Plan for a Great Change in Columbus
"The changes we are making in our firms to recruit, retain and promote minority talent make the entire organization smarter and healthier - a better place to work for all attorneys."
--Columbus Managing Partners' Diversity Initiative
The Managing Partner's Diversity Initiative is based on a detailed five-year plan. When participating organizations sign the plan, they commit to taking specific action steps to improve and report on diversity in their group.
The first five-year plan, from 2001-2006, was especially successful helping firms improve recruitment of minority attorneys. For example, recruitment action steps included: review hiring criteria to ensure it does not disproportionately screen out minority candidates; actively recruit at law schools with significant numbers of minority law students; monitor the number of minority candidates interviewed.
The second five-year plan, from 2006-2011, built on the experience of the first five years. It identified four focus areas: retention, recruitment, law firm culture, and infrastructure for inclusion and incorporated a comprehensive menu of best practices addressing each of those focus areas. Firms also agree to donate program fees, and they contributed $85,000 earmarked for the focus areas.
The third five-year plan, from 2011 - 2016 identified retention as the primary objective in order to maintain the progress gained through practices implemented the first ten years. Retaining talent is a function of understanding the drivers of attrition and the reasons for "regretted-losses" (voluntary departures of attorneys the firm would have liked to retain) and then creating strategies to eliminate them. A study commissioned in 2011 interviewed Columbus attorneys of color departed from law firms and identified mentoring, firm culture and insensitivity as areas to target.