Shook, Hardy & Bacon has been named the first recipient of The Coca-Cola Company’s General Counsel Diversity Advancement Award.
The award is a new addition to the company’s Living the Values program, which the Coca-Cola legal division established in 2008 to recognize its U.S.-based law firms that demonstrated strong commitments to diversity. Shook previously won Living the Values awards in 2008, 2013 and 2015 – more than any other firm.
Coca-Cola was one of the first Fortune 100 companies to publicly honor law firms for diversity. Firms are selected for Living the Values awards based on their initiatives to support and foster diversity and inclusion, including commitment of senior management, representation of minorities and women within the firm, success in recruiting and retaining minority and female associates, creative partnership arrangements with minority and women-owned firms, and the level of firmwide participation in diversity programs.
This year, the new General Counsel Diversity Advancement Award was created to salute ongoing, long-term leadership in diversity and inclusion, said John UyHam, Senior Counsel of mergers and acquisitions and finance at The Coca-Cola Company and chair of its Diversity Council.
“We are so pleased to have Shook, Hardy & Bacon as the first recipient of our General Counsel Diversity Advancement Award,” UyHam said. “The award acknowledges Shook’s consistent commitment to diversity initiatives both within the firm and throughout our profession.”
Kori Carew, Shook’s director of strategic diversity initiatives, accepted the award at a ceremony Jan. 19 in Atlanta.
“Making a difference in diversity and inclusion requires new thinking, new approaches and challenging the status quo,” Carew said. “It requires bold and insightful leadership. And it centers around focusing on people – our most important resources in our organizations. We thank Coca-Cola for inviting law firms to fully commit as partners in advancing diversity and improving inclusion. We are all better for it.”
Shook strives to take an intentional, strategic and holistic approach to advancing diversity and inclusion, Carew said, and focuses on initiatives, strategies and policies that make a meaningful impact. Toward that end, two of Shook’s recent projects include:
- Catalyst – Sponsored by two minority partners, this program complements the firm’s annual Diversity Retreat by providing year-round support and career success strategies for minority and LGBT attorneys. Catalyst is designed to address specific challenges minority and LGBT attorneys face, provide opportunities for networking and support, and cultivate a pipeline for leadership and advancement opportunities.
- Champions – In 2016, Shook launched a formal pilot program that paired senior minority associates with equity partner “champion” sponsors; Champions is intended to prepare and position these associates for partnership consideration. For the first six months, participants met once a month as a group to discuss business development, client exposure and leadership within the firm. After this initial period, associates met with their champions individually for six months. The program will repeat in 2017.
A leader in law firm diversity, Shook has many long-term programs that have garnered industry recognition. Diversity and inclusion efforts include training on inclusive leadership; examining systems and processes for hidden bias and blind spots; creating and empowering a Women’s Management Council; implementing an award-winning Individual Diversity and Inclusion Commitment Plan for attorneys and professional staff; and launching innovative pipeline efforts including the Diversity Writing Program.
Over the past year, Shook has been recognized for its diversity and inclusion practices by several organizations, among them:
- Working Mother/Flex-Time Lawyers, “50 Best Law Firms for Women”
- Vault, “Best Law Firms for Diversity” – No. 3 for diversity overall nationwide
- No. 1 for military veterans
- No. 5 for individuals with disabilities
- No. 5 for minorities
- No. 7 for women
- No. 15 for LGBT diversity
- Women in Law Empowerment Forum, “Gold Standard Certification Award” – one of only two firms to achieve the gold standard by exceeding all six criteria six years in a row
- Human Rights Campaign, Corporate Equality Index – 100 percent score for nine consecutive years
- Equality Illinois, “Raising the Bar”
Madeleine McDonough, chair of Shook, said that the firm shared Coca-Cola’s global diversity and inclusion mission: to mirror the richly diverse
“Shook was built on a foundation of excellence, creativity and collegiality, and diversity and inclusion are core elements of our DNA,” McDonough said. “It’s affirming to be recognized by Coca-Cola for our work in this field, but more importantly, to have the opportunity to work with a company so aligned with our core values.”
About The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands and more than 3,800 beverage choices. Led by Coca-Cola, one of the world's most valuable and recognizable brands, the company’s portfolio features 20 billion-dollar brands, 18 of which are available in reduced-, low- or no-calorie options. Its billion-dollar brands include Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, Fanta, Sprite, Dasani, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Del Valle, Georgia and Gold Peak. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, the company is the No. 1 provider of both sparkling and still beverages. More than 1.9 billion servings of its beverages are enjoyed by consumers in more than 200 countries each day.