Morgan Stanley – MCCA’s 2012 Employer of Choice

Sunday, March 25, 2012 - 13:27

The Editor interviews Joseph K. West, President and CEO of MCCA, and Eric Grossman, Chief Legal Officer of Morgan Stanley.

Editor: Joe, please tell our readers about the mission of MCCA.

West: MCCA is focused on helping to improve the legal profession by making it more diverse and inclusive. While we have focused historically on corporate law departments and major law firms, in recent months we’ve also forged relationships with midsize and smaller law firms as well since the importance of diversity and inclusion is not limited to the size of a particular organization.

My aim since coming on board six months ago was to provide the maximum return on investment for our stakeholders. Having worked in a leadership position at a Fortune 100 corporate law department and also having been a partner at a law firm, I know how organizations are looking at deploying their resources in a judicious fashion, particularly as regards diversity and inclusion, thus maximizing the value accrued by shareholders.

Editor: Please tell us also about your Employer of Choice Award, which this year is being presented to Morgan Stanley.

West: We give two main awards at MCCA: our Employer of Choice Award is limited to a corporate member, this year’s selection being Morgan Stanley, and our Tom Sager Award, named for the general counsel at DuPont and one of our founding members and a long time friend, goes to a law firm.

The organizations we select are those that we feel have treated the issues of diversity and inclusion with great seriousness of purpose, becoming outstanding examples of a total dedication to these principles. In reading Morgan Stanley’s application for this honor, I was struck by the well-diversified membership of its diversity committee representing a wide spectrum of views - from HR to legal and compliance and global diversity - and encompassing the firm’s leadership with 15 of its 70 members in leadership roles at the firm.

Not only are the members of its diversity committee dedicated to learning about all the issues relating to diversity but also in implementing change. Without the input of HR and compliance, it is difficult to implement change. In addition, the firm also is concerned about making sure that its vision is shared by its outside counsel and vendor group and that they are equally committed to diversity and inclusion. A company such as Morgan Stanley has the ability to effectuate change beyond its own confines to a larger universe. We’re very proud of the work that Morgan Stanley has done, and we’re happy that we’ve named them as the Employer of Choice. The award will be given at MCCA’s September 11 Gala.

Editor: Eric, what elements of your diversity program within Morgan Stanley set it apart?

Grossman:  Morgan Stanley’s success in maintaining its leadership and worldwide reputation in the financial markets requires a broad knowledge of the global markets and a workforce of the most talented and creative individuals available. To attract and retain this talent, the Legal and Compliance Division (LCD) maintains an environment where diversity is respected and encouraged. LCD seeks to leverage our full range of social and cultural identities, organizational roles and perspectives to enhance our effectiveness. 

Although we view our efforts as a work in progress, we have made headway over the last decade in creating an inclusive culture within LCD and making a positive difference in our company, our industry, and our community.  The highlights of our diversity program include our annual Leadership and Excellence in Inclusion and Diversity (LEID) award based on our outside counsel survey; our Supplier Diversity Initiative; our innovative summer internship program; our strong partnerships with and support of the New York City Bar Association,  the Legal Outreach program, and the Cyrus Vance Center’s South African Visiting Attorney Program; our targeted initiatives to promote mentorship and leadership among women and minorities; and the special efforts of individual members of LCD who have distinguished themselves and been honored accordingly. 

Our achievements have been made possible by the Legal and Compliance Division’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee (LCDDIC), which has more than 70 members, 13 sub-committees, a rotating chair system, and firm support from our Chief Executive Officer, James Gorman, our partners in Human Resources and the senior management team within LCD.

Editor: Tell us how your senior leadership has influenced the development of LCD’s diversity program.

Grossman: We have a rich history of ‘top down’ support for diversity and inclusion within LCD.  In 2003, Morgan Stanley was the principal author (now, there are over 125 signatories) of the New York City Bar Association’s groundbreaking Statement of Diversity Principles, which Morgan Stanley lives by. Our former Chief Legal Officer was Chairman of the Committee to Enhance Diversity in the Profession, the umbrella committee which developed the principles, and Executive Director Duane Hughes served as Secretary for that committee.

My immediate predecessor, Frank Barron, also showed a significant commitment to diversity.  Under Frank’s leadership, we launched our Supplier Diversity Initiative, and along with 24 other Fortune 500 General Counsel, Frank attended a two-day Summit at Harvard hosted by Professor Charles Ogletree and the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice that focused on achievable, next-generation strategies for diversity and inclusion.  Frank also spearheaded a session with Verna Myers, a nationally recognized expert and author of Moving Diversity Forward: How to Go From Well-Meaning to Well-Doing, after reading and providing comment on her manuscript.  The seminar helped increase awareness of the concepts of implicit bias, unearned advantage and unearned disadvantage and how they impact our behavior, relationships and opportunities in the workplace.

As the Chief Legal Officer, I am also responsible for reporting annually to our CEO on our diversity and inclusion strategies and progress within LCD.   I am honored to have inherited such a strong diversity ethic from my predecessors and actively challenge my department to advance our initiatives through broad participation, expansive growth and innovative strategies.

Editor: You have a Supplier Diversity Initiative that solicits the services of minority- and women-owned firms.  Can you tell us more about this effort?

Grossman: Our Supplier Diversity Initiative is not only very important to LCD, but also as part of our broader firm efforts to increase the number of minority- and women-owned businesses that provide goods and services to the firm.  We launched our Supplier Diversity Initiative last year, charging the leaders of each major practice group in the U.S. to find opportunities to retain a new law firm that was minority- or women-owned.

We established a special committee to serve as a resource to LCD in achieving this goal.  To help maximize our success, we have collaborated with the National Association of Minority & Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF), a nonprofit trade association comprised of minority- and women-owned law firms.  LCD is an active participant of NAMWOLF, with three representatives on their Advisory Council.   We recognize and reward the practice group within LCD that is most successful. 

Editor: In what ways do you partner with local bar organizations and other legal groups to foster hiring, retention and promotion of minorities?

Grossman: We are particularly proud of our partnerships with organizations to increase the pipeline of talented individuals entering the legal profession.  We have a longstanding partnership with the New York City Bar Association’s Recruitment and Retention Committee to receive a minority first-year law student as a Diversity Fellow within our summer intern program.  We also continue to participate regularly in the City Bar’s Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice’s South African Visiting Lawyer Program to bring lawyers from historically disadvantaged backgrounds in South Africa to New York City for one-year fellowships at law firms and corporate legal departments. Since 2005, LCD has sponsored a four-day intensive summer clerkship with Legal Outreach Inc., during which ninth-graders from underserved communities in New York City receive financial education and experience a hands-on introduction to the financial services industry.

We have also appointed Diversity Relationship Managers within LCD who are responsible for actively partnering with our law firms to share best practices and develop programming to provide members of LCD and attorneys at our outside counsel firms with growth and networking opportunities.

Among our many efforts to support the hiring, retention and promotion of diverse talent are the support and sponsorship of initiatives and events hosted by organizations such as Corporate Counsel Women of Color (CCWC), the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), the Indian-American Bar Association of Chicago, Lambda Legal, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), Legal Outreach, MCCA, NAMWOLF, the New York City Bar Association, the National Bar Association (NBA), and other organizations committed to diversifying the legal profession. 

Editor: Every year, Morgan Stanley confers the “Leadership in Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion (LEID),” award on an outside law firm.  Please describe the LEID award.

Grossman: LCD seeks to ensure that our partner law firms also promote diversity and inclusion, including by staffing their Morgan Stanley matters with diverse attorneys.  One way we evaluate our top 50 firms is by having an annual outside counsel survey.  The firms are evaluated based on various quantitative and qualitative questions, and a small handful of finalists are then interviewed on their programs.  The outside counsel that is most distinguished is presented with the LEID award at our annual diversity and inclusion reception. 

Every year, we invite other firms to meet with us to evaluate their survey submissions, diversity programs and share best practices.  Past winners of the LEID award include Bingham McCutchen; Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Davis Polk & Wardwell (two-time winner); Greenberg Traurig; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (two-time winner); Richards Kibbe & Orbe; Shearman & Sterling; SNR Denton; WilmerHale; and Winston & Strawn.

Editor: How can our readers learn more about the work of MCCA?

West: Go to Every one of our staff members has their “snail mail” address as well as email address and phone number listed on the website. I suggest the reader contact David Chu, head of our membership and development group, who does an extraordinary job of distributing information to and recruiting membership for MCCA.

To learn more about the MCCA, please visit To learn more about Morgan Stanley’s Diversity & Inclusion program, please visit