Shook, Hardy & Bacon has long demonstrated an unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion because we recognize that fostering diversity creates both a broader, richer environment and helps produce innovative solutions. This vision is incorporated into our hiring and training practices, professional development, succession planning, and everyday lawyering, as well as our involvement in the community.
Shook takes a three-pronged approach to our diversity and inclusion efforts—taking into account organizational systems and processes, talent management and development, and inclusive leadership development. We have instituted a variety of diversity and inclusion best practices, including reviewing our benefits, policies and practices to ensure they are conducive to an inclusive environment, creating a firmwide mentoring program, continually providing firmwide diversity and inclusion training, providing scholarships for minority law students, and supporting local and national diversity organizations and bar associations.
We strive to increase the presence of underrepresented groups at our firm in a number of ways, including:
Individual Commitment Plan: Attorneys are asked to complete at least 10 action items annually that demonstrate dedication to furthering diversity and inclusion efforts at Shook and within the legal profession.
The Diversity Writing Program: The Diversity Writing Program is a 10-week paid internship program where racially and ethnically diverse second-year law students (called Diversity Writing Fellows) clerk at the firm during the school year. This program pairs students with an associate, a partner and a writing mentor. Participants in the program are encouraged to apply for a position in our Summer Associate program and are guaranteed a call-back interview.
1L LCD Scholars Program: Shook participates in this program of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, specific to diverse first-year law students.
Diversity Job Fairs: In addition to participating in job fairs, Shook played an integral role in the creation of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association’s award-winning Heartland Diversity Legal Job Fair (HDLJF). Working in tandem with the Search Committee, Diversity & Inclusion Committee members continue to actively recruit from the HDLJF and several diversity job fairs for the specific purpose of attracting the best attorneys.
Shook Résumé/Interview Workshops: In order to provide practical advice on improving résumés, enhancing interviewing skills, employing critical thinking, and using analytical skills to successfully navigate law school, we developed the Shook Résumé/Interview Workshops at area law schools. These workshops provide us with access to résumés of diverse group of candidates who might not otherwise participate in the on-campus recruiting process. The programs also allow us to develop and maintain relationships with minority law student associations.
Success Pathway Project: One element of Shook’s strategic plan is to address the issue of retention by focusing on engagement and advancement. Our people don’t want to be "retained"; they want to be engaged and to advance within the organization. In 2010, we began the Success Pathway Project for attorney training and development in an effort to reduce attrition rates in minority and female attorneys and provide transparency regarding the path to success at the firm. As a result of the project, Shook has formalized mentoring circles, core competencies (a list of qualitative competencies that supplement our current professional competencies), exemplar fictional evaluations, and associate networking dinners.
Attorney Engagement: We proactively increased our partnerships with national organizations in an effort to engage and advance our attorneys. Through sponsorship of and participation in national organizations specifically focused on the hiring, retention and promotion of minority attorneys in legal departments and the law firms that serve them, we continue to support our diverse talent. Additionally, we encourage our female and minority attorneys to be active in local, regional and national specialty bar associations by paying membership dues and providing other support. Finally, we engage in a Proactive Individual Engagement process where we review the hours of our attorneys and undertake, as necessary, a substantive review of their evaluations. In the event performance falls below certain levels, individual meetings are held and development plans are established to address and improve the situation. The focus of the process is to intervene and provide guidance before careers are derailed.