Conner & Winters is deeply committed to developing an inclusive workplace and enhancing diversity throughout the firm as well as within the communities in which we have offices. We have an active Diversity Committee, made up of partners, associates, paralegals and staff from five of our offices. The Diversity Committee takes the lead in establishing diversity goals and in planning and coordinating diversity-related activities. In collaboration with the firm’s Recruiting Committee, the Diversity Committee assists in expanding opportunities to recruit minority candidates, both directly out of law school and also through lateral hiring.
The Diversity Committee also seeks to identify sponsorship opportunities of groups and activities which help to foster diversity in the legal workplace as well as in the broader community. For example, Conner & Winters is collaborating with other Tulsa law firms and Tulsa Public Schools in reaching out into local high schools to present programs regarding the law and the legal profession. The goal of this “pipeline building” project is to increase the number of minority students in the Tulsa community who become lawyers or otherwise work in a law-related job. The firm also collaborates with The University of Tulsa College of Law each year in its sponsorship of Minority Law Awareness Day. The final event of the day, which includes local high school and college students, is a reception and Q&A session for the students with attorneys at the firm at Conner & Winters’s office. For many of the students, this is the first time they have been inside a law firm or had the opportunity to ask lawyers about the profession. For the firm, these projects are an opportunity to develop relationships with minority students interested in the legal profession and to alert students, their school career counselors and the community generally of Conner & Winters’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.
Another example of the firm’s diversity commitment at the community level is exemplified by partner Jim Green’s development, in collaboration with a Tulsa County District Court judge, of a PowerPoint presentation graphically recounting the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. Jim has given the presentation in schools throughout Tulsa to help students understand the devastating impact of racism on a community.
Another partner, Steve Ward, is active in a number of organizations and activities sponsored by and for Native Americans in Oklahoma. For example, Steve is a participant in the “Supreme Court Project” of the National Congress of American Indians. The NCAI is the largest and oldest association of tribal governments in the nation. The Supreme Court Project coordinates and assists tribes with the development and presentation of Indian law issues to the United States Supreme Court and the federal circuits. Steve also provides pro bono legal representation of the Thunder Road Theater Company (formerly the Tulsa Indian Actors Workshop), a Native American-owned and operated theater company based in Tulsa.
At Conner & Winters, we understand that our differences make us unique and that they help form a work environment based on independent thought and creativity. We believe that outstanding lawyers are not determined by sex, race, gender or religion. Our attorneys and staff use their varied talents and backgrounds as unique assets in providing clients the best in legal services. By continuing to recruit, retain, develop and promote a diverse group of lawyers and staff, we serve the interests of our clients, our firm and our communities.