We are committed at Shook, Hardy & Bacon to an inclusive workplace where everyone is respected, rewarded, equipped and invested in because of their differences. We embrace diversity and believe that genuine inclusion creates an environment where everyone can belong and thrive.

Shook's Diversity & Inclusion Mission:

  • To create a culture where our behaviors and processes align with our values, purpose and vision
  • To cultivate inclusive behavior where everyone is respected, rewarded, equipped and invested in because of their differences
  • To eliminate silos and integrate diversity and inclusion into the business and practice of law
  • To promote a culture where people can belong, rather than have to fit in
  • To create an inclusive environment where diversity is represented at all levels

Shook works with clients to make significant progress in the recruitment and advancement of attorneys from diverse backgrounds. The firm is actively involved with the Minority Corporate Counsel Association and is a supporter of “A Call to Action: Diversity in the Legal Profession." Shook is also a member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity and the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession, national organizations dedicated to improving diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace - We celebrate diversity with a focus on making diversity and inclusion a firm-wide and experiential effort. Our “It’s All About Inclusion” campaign emphasizes inclusion as a core competency and instills understanding of how diversity and inclusion relate to engagement, productivity, results, and the bottom line. We launch activities that facilitate conversations and individual engagement, focus on educating and equipping everyone to model inclusive leadership, and educate our attorneys and professional staff on what inclusion looks like in action. We present the Shook Mosaic Award to individuals who demonstrate a commitment to recruiting, retaining and promoting attorneys of diverse backgrounds at Shook and in the legal profession as a whole.

LGBTQ Initiatives - Shook supports pipeline and education programs, partners with other firms, collaborates with clients, provides grants and scholarships to law schools around the country, and acts as a national diversity and inclusion resource for law firms and corporations to increase diversity and inclusion in the legal profession as a whole.

Diversity Job Fair Recruiting - Shook recruits at such events across the nation, including the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association Heartland Diversity Job Fair, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Annual Conference, National Bar Association Career Fair, National LGBT Bar Association Lavender Law Conference, Cook County Minority Job Fair, Southeastern Minority Job Fair and Veterans Legal Career Fair.

Shook Scholars Institute - The Shook Scholars Institute is a diversity and inclusion development program that offers a select group of law students the opportunity to learn litigation and trial skills, leadership and career success competencies to foster success as a diverse attorney in majority organizations. In an interactive, small-group setting led by Shook’s powerhouse trial attorneys and firm leaders, student participants participate in a trial practice program, deposition skills workshops and leadership sessions, and are introduced to valuable relationship and networking opportunities. At Shook, inclusion is about creating a space where everyone belongs. We also recognize that the varied perspectives and experiences found in a diverse and inclusive workplace create a broader, richer environment and produce innovative solutions for our clients. The Scholars Institute is open to all self-identified, racial or ethnic minorities and/or LGBTQ law students enrolled full-time in an ABA-accredited law school. Applicants are evaluated on: demonstrated academic performance and leadership achievements; personal achievements and community involvement; commitment to promoting diversity, inclusion and equity in the legal profession; and sincere interest in practicing at a top civil litigation firm. 

Educational Programming - In order to engage and advance our diverse lawyers at all levels of the firm, we must have successful diverse lawyers at the partnership level, not only to serve as mentors and role models for new minority lawyers. We focus on better equipping our diverse talent. Programs targeted in this area include: diversity retreats for minority and LGBTQ attorneys; a quarterly program providing support and professional development opportunities focused on challenges minority attorneys face, called “Catalyst”; a formal sponsorship program for minority and LGBTQ associates called “Champions”; a reverse mentoring program on diversity called “Soul”; and a focus on inclusive leadership development, education and awareness.

Women's Management Council - This proactive group of Shook women partners serves as a catalyst for programs targeting the unique challenges facing women practitioners. Shook's Distinguished Women Partners

Diversity & Inclusion Individual Commitment Plan - Shook requires every attorney to personally commit to diversity as a core value. To help achieve our diversity goals, all attorneys are required to complete at least 10 diversity commitment action items from the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Individual Commitment Plan as part of the annual evaluation and compensation process.

Shook Diversity At-A-Glance

LGBTQ Initiatives at Shook


The Human Rights Campaign Foundation awarded Shook the top rating of 100 percent for the tenth consecutive year in its 2018 Corporate Equality Index, naming the firm to its list of “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality.”

Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers once again noted Shook among the “Best Law Firms for Women” in 2018. Shook previously received this award in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017. 

From 2011-2018, Shook met all certification criteria to win the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) Gold Standard Certification for integrating women into leadership positions at law firms.

The Coca-Cola Company awarded Shook its General Counsel Diversity Advancement award in 2017. Coca-Cola has also thrice (2008, 2013, 2015) presented Shook with its Living the Values Award in recognition of the firm’s progressive, innovative diversity and inclusion practices. 

In 2016 and 2017, Shook received Equality Illinois’ Raising the Bar Award for LGBT Inclusiveness. 

In 2018, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) awarded its George B. Vashon Innovator Award to Shook for leading the way in best practices to assist diverse attorneys. Criteria include proven leadership in recruitment, retention, promotion and metrics that gauge diversity success. MCCA also recognized Shook by awarding the Thomas L. Sager Award to the firm in 2001, 2002 and 2010. 

Altria awarded Shook its inaugural Law Department Diversity and Inclusion Award in April 2010 to recognize the firm’s commitment to diversity in the legal profession.

The Kansas City Chamber of Commerce named Shook its Champion of Diversity in 2018; the award recognizes a regional business that “has made a durable commitment to embracing diversity in their workplace and community.” 


The 2019 edition of the Vault Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms ranked Shook, 4th in Overall Diversity, 4th in Diversity for Women, 3rd in Diversity for Individuals with Disabilities, 7th for Diversity for Minorities, and 3rd for Diversity in LGBT. Vault compiled its rankings based on data from anonymous surveys of law firm associates across the United States.Vault continues to rank Shook one of the top firms for diversity, year after year.

Law360 ranked Shook on its 100 Best Law Firms for Female Attorneys Roster in both 2015 and 2016.

Media Mentions

The firm’s diversity initiatives are often highlighted by regional and national media outlets, including Missouri Lawyers Weekly (March 2018); Legaltech News (November 2017); Law360 (July 23, 2017 and April 20, 2014); The Kansas City Star (March 16, 2017); Bloomberg BNA (September 2016); The National Law Journal (June 2016); Working Mother (August 2014); Diversity & The Bar (July/August 2013); Working Mother (August/September 2013); The American Lawyer (January 2013); The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel (March 2012); Corporate Counsel Business Journal (February 2012); Diversity & The Bar (December 2010); Diversity & The Bar (January/February 2010); and The American Lawyer (February 2009).

   WILEF Seal 2018  Vault2018  Law360 Best Law Firms for Women   Best Law Firms for Women  

Diversity Committee

Walt Cofer (Partner / Executive Committee Sponsor)
Kori Carew (Director of Strategic Diversity Initiatives)
Hassia Diolombi (Partner)
 Madeleine McDonough (Firm Chair)
Vaveca Moss (Director of Employee Relations)
Lynn Murray (Partner)
Amir Nassihi (Partner)
Jay Simpson (Partner)
Ann Songer (Partner)
Barbara Thompson (Chief Human Resources Officer)
Greg Wu (Partner)