I, Allen Robertson, personally commit to the following:
- I will share and promote the vision of an inclusive work environment in which people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, personal characteristics, outlooks and interests can share a commitment to our core ideals of professionalism, excellence and teamwork and reach their fullest professional potential in a mutually supportive environment.
- I will communicate regularly with the entire firm (all lawyers and professional staff) about the firm’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in our workplace, emphasizing how this commitment is consistent with the firm’s core ideals and objectives, and I will ensure the firm receives regular updates on our DE&I programming and initiatives.
- I will regularly discuss the importance of our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts with the firm’s shareholders and leadership, emphasizing with shareholders the need to develop, mentor and sponsor diverse lawyers and to provide them with access to the complex work, client contact, and feedback they will need to strengthen their skills and prepare them for leadership roles within the firm.
- I will regularly discuss, and establish expectations that our professional staff leadership will similarly discuss, the importance of our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts with our professional staff, and support actions to attract, develop, retain and promote diverse professional staff.
- I will support and personally participate in our internal and community initiatives to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in our firm and the legal community and racial justice in our local communities and our nation.
- I will meet regularly with department leaders to review work allocation and associate development, to ensure that all lawyers, including diverse lawyers, have access to challenging and complex work.
- I will pursue, and encourage other lawyers in the firm to pursue, opportunities to work with firm clients on joint DE&I programming or initiatives.
- I will continue to participate in LCLD annual meetings and programs to learn more about DE&I issues and best practices being employed by law firms and corporate legal departments.
- I will meet annually with the firm’s current and past LCLD Pathfinder and Fellow participants to learn more about their perspectives and LCLD experiences.
- To increase diversity among our associates, we will continue our efforts to attract and hire diverse law school and lateral candidates by:
- Continuing to evaluate where and how we recruit law students, including participation in diversity job fairs, participation in diversity legal organizations, and expansion of our on-campus interview efforts;
- Continuing to (1) participate in programs such as the 1L LCLD Scholars Program and the Charlotte Legal Diversity Clerkship program and (2) offer Robinson Bradshaw Diversity Fellowships to attract and hire diverse first-year law students;
- Continuing to evaluate how we attract and recruit diverse lateral candidates, including utilizing recruiting professionals who specialize in identifying diverse candidates, seeking referrals from other lawyers, and targeting outreach to diverse candidates; and
- Continuing to refine the use of our core competency model and structured interviewing techniques to eliminate to the greatest extent possible any unconscious bias (such as affinity bias) in recruiting.
- To increase diversity among our shareholders, we will continue our efforts to develop, retain and promote our diverse associates by:
- Focusing on associate work allocation and professional development to ensure our associates have equal opportunities to participate in a wide range of satisfying work assignments, training opportunities, business development, and other firm activities that can maximize their professional development;
- Continuing to improve the review process for associates, including use of our core competency model in reviewing and providing feedback to associates to assist in eliminating unconscious bias, providing training to supervising lawyers on effective feedback, and encouraging delivery of real-time feedback between formal semiannual reviews; and
- Continuing to improve our formal associate mentoring program and encouraging informal mentoring and sponsorship of diverse associates.
- To increase diversity among the firm’s leadership, we will annually review all leadership appointments and make appointments based upon a wide range of considerations including having a diversity of backgrounds, experiences and personal characteristics among firm leaders.
- While our professional staff is more diverse than our lawyer group, we also will focus on strategies to attract, develop, retain and promote a diverse group of professional staff members and leaders.
- We will continue to provide board-level oversight and direction to the firm’s diversity, equity and inclusion goals and initiatives; support our DE&I Committee and internal affinity groups; communicate to the firm about those goals and initiatives; and provide financial and staffing resources to support the firm’s goals and initiatives.
- We will continue to provide training to, and opportunities for discussion among, our lawyers and professional staff about diversity, equity and inclusion, including (1) follow-up programming about unconscious bias and microinequities, (2) developing and implementing recommendations from the initial participants in Equity Impact Circles facilitated by the Charlotte Community Building Initiative, and (3) having more lawyers and professional staff participate in Equity Impact Circles.
- We will prioritize and implement recommendations from our outside DE&I consultants regarding specific DE&I strategies and engage consultants for additional reviews over time.
- We will complete the 2021-22 Mansfield Rule certification process, become Mansfield certified, and maintain Mansfield Rule certification.
- We will continue to implement recommendations from our 2020 Racial Justice Taskforce (1) to heighten awareness within the firm of the need for racial justice and the importance of fostering diversity, equity and inclusion in the firm and the legal profession, and (2) to promote racial justice in our local communities and our nation, including:
- Undertaking pro bono litigation efforts aimed at effecting racial justice and equity on a systemic level, while remaining committed to providing traditional pro bono services through our partnerships with legal services organizations; and
- Together with other firms, continue to develop and support the Charlotte Legal Initiative to Mobilize Businesses (CLIMB), which provides free legal services to local low-income entrepreneurs and small businesses whose success is essential to increasing economic opportunities in historically under-resourced communities of Charlotte.
- We will undertake a review of current firm vendors with a focus on increasing opportunities to utilize historically under-represented businesses.
- In addition to other DE&I initiatives, we will update our statistics regarding the racial and ethnic identity, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability status of our associates, shareholders and professional staff members as of January 1st of each year. The firm’s board of directors, recruiting committee, DE&I committee and professional staff leadership (Chief Operating Officer and Director of Human Resources) will review this annual information to assess the firm’s progress toward improved diversity and to develop additional strategies to attract, retain, develop, and promote a diverse group of lawyers and professional staff.