By Heather Asher • March 16, 2015
On March 6, 2015, Ms. JD announced its inaugural “Ms. JD Chair’s Challenge.” The Chair’s Challenge invites Firm Chairs to make a bold statement that recruiting and retaining diverse talent is a business imperative. To join the Challenge, Firm Chairs must make a personal contribution to Ms. JD and urge their colleagues to sign a call to action.
The Challenge galvanizes firm diversity efforts by connecting it with direct support from the top. Law firm leaders must invest in diversity at every phase of the talent trajectory - from first year associate to managing partner – if law firms are going to continue to succeed and innovate.
Ms. JD’s goal is to announce the participation of 15 Chairs at its 8th Annual Conference on Women in the Law in March 2016. Ms. JD's Executive Director, Heather Byrd Asher, explained: "Ms. JD is committed to recognizing leaders in diversity. Participants in the Chair’s Challenge will be featured on our Chair’s Challenge Page on the Ms. JD blog, which receives over 20,000 unique visitors every month. Ms. JD will also send out a press release whenever a firm leader rises to the Chair’s Challenge. By leading from the front on diversity, the participating Chairs are sending an important message to their peers and attorneys at every level of the legal profession.”
Ms. JD’s President, Katie Larkin-Wong, announced the Founding Chairs of the inaugural Challenge at Ms. JD’s Stronger Together Conference in San Francisco - Bill Voge of Latham & Watkins LLP and Linda Addison of Norton Rose Fulbright. Larkin-Wong said: "We approached Bill and Linda first because we were intimately familiar with their commitment to making diversity a priority. From putting money behind new initiatives to ensuring powerful partners are at the helm of change, both Linda and Bill have shown their intent to truly upend the way we treat diversity in the law. The support of people who control budgets and wield true institutional power is essential to making change on diversity and gender issues in the law.”
Rising to the Chair’s Challenge sends a powerful message that diversity is a personal and institutional priority for law firm leadership. Firm Chairs, will you join us?
*Ms. JD is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to the success of aspiring and early career women lawyers. Ms. JD is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of law students and legal professionals. Founded at Stanford Law School in 2006 by a group of female law students from Boalt Hall (UC Berkeley), Cornell, Georgetown, Harvard, NYU, Stanford, UCLA, UT Austin, the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, the University of Virginia, and Yale, Ms. JD is a 501(c)(3) incorporated in California. Serving as a unique nexus between the profession and the pipeline of diverse attorneys, Ms. JD’s online community provides a forum for dialogue and networking among women lawyers and law students. Ms. JD’s programs provide law student fellowships, public interest scholarship and international scholarships for foreign women law students. With campus chapters throughout the nation, Ms. JD is also home to the National Women Law Students’ Organization.