February 16, 2012
International law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP today announced its selection by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) as the 2012 winner of the Thomas L. Sager Award in the South/Southwest region, recognizing the diversity achievements of its Dallas, Houston and Miami offices. The Sager Award is given annually to a law firm that has demonstrated a sustained commitment to improve the hiring, retention and promotion of minority attorneys.
Weil previously won the Sager Award in the South/Southwest region in 2007. The firm was also recognized as a Southwest regional finalist for the Sager Award in 2011.
Weil has built a strong reputation as a firm in the vanguard of diversity practices. In 1984, Weil became the first major New York-based law firm to institute a firmwide diversity training program and a formal diversity policy. In 2000, Weil became one of the first law firms to create a management position dedicated to fostering an inclusive environment for lawyers and staff.
Weil’s pioneering commitment to diversity has earned it worldwide recognition from diverse groups and publications, such as The Vault Guide, MultiCultural Law Magazine, Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Survey, the UK-based Black Solicitors Network, Texas Lawyer and the Anti-Defamation League. Additionally, for the last five years, Weil’s Dallas office has been ranked first for diversity among major Dallas-area law firms by the Dallas Diversity Task Force, and the Houston office has topped both rankings issued by the Houston Multi-Bar Diversity Committee.
“We are honored to be recognized for our continued focus on diversity, tolerance and inclusion and our success to date in making this effort a core part of our firm DNA,” said Barry M. Wolf, Weil’s Executive Partner. “While we recognize there is still more work to be done, we salute our attorneys and staff for their embrace of diversity as a primary goal. As a law firm, we recognize that this is not only the right thing to do, but also that having a diverse workplace ensures that we evaluate our clients’ issues from a variety of viewpoints to deliver well-considered counsel.”
In selecting Weil for recognition, the MCCA took particular note of the firm’s strong achievements in diversity hiring and retention. In Weil’s Dallas, Houston and Miami offices combined, as of December 31, 2010, 26 percent of the attorneys were minorities and 42 percent were women. Among those offices’ associates, the percentages were even more impressive, with 27 percent minorities and 44 percent women. Among partners, the percentages were 19 percent for minorities and 34 percent for women, which ranks Weil among the leaders in the legal industry.
The firm has also made notable efforts to build a partnership that reflects its growing and diverse employee base. During the past five years alone, 49 percent of newly elevated US partners at Weil have been women. In the Miami, Houston and Dallas offices, six of the seven new partners are women, and three are women of color. Of the new counsel in these offices, six of eight are women, and two are women of color. In addition, of the two Management Committee members resident in these offices, one is a Latina and serves as co-head of the firm’s Complex Commercial Litigation Practice group, the firm’s largest Litigation group with 170 attorneys in seven U.S. offices.
In addition to statistical data, the MCCA examined the following factors in selecting the Sager Award winner: recruitment, retention, mentoring, promotion, pipeline initiatives, LGBT initiatives, women initiatives, work-life balance, collaborative efforts with community and bar associations, and innovative practices that result in sustainable efforts to increase diversity.
For purposes of the Sager Award competition, the South/Southwest region includes Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. This year’s award presentation took place during the MCCA’s Southwest Regional Networking Forum, held on February 15 in Houston.
The MCCA was founded in 1997 to advance the hiring, retention, and promotion of diverse attorneys in legal departments and the law firms that serve them. The organization accomplishes its mission through the collection and dissemination of information about diversity in the legal profession.