Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

Unconscious Bias Training

Challenge

Need to increase awareness about unconscious bias at all levels of the firm.

Actions

The firm launched its Unconscious Bias Awareness program for attorneys and staff in 2014 to expose participants to the concepts of cognitive neuroscience, implicit bias, and organizational transformation. The concepts covered in the mandatory training offered in two different formats collectively illustrated the positive effects of bias awareness on organizational behavior with the goal of creating an inclusive work environment that attracts and retains the best attorney and professional talent available.

Today, every new hire must complete the Understanding Bias program within their first 30 days at the firm.  We are also reinforcing the key concepts of Understanding Bias in various was such as: hosting speakers, attending plays and other cultural events, organizing brown bag lunches to facilitate active discussions, and planning heritage month celebrations.

Outcomes

We had an 82% participation rate in our initial unconscious bias awareness program. As a result, 88% of the participants said they would think differently about bias in the future. The firm’s unconscious bias program was highly rated, with 93% of attendees rating the program with a score of  “3” or above on a scale of 1-5.  In addition to the classroom approach to understanding bias, we organized small groups of partners and administrative professionals to examine our  hiring, work allocation and retention practices for possible bias.  We are currently developing an interactive follow-on program that will expand on the key learning from our initial launch.

I am proud that Kilpatrick Townsend’s workplace is an environment that fosters diversity, inclusion, respect for the views of others, and fairness to all regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, veteran status, and physical ability. We are a stronger and better firm as a result of our commitment to these core values. But the challenge is to continually stay focused on making sure we are doing what we can to enhance our diversity and inclusion priorities.  In the ever-evolving legal industry, we need to attract (and keep) top-tier talent so we are always in the position to focus on doing our best work for clients and making a positive difference to the communities we serve.

Henry Walker

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