In 1992, Weil, Gotshal & Manges was the first firm in New York City to institute a firm wide diversity training program and a formal diversity policy. Diversity training is a fundamental component of the Weil diversity initiative. This training represents the opportunity for our organization to continue to inform and to educate our personnel about diversity. The purpose of training is not only to increase awareness and understanding of workplace diversity, but also to develop concrete skills among our personnel that will facilitate enhanced productivity of, and communications among, all our employees.
US and UK Diversity Training: The Firm's Global Diversity Director and the Diversity Committee spearheaded the Firm's 2003-04 Cultural and Diversity Initiative. This initiative began in our U.S. and London offices, culminating in Spring 2004 with the completion of Culture & Diversity Training for nearly 1,000 attorneys and over 1,200 staff.
To date, we have conducted nearly 160 training classes in our US and London offices. Substantially all of partners firm-wide have participated in a 7-hour training session, and nearly 100 percent of our associates and staff have participated in either a 4 or 7-hour session, depending on seniority. Well over 2,200 employees have participated in this training program, and we committed more than 5,100 hours of attorney time to date.
Continental Europe Training: In the fall of 2005, Weil commenced a culture and diversity assessment for the Continental Europe offices. These offices include: Budapest, Frankfurt, Munich, Paris, Prague and Warsaw. Based on the findings of the survey, interviews, and focus groups, we designed a training initiative for partners, associates, and staff. Pilot training programs were conducted in Warsaw and Frankfurt in Spring 2007. The full roll-out will be completed in Fall 2007.
Continuing Diversity Education: In addition to our standard diversity training program, we also have in place a Continuing Diversity Education Program. For example, in February 2005, partners and counsel from the New York and Washington offices participated in a Diversity Panel luncheon hosted by the Firm, which showcased the efforts of several of our clients with respect to the hiring, retention and promotion of under-represented groups, and provided an opportunity for those clients to express their expectations regarding diversity and inclusion within the law firms that represent them. The program consisted of short presentations by our panelists representatives of Credit Suisse First Boston, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Lehman Brothers and Reuters - followed by a series of questions posed the a moderator, PCC chair partner Andrea Bernstein, and a question and answer session.
The Diversity Panel was significant for several reasons. First, the lessons about the value of diversity and the best practices for promoting diversity were deftly imparted to our audience. Second, there was a lively discussion of these issues, and their growing importance to clients. Last but not least, our sponsorship of this event sent a powerful message about the firm's commitment to diversity, not only to Weil lawyers, but also clients, the press and the law school community who were invited to the event.
Further demonstrating our commitment to keeping our lawyers current in their understanding of diversity issues in the workplace, we engaged Stephen Young, the founder of Insight Education Systems, to present on microinequities in the workplace, how to avoid them, and how to use "microadvantages" to spark creativity, leadership and excellent performance. Mr. Young addressed partners, associates and senior staff in conjunction with the Firm's annual December Partner Weekend in New York.