The Washington-area creators of the highly successful May 2, 2017 Sustainable Partnerships event (photos above and below) made a splash at the 2017 Annual Meeting, earning rave reviews for their presentation to nearly 300 LCLD Members, led by General Counsel Brian Brooks (above) and Deputy General Counsel and 2012 Fellow Kenny Perry (below) of Fannie Mae.

Shortly thereafter, they followed through by helping to organize a second Sustainable Partnerships event in the Washington area on November 1.

In addition to career insights freely shared by leaders with rising diverse attorneys, these events demonstrate that such regional events can support the building of ongoing relationships and empower the LCLD Network.

The November event is a great example of how collaboration among Fellows and Alumni can produce an extremely valuable full- or half-day program.

The session was held in the Bethesda, Maryland offices of LCLD Member organization Lockheed Martin Corp., in partnership with Fannie Mae and Scripps Networks Interactive. (Fellows from the three companies had also organized the event in May, which was hosted by Fannie Mae.)

"Think about growing this program in other places: Reach out to friends and colleagues in other parts of the country and encourage them to initiate the program in their city."
—Brian Brooks, GC of Fannie Mae

In all, 21 Fellows and Fellows Alumni attended, with four additional Fellows Alumni participating on the panel, "Fellows Helping Fellows." Those panelists were Lorraine Campos, partner with Crowell & Moring; Terry Gonsalves, partner with Steptoe & Johnson; Bonnie Lau, partner with Dentons; and Will Stute, partner with McDermott, Will & Emery. Panel moderator was LCLD Member Les Bookoff, managing partner of Bookoff McAndrews.

A second panel entitled "How I Choose Counsel" included Jason Barnwell of Microsoft; Jill Cummins of Allstate Insurance Co., and Shruti Costales, counsel with HP, Inc. The moderator was Jonathan Griffith, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel with Fannie Mae.

Counsel from two corporate sponsors, BAE and Capital One, attended to learn about becoming involved in the emerging sustainability movement, a sign that the Sustainable Partnerships format is gaining interest and traction with other LCLD members.

At the November meeting, diverse attorney participants were matched with in-house attorneys for an "advising circles" lunch. According to LCLD Program Director Lori Lorenzo, these advisors have volunteered to meet with their partner participants once a month.

Organizers envision a third Sustainable Partnerships meeting in spring 2018 in the Washington area.

An energetic tone was set during the welcome session by Lockheed Martin General Counsel Maryanne Lavan who said that her legal department was "loud" in demanding diverse staffing from their law firms.

"I am being very intentional about collaborating loudly with other GCs to create expectations that firms cannot ignore," said Lavin.

The panels generated an useful checklist of actions that diverse attorneys can take to advance their careers. Among them:

• Build genuine, authentic relationships.
• Get out of the office (network)!
• Invest in others, be a connector of people.
• Have dinner with your contacts.
• Find common ground: the burden is on you.
• Make relationships a priority; be the "driver."
• Think of the "old white guys" in your firm as clients.

Don’t be afraid of "alternative" networking, said one panelist. Not everyone plays golf, but you can build networks on the soccer field or through holiday cards.

"You don’t have an authentic relationship with someone if you haven’t met their family, and been in their home," offered 2011 Fellow Will Stute.

"It's critical to turn conspirators into collaborators," said 2013 Fellow Bonnie Lau. "As you become more successful, people will be threatened by you. You must be aware of this, and, when possible, be proactive in turning these people into allies." 

Added Microsoft’s Jason Barnwell: "The truth is that you will probably never get on the ‘panel’ of approved lawyers by following the proscribed rules. So don’t play by the rules; go after relationships to develop an internal sponsor."

About Sustainable Partnerships

The Sustainable Partnership program will continue the mission of LCLD to promote inclusion, leadership opportunities, and successful, long-term careers for diverse lawyers. The program will focus on law firm LCLD Fellows (Alumni) recently elected to partnership.

When lawyers reach the partnership milestone, they face new challenges. As part of this program, participants will have the opportunity to equip themselves to overcome these challenges. The skills that led to success as an associate are different from those necessary to succeed as a new partner. New minority and women partners sometimes lack the relationships and connections necessary to generate business in their new role. To address these issues, program participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Develop new and deeper relationships with management-level attorneys in corporate law departments
  • Share feedback about their unique experiences and challenges among peers and corporate legal leaders in a trusted, confidential setting
  • Learn new approaches designed to enhance their success as law firm partners
  • Form their own partner network to act as a sounding board for new ideas and challenges

Eligible participants are DC-area LCLD Fellows (Alumni) who have been elected to partnership within the last 4-6 years. 

For questions, please contact Erin Hess, Program Manager at LCLD. 

Leadership. Action. Results.