversity for our firm and its clients. We build awareness through diversity-related programming throughout the year.
Each year, we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by inviting noteworthy speakers to focus on his legacy. We have designated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a firm-paid holiday and were among the first law firms in our market to do so.
Our internal programming includes an annual firm-wide diversity presentation. In 2004, a panel discussed the lasting impact and future of school desegregation commemorating the 50th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. In 2005, the theme was "Future Vision: Diversity 2020" and a panel of clients and community leaders examined diversity-related trends and strategies for maintaining an inclusive workplace. In 2006, the diversity consultant we hired to conduct a firm-wide diversity assessment presented her findings. The year 2007 marked the 150th anniversary of the Dred Scott decision, and we hosted nationally renowned speaker Professor Paul Finkelman who discussed the ongoing effects and relevancy of the landmark 1857 U.S. Supreme Court decision. In 2008, we hosted Bill Proudman, founder of White Men as Full Diversity Partners® and a nationally recognized diversity consultant. He spoke on the topic "Diversity for White Men and Everyone Else: Exploring Partnerships, Inclusion and Privilege."
Our firm also builds awareness by sponsoring several employee affinity groups, a book club focusing on diversity-related literature, and an annual diversity film festival. We instituted a women's lunch program to encourage senior women attorneys in the firm to network with and mentor younger women attorneys during one-on-one meetings. We host a reception at which our racially and ethnically diverse lawyers have an opportunity to network with diverse clients, corporate counsel, judges and business owners and to form mentoring relationships.
Partnering for Diversity
Building a culture of diversity is not something that any one individual, or any one firm, achieves on its own. That's why we have built collaborative relationships with clients, professional associations and community organizations to focus on diversity issues.
We regularly work on internal and external diversity programs with representatives of our clients, including businesses such as DuPont, General Mills, Cargill, Xcel Energy, Principal Financial, Capital One and others that have been pioneers on the issue of diversity. We routinely participate in conferences sponsored by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA). We sponsor popular annual women's events, which attract hundreds of women leaders in Minnesota and Colorado, and we provide charitable support for nonprofit organizations focused on the needs of women.
We encourage our lawyers to participate in community events and local and national bar associations in all of our offices. Our lawyers are active in the Hispanic Bar Association, the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans, the Federal Bar Association Diversity Committee, the Iowa Asian Alliance, the Lavender Bar Association, the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association, the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, Minnesota Black Women Lawyers Network, the Minnesota State Bar Association Diversity Committee, Minnesota Women Lawyers, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association, the Sam Cary Bar Association, and the United States Law Firm Group Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity. In addition, many of our attorneys are in leadership positions in these organizations.
We are a founding member of Twin Cities Diversity in Practice, a consortium of leading Twin Cities law firms and corporations dedicated to attracting, recruiting, advancing and retaining attorneys of color in the Twin Cities legal community. We are also a founding member of the Colorado Campaign for Inclusive Excellence, an organization with similar goals in the Colorado legal community.
Diversity Recognition and Awards
MultiCultural Law magazine
Top 100 law firms for diversity (2005-2008) and women (2007 and 2008)
Top 25 law firms for Native Americans (2008)
Vault/Minority Corporate Counsel Association
Ranked second nationwide for highest percentage of Women Equity Partners (2007)
Diversity & the Bar magazine
Ranked second, Leading Law Firms for Women Equity Partners (2007)
Human Rights Campaign
Perfect score, Corporate Equality Index (2004-2007)
Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA)
Thomas L. Sager Award, Midwest Region (2004)
Numerous regional and national recognitions for the firm and individual attorneys