I, Sharon Barner, personally commit to the following:

Please note: Sharon is no longer General Counsel of Cummins. She has been succeeded by Nicole Lamb-Hale. 

Internal Legal Function

  • I have eight direct reports who are the most senior lawyers in the function and I will ensure that 2 or more of my direct reports are African American and 2 or more are women.
  • I commit that my successor will be diverse and that at least one additional diverse lawyer becomes an Officer at Cummins.
  • Ensure that the U.S. legal function is diverse, throughout all levels, specifically representative of women, African Americans and other POCs.
    • Ensure we begin with a diverse slate for every open position and candidates meet all of the stated qualifications.
    • Ensure the hiring manager and interviewers have a lens for understanding the business need for diverse talent/representation.
    • Ensure that I am actively engaged in the recruiting, retention, development and promotion of all diverse lawyers including a detailed workplan.
  • I will sponsor, mentor, and assist African American and diverse talent to ensure visibility to leaders across the enterprise, development roles (e.g. LCLD, Exec. Coaching, Executive Development programs) and challenging experiences to ensure personal and professional development/growth.
  • I will require lawyers to join external trade associations, affiliates and organizations (e.g. ABA, NBA, AIPLA, IPO, LCLD, ACC) to discuss the importance of racial diversity, Cummins' commitment to racial diversity, and the execution of our diversity strategies.
  • Ensure that all lawyers in the legal function have a workplan that includes diversity engagement, DE&I training (e.g. unconscious bias, courageous conversations about race, why it’s important to understand privilege) and have a safe space to engage in and understand systemic issues related to race and gender.
  • I will ensure that my legal team is equipped to engage in and hold outside law firms accountable to our Performance Scorecard metrics related to staffing matters with racial diversity (in addition to gender diversity and other diversity metrics) that lead matters as well as work significant hours.
  • We will use Cummins legal work to develop and promote talent. Although we do not hire new lawyers we established a summer intern program and a fall extern program to hire diverse talent and to have visibility to talented law students. We have partnered with our law firms so that our legal interns work them on our matters and the law firms thereby have visibility to the talent, we do a rotational program with our law firms and we assist in finding employment. Our interns have a 100% law firm placement rate.

Organizational Commitment

  • I commit to ensuring that the Cummins organization as a whole is aware of the time, talent and commitment of all the lawyers in the legal function to DE&I, especially in creating the right environment for growth/development for African Americans and female lawyers.
  • We have shared our processes and KPIs with other businesses and functions in the organization and have had them adopted.
  • We have become a feeder organization for diverse talent for other parts of the organization.
  • Many of our lawyers are members of or lead the entire Company on DE&I initiatives.
  • Share DE&I processes, metrics, KPIs with other GCs (see below).

External Law Firm Accountability

  • Diversity is a core value at Cummins. I discussed with the CEO and C-Suite Leadership team (and obtained their buy-in) that I would retain law firms and lawyers consistent with this value.
  • I will continue to maintain a Preferred Provider list of 25 law firms. Twelve of the law firms have a relationship partner that is a POC or woman. Each law firm is required to strive to achieve 60-75% of the hours worked on Cummins matters be performed by POCs and women. 85-95% of all legal work flows through Preferred Provider law firms.
  • I will continue to have an “exceptions” process to the Preferred Provider list for African American lawyers/firms, Women law firms, or POC law firms so as to have visibility and access to additional talent.
  • I pledge to continue to have open and transparent conversations with all of my lawyers and law firms, including a meeting with the managing partner about the importance of diversity to Cummins. Accordingly, I will continue to require each law firm to report metrics every 6 mos. We review these metrics (in person) and discuss who worked on our matters, what matters they worked on (for complexity and substance of work performed), how many hours were billed and whether they had visibility to the Cummins internal legal team and/or internal business leaders (we have seen many African American and female associates promoted to partnership while working on our matters).
    • We review staffing of every matter and change staffing where necessary so as to include African American and female lawyers and hold the law firms accountable for ensuring that these lawyers are mentored, trained, supported and acknowledged for the work.
    • We encourage (and sometimes require) law firms to have diverse lawyers make presentations to our teams on CLE’s (or substantive matters) for value added services so that we get visibility to talented diverse lawyers.
    • We engage in DE&I work with our law firms including DE&I training.
  • Law Firms who reach/exceed the metrics are rewarded with more work, law firms who consistently fail to do so may be (and have been) terminated.
  • I commit to talking to 5 additional GCs in 2020 (Cook Medical, Lily, Salesforce and Roche the week of 8/24/20) and 10 in 2021 about the Cummins KPIs and processes for ensuring diverse staffing and holding law firms accountable for diversity.

Make a move,
join the movement.

Draft Your Pledge