Our philosophy is that inclusion is not about asking people to fit in, it’s about creating a space where everyone belongs.

Diversity and inclusion are essential components of Shook, Hardy & Bacon’s vision statement—“a diverse environment where everyone is respected, feels appreciated and experiences fulfillment and enjoyment through meaningful contributions” is at the core of who we are as a firm.

Our journey toward inclusion has led us to champion visionary attorneys and business professionals throughout our ranks, including those who bring an underrepresented perspective to the firm as a result of life experiences. With this approach, we are moving toward an organization equipped with leaders able to work across differences and leverage diversity.

Women Attorneys

Shook’s women partners target the challenges facing women in the law. Among other things, the Women’s Management Council (WMC) holds seminars for women associates to discuss the challenges of work/life integration and leadership opportunities. It also provides forums to network with successful women attorneys and judges in the greater legal community.

Best Practices

  • Women’s Management Council (WMC)
  • Junior Women’s Management Council (JWMC)
  • Women’s Leadership Edge Webinars
  • Women in the Law Seminars
  • Diversity Lab Hackathon
  • Conferences Specific to Women

Attorneys of Color

Shook strives to create unique programming that assists in the engagement and advancement of all attorneys and to take the steps necessary to reach our ultimate goal of creating and maintaining an inclusive environment. We use diversity and inclusion efforts that are innovative, timely and effective to help us achieve our goals.

Best Practices

  • Succession Planning
  • Proactive Individual Engagement & Coaching
  • Partner/Associate Networking Dinners
  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD)
  • Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (IILP)
  • Judicial Intern Opportunity Program (JIOP)
  • National Minority Bar Association Memberships
  • Corporate Counsel Women of Color Conference

LGBTQ+ Attorneys

We are advancing and supporting LGBTQ+ initiatives across Shook.

Best Practices

  • Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality Index (100% since 2009)
  • PRIDE Celebrations
  • AIDS Service Foundation
  • Center for Legal Inclusiveness (CLI)
  • Mid-America LGBT Chamber of Commerce (MALGBTCC)
  • National Center for Transgender Equality
  • AIDS Legal Referral Panel
  • LGBTQ+ National Bar Associations
  • Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF)
  • Pro Bono LGBTQ+ Efforts
  • Project Equality
  • Affirmation Project

Project Affirmation

Project Affirmation is the firm’s pro bono name change and gender marker amendment clinic serving the transgender community in and around Kansas City. Shook attorneys have represented and counseled hundreds of adult and minor trans clients in obtaining accurate government-issued identification documents, including litigating before hostile judges and negotiating with counsel for state vital records offices throughout the country. This pro bono practice entails navigating undefined and at times non-existent state law schemes that discriminate against trans people in order to protect their legal rights. 

Key Initiatives

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Shook’s ERGs include Asian, Black, First Generation Professionals, LGBTQ+, LatinX and Veterans. Open to attorneys and professional staff members from any background, ERGs are voluntary, employee-led groups that aim is to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace and provide both attorneys and professional staff a space to learn about each other and discuss topics important to them in a safe, supportive, and respectful environment.

Shook Scholars Institute - A Diversity & Inclusivity Fellowship Program: The Shook Scholars Institute is an innovative diversity and inclusion development program with concentration in the areas of litigation and trial skills, inclusive leadership development and career success strategies. This three-day intensive program is designed to give first-year law students the rare opportunity to learn from a litigation powerhouse in an interactive, small group setting led by Shook’s attorneys. Learn more in our digital brochure about how to apply for the Shook Scholars Institute. 

Pathways to Inclusion: This live educational series is open to both attorneys and professional staff and focuses on key D+I issues such as race, disability, religion, gender bias, generational diversity, transgender realities in the workplace, implicit bias and building successful teams. It is hosted two to three times a year.

Shook Diversity & Inclusivity Scholarships: We are pleased to offer Shook Diversity & Inclusivity Scholarships which award eligible, outstanding first-year and second-year law students with a renewable scholarship to offset the expenses of a legal education. This scholarship program is part of our commitment to advance diversity and inclusion within our firm and the legal profession. Learn more in our digital brochure about how to apply for and renew the Shook Diversity & Inclusivity Scholarship.

Diversity & Inclusion Retreat: Held every other year, this retreat is designed to deepen our culture of inclusion and allyship for one another at Shook. Retreat programming focuses on increasing cultural competencies, empowering Shook attorneys to advocate for diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging, and ensuring that all at Shook have the tools and support needed succeed at the firm. 

Courageous Conversations: We continue to work on creating a safe space for Shook lawyers and professional staff to engage in difficult conversations. This has been a gradual and ongoing process starting with initiatives such as our Pathways to Inclusion series, which focuses on controversial topics, training on implicit bias and cultural competency, and others. We emphasize the need to lean into discomfort. Our leaders model “how.” 


Human Rights Campaign Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Logo 2022        Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) 2022 Certification Logo      



IILP MemberLCLD MemberHRC MemberDiversity and Flexibility AllianceNAPABA MemberLBGT Mid-American Chamber of CommerceWomen's Leadership Edge

Logo for Mansfield Rule Certification 2022 Diversity Lab