Lawyer-Driven Affinity Networks
More than 15 years ago, a group of women lawyers in our firm set out to create opportunities to promote leadership development and mentoring among our women lawyers and to bring them together with other professional women for meaningful time together.
Our Women’s Network offers a monthly program and a well-attended annual symposium for lawyers, clients and contacts. In July, the network partnered with our firm’s Social Impact Committee for a screening of Girl Rising, a documentary about the ways education can break the cycle of poverty in developing countries, for our colleagues, clients and contacts.
A few years later, a group of lawyers established our Miles Minority Network (MMN) to help build a vibrant minority professional community and to serve as a resource for professionals of all backgrounds in the Baltimore-Washington region. Last year’s holiday party drew more than 150 lawyers, clients, politicians, judges and other professionals from across the region. And, for the last three years, our MMN and our Women’s Network combined forces with the Baltimore Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel to host a gathering at our firm with 100 legal and business professionals in attendance.
In 2016, a group of lawyers created The [email protected], an internal network of Jewish lawyers and colleagues dedicated to creating and strengthening personal and professional relationships while developing and advancing outreach and educational initiatives within our firm, as well as externally, to the greater Jewish business community at-large.
We also are in the process of forming a group for our LGBT lawyers.
Involvement has grown beyond lawyers to include senior leadership and others across our firm. Attendance, engagement and impact have deepened each year with colleagues and clients. And, different lawyers have led the groups, bringing their own approach to educational, networking and social opportunities.
We work on a daily basis to elevate our diversity and inclusion efforts from initiatives to a way of life. It requires us to look at all decisions through the prism of diversity and inclusion. It is important for leaders to model a learning mindset because the most impactful growth comes when organizations learn together.