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Diversity: Fisher & Phillips LLP

 



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Diversity at Fisher & Phillips LLP


Our Firm's commitment to diversity is nearly a half-century old. Our first woman partner was Margie Pitt Hames, hired in 1962. She was soon joined by Dorothy Toth Beasley, now a judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals. In 1973, Ms. Hames and Judge Beasley made legal history by being the first women attorneys to argue both sides of a case in the U.S. Supreme Court. The case was Doe v. Bolton, a companion case to Roe v. Wade. Although both were at different firms at the time, Ike Fisher, one of our founders, referred to the historic argument as one of the proudest moments of his career.

Our goal today is to continue that tradition of inclusion, and expand upon it. We strive to recruit, hire, develop, retain and promote diverse attorneys and staff at all levels.

While this spirit of openness is engrained in our spirits, we have also formalized our efforts. We have established a Diversity Committee, composed of partners, of counsel, and associates from across the country, all of whom represent differences in ethnicity, race, gender, religion, lifestyles, backgrounds, and viewpoints. The Diversity Committee's goals can be summarized in five key initiatives:

  1. On-going firm-wide education on diversity issues and programs;
  2. Lateral recruitment, including a lateral hiring strategy designed to build a "critical mass" of minority and women attorneys across all experience levels of the firm;
  3. Retention and advancement, including the development of a firm-wide mentoring and training program that ensures support and development for all associates;
  4. Community outreach that will increase our support of and connection with women and minority-owned businesses, professional organizations and underprivileged communities; and
  5. Identification and recruitment of top tier minority candidates graduating from law school.
 Recruitment and Retention
 
Although we are proud of the number of women and minority attorneys at our firm, those numbers alone don't tell the whole story. Our emphasis on diversity is reflected in many other ways, including the way we recruit, our training and development programs, our flexible work-life policies, and our participation in activities across the nation.

We actively participate in diversity job fairs, including the Southeastern Minority Job Fair, which has led to our hiring several attorneys of diverse backgrounds. We also participate in the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) job fair, and regularly interview at law schools which boast a large number of minority law students. In addition, our network of recruiters specializes in finding attorneys of color.

Aggressively recruiting qualified women and minority candidates is just a start: we also make every effort to retain them. Our firm-wide mentoring system pairs each associate with a partner-mentor. In addition, each member of the firm's Diversity Committee serves as a liaison to one or more of the firm's offices to provide additional support and resources. The Committee members are also available to help associates with their questions or concerns.

We've developed comprehensive training programs that address not only specialized legal skills in the Labor & Employment law practice, but also general skills such as client communications and marketing – core skills for preparing associates to fulfill roles as partners and leaders.

We're proud that we have a long-standing part-time policy that is tailored to fit the needs of each attorney who requires a reduced schedule. We recognize and appreciate the importance of enabling all attorneys to continue their careers while balancing the demands of professional and family life. Our benefits cover domestic-partner relationships as part of our overall effort to value, respect, and assure equal treatment to all employees regardless of sexual orientation.

We also regularly sponsor and participate in a number of diversity initiatives in our communities and host in-office events for law students and young attorneys from diverse backgrounds. These events are designed to help young attorneys learn how to succeed as associates.

Finally, many of our lawyers are members of, and serve in leadership positions in local and national organizations that help promote diversity in the legal profession, including: the Corporate Counsel Women of Color; the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys; the annual Lavender Law Conference; the National Asian-Pacific American Bar Association; the National Bar Association; and the National Employment Law Council.