Chief Executive Officer — Dentons US LLP
I, Sonia Martin, personally commit to the following:
- Continue to deploy my leadership to advocate for systemic change to address diversity, equity and inclusion impediments within Dentons and the legal profession, and to speak out against racial and gender injustice and discrimination in society at large.
- Advocate for the diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives of the Firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, WomenLEAD Committee, and Affinity Groups by advancing their recommendations with Leadership, the Board, partner leaders, and Firm personnel.
- Support and participate in inclusive leadership programs, such as “A Fresh Start”, the Ally Pods, and other initiative designed to make ours a more inclusive and equitable environment.
- Commit to leverage the Firm’s reach, resources and talents to assertively and intentionally undertake antiracism and the work of the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance.
- Encourage the expansion and continued institutionalization of our EMERGE, Preparing for Rain and Executive Mentoring programs, and personally sponsor one diverse lawyer in those and similar programs.
- Host Lunches with Leaders that bring members of the US Board and/or the US Managing Partner together with diverse partners, lawyers and professionals in each office for candid small group discussions, including Dentons’ LCLD Fellows, Pathfinders and Alumni. Secure feedback from participants on areas for improvement and further progress. Convert the feedback into one actionable area of change.
- Speak with at least two clients each quarter to explore opportunities to collaborate and improve the diversity and inclusiveness of our profession, work to increase the number of client diversity, equity and inclusion partnerships, such as 1L programs, and explore potential client secondments.
- Commit as a founding law firm member of the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance to leverage the Firm’s reach, resources and talents to assertively and intentionally undertake the work of antiracism.
- Provide a mentor for each Black, Native American and LBGTQ+ associate and counsel, and look to expand our mentoring program to other diverse senior managing associates and counsel by 2022.
- Appoint one or more Practice Group Diversity Partner (PGDP) to each practice, who will be integral in our efforts to recruit, integrate into client work, retain and develop diverse talent. Role of PGDP to include advocating for and mentoring diverse lawyers in the group, and working with the Practice Group Leader to:
- Monitor the transition of client responsibilities to ensure equity for our diverse lawyers in the succession planning and transition of lead client relationship responsibilities
- Ensure diverse lawyers equal access to work and client development opportunities through deploying a consistent process for work allocation and assignments
- Staff client teams, RFPs and formal pitches so that at least 30% of lawyers participating are diverse (as part of our commitment to the Mansfield Rule)
- Create client work opportunities for diverse partners and lawyers who participate in formal pitch meetings with resulting work
- Mandate ongoing and formal training to mitigate bias and increase cultural competency.
- Request that partners add diversity, equity and inclusion to the meeting agenda for client relationship review meetings and explore client interest in collaborating on diversity and inclusion projects. Require annual review of diversity and inclusion metrics by each Practice Group.
- Advance enhancements to the partner compensation and review process to accelerate incorporating expectations and emphasis on actions that demonstrate personal commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion, client matter staffing, and opportunities for diverse lawyer professional engagement.
- Create meaningful client relationships that are rooted in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion with clients, including collaborative events, secondments, and partnership on social responsibility and social impact causes such as community service and pro bono projects.
- Focus on increasing diversity at the senior levels of our professional staff through development, promotion and hiring, and invite business services colleagues to join the Firm’s existing affinity groups.
- Ensure that diversity and inclusion issues are addressed on at least a quarterly basis during US Board meetings.
- Execute on actions toward securing the percentage goals set forth in the Board adopted Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan.
- Increase percentage of women and diverse laterals hired above or at the 2021 firm-wide and industry levels.
- Increase percentage of women and diverse law students invited to participate in our summer programs.