We take great care to cultivate a workforce that embraces the many different perspectives, backgrounds and cultures of our attorneys, staff and profession. Our diversity and inclusion efforts are focused on hiring, retaining and advancing top quality attorneys and staff, maintaining leadership throughout our community and supporting diversity initiatives that are dedicated to increasing diversity in the legal profession.
We are committed to setting an example in the communities in which we live and work, and raising the standards for diverse workplaces both in the legal industry and beyond. Our efforts span past the efforts of our Diversity Committee and touch every part of our work, from engaging with a broad range of clients and developing a diverse workforce, to supporting organizations and developing initiatives that encourage diversity in the legal profession.
We are dedicated to providing a work environment where people of all backgrounds, ages, colors, genders, races, national origins, religions, sexual orientations or disabilities, are valued for their perspectives, skills and talent.
Black History Month provides an opportunity for us to celebrate the significant roles of African-Americans in our history. This year, in a brief video, Balch is pleased to reflect on the tremendous contributions of Thurgood Marshall, Jane Bolin and Cecil Francis and their commitment to encourage diversity in the legal industry. We are grateful for their service.
To encourage more diversity in the legal profession, Balch & Bingham created a signature program that provides future lawyers from underrepresented backgrounds with the tools they need to be successful in law school and when launching their careers. In 2011, we hosted our first Boot Camp for Success to equip minority law students with the tools needed to be successful during law school and throughout their future as attorneys. Each year, we invite minority and underrepresented law students from schools across the Southeast to attend a two-day program to gain a deeper understanding of the legal profession and the variety of careers available to law school graduates.
The seminar is led by Balch attorneys, corporate leaders and other accomplished attorneys from a wide variety of backgrounds and career paths who deliver candid presentations and participate in panel discussions about ways students can enhance their academic and professional success while maximizing law school opportunities. Sessions include a mock law class, tips on how to study and be academically successful during the first year of law school, and a session featuring seasoned attorneys sharing advice about the job search process, specifically focused on developing interview skills and avoiding common missteps. The program is named after the late Susan B. Livingston, partner and former chair of the firm’s Diversity Committee. Our 2017 Boot Camp was attended by more than 35 law students – to date nearly 290 students are Boot Camp graduates.
We are committed to the retention, professional growth and advancement of women attorneys. Understanding the unique challenges women face in the workforce, we created a women’s mentoring program to mentor new female attorneys and assist in their overall professional development, while building long-term relationships and lasting legal careers, and advancing leadership of women at Balch. Our program includes regular guest speakers who speak to female attorneys about empowerment, overcoming challenges in careers and work-life balance to community initiatives that encourage diversity across our footprint.
We are committed to continuing to increase diversity within our communities and actively engage with many initiatives and events. From serving in leadership positions for nonprofits that advance diversity in our communities, to sponsoring activities that celebrate inclusion, we strive to help build diverse communities and to join conversations that celebrate similarities and differences.