Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Managing Effectively Across Difference (MEAD)

Challenge

All lawyers at the firm contribute to fostering Paul, Weiss's diverse and inclusive culture. Our challenge is to provide our lawyers with the tools and strategies to foster their professional development while maintaining an unwavering commitment to an inclusive, supportive work environment.

Actions

Managing Effectively Across Difference is a mandatory workshop for our associates and counsel based on the fundamental proposition that people do their best work when they feel valued and included. A corollary workshop, Leading Effectively Across Difference, is designed for partners. Incorporating both expert research insights and internal findings, the workshops have four components:

1. How unconscious biases impact everyday work interactions.
2. Managing junior lawyers: opportunities and challenges.
3. Managers' and leaders' roles in allocating and managing assignments.
4. Providing feedback across difference.

The workshops address how lawyers of diverse genders, races, ethnicities and sexual orientations experience the same environment differently, and how unconscious bias plays a significant role in that experience. Participants complete a self assessment, reflecting on how they allocate work, manage matters and provide feedback. During the session, participants, guided by expert facilitators, share their experiences and best practices, and apply research findings to "typical" firm scenarios. Participants learn effective strategies to more effectively manage lawyers and lead matters and client teams.

Outcomes

Virtually all Paul, Weiss partners, senior associates and counsel have completed the workshops, providing our lawyers a common language and framework for fostering a more inclusive environment. Participants report heightened awareness of unconscious bias and in-group preference and an increased willingness to discuss these sensitive topics at all levels across the firm. We understand that the firm is defined by how we treat each other publicly and privately, and by how consistently we reinforce our inclusive culture.  

Conversations about diversity challenges too often occur behind closed doors and too often are sugar-coated. That hasn't worked. To make real progress, the conversations need to be honest and transparent, be led by senior executives, and address what drives success and what holds it back.

Brad Karp, Chairman of Paul, Weiss

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