I, Sandy Thomas, personally commit to the following:
I take the responsibility of leading a diversity-first firm very seriously. As stewards of the law, Reed Smith and our profession have an obligation to lead the charge towards creating and promoting work environments that truly embrace inclusion and are diverse in background, experience, and thought. We must be persistent in continuing to elevate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) as a driving force behind the identity of the firm.
To meet these expectations, I personally pledge to:
- Lead inclusively by continuing to expand cultural competency
- Position Reed Smith as a standard-bearer for DE&I in the legal community - be it outside counsel, in-house, academia, etc. - and invite challenging conversations among organizational leaders with an eye towards promoting change and advancing equity and inclusion.
- Continue to be intentional in ensuring that DE&I is a consideration in every major firm decision, from partner promotions, to the installation of firm leaders, to the allocation of work and business development opportunties, and the implementation or firm-wide initiatives and policies.
- Actively chair our Racial Equity Task Force and champion the execution of our Racial Equity Action Plan.
- Consistent with our Racial Equity Action Plan, engage with client leadership on their DE&I objectives and find synergies between Reed Smth and their organizations to work together on pro bono, community service or internal client initiatives.
- Continue to participate as a mentee in our reverse mentoring program, which aims to educate senior lawyers and firm leaders about the experiences and perspectives of diverse lawyers, and advocate for firm management and partners to enroll, year in, year out.
- Continue to fulfill my obligations as the Senior Management Team sponsor of STAARS, our Black / African-American Business Inclusion Group.
Reed Smith’s commitment to DE&I cuts across each of our firm’s Core Values: integrity, excellence, teamwork and respect, innovation and impact.
As a firm, we pledge to:
- Lead with integrity by ensuring equity is woven into the fabric of our firm - continuously accessing all policies, practices and procedures, both formal and informal, to ensure they are equitable and free of bias.
- Drive innovation by leading with data and utilizing metrics to determine benchmarks and monitor progress, including:
- Meeting and exceeding the goals set forth in our Racial Equity Action Plan, designed to hold the firm accountable for its commitment;
- Utilizing diversity scorecards to measure progress in headcount, promotions and attrition and hold partners and client relationship leaders accountable for developing diverse teams and ensuring their teams success by driving inclusion and championing equity, and partnering with our clients in such efforts;
- Highlighting the firm’s commitment to DE&I by providing billable or staff credit for DEI involvement and considering DE&I engagement during performance evaluations for lawyers and professional staff.
- Working with our Executive Director of Diversity Recruiting to recruit top talent and enhance the inclusivity of our recruiting and hiring practices;
- Ensuring that diverse attorneys, staff have access to resources, professional development opportunities, and networks.
- Promoting attorney and staff engagement with our Business Inclusion Groups to drive inclusion and to ensure that opportunities for networking, leadership development, mentorship and sponsorship are completely transparent;
- Expanding our reverse mentoring program to include a broader range of associates, counsel, partners and professional staff from across the firm’s global network.
- Establishing vital links with clients on DE&I, including collaborative and joint workshops, secondments, client mentorship collaborations, diverse summer and junior associate fellowships and programing, and partnerships on social responsibility and social impact causes such as community service projects or pro bono matters;
- Expanding our Client Inclusion Leader program, designed to ensure that there is diverse representation on matter teams for our key clients. The CIL will have a seat at the table when addressing issues pertaining to visibility, client succession planning, and the credit allocation process;
- Maintaining and growing top leadership commitment to and participation in the LCLD;
- Continuing to use our extensive social media and thought leadership platform to highlight firm and industry progress, and to challenge the profession and our communities to do more.