For demonstrating outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. has received the prestigious Thomas L. Sager Award from The Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA). The law firm was honored during MCCA’s annual Taste of MCCA Networking Series held at the Roof Terrace Restaurant, at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, on Monday, July 15, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Accepting the award on behalf of Beveridge & Diamond was Benjamin Wilson, managing principal. The event was attended by 160 people, and was co-partnered with the DuPont Minority Counsel Network. Attendees enjoyed networking and a wine tasting.
Beveridge & Diamond PC received the award for increasing its percentage of women principals from 24 percent to 33 percent, including three minority women principals; raising the percentage of minority associates from six percent to 24 percent; and promoting its first minority managing principal. Four out of the seven members of the firm’s management committee are women – in fact, half of Beveridge & Diamond’s associates are women. The firm has also seen the percentage of associates working flexible hours double. Part of this is due to the leadership of managing principal Benjamin Wilso,n who founded the D.C. Diverse Partners Network, which provides a forum for minority partners to share resources and support one another. MCCA looks forward to his and his firm’s continuing leadership in the diversity sector.
Two other law firms were recognized as finalists during the event:
Arnold & Porter LLP was honored for its “on ramp/off ramp” policy that lets attorneys in good standing take an unpaid leave of absence of up to three years to handle external events like child-rearing. The attorneys stay connected to the firm through recruiting, business development, and alumni events, while the firm pays for them to maintain bar status and CLE training.
Programs like that are why the firm has a significant percentage of female attorneys in its D.C. office. Thirty-eight percent of its attorneys are women, including 47.8 percent of its associates and staff attorneys, and 18.4 percent of its partners.
Covington & Burling was recognized for its special committee on women, which together with the diversity committee undertook a comprehensive review of the firm’s performance in the recruitment, development, and retention of women and minorities. Less than a year after the committee was formed and within three months of the delivery of the committee’s review, Catherine Dargan and Louise Nash were elected to the firm’s eight-member Management Committee. Ms. Dargan, who is of African American descent, is a partner in the firm’s D.C. office. At a time when the percentage of female associates is dropping – according to the Association for Legal Career Professionals the percentage is now 40 percent, the third straight year of decline – MCCA finds it refreshing to see a firm put women in management positions.
The mission of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association is to advance the hiring, retention, and promotion of diverse attorneys in legal departments and the law firms that serve them. MCCA furthers its mission by publishing research on achieving diversity and best practices in the legal profession, honoring innovative diversity programs with its Employer of Choice and Thomas L. Sager awards, and assisting diverse law students through the Lloyd M. Johnson, Jr. Scholarship Program. MCCA’s work has been recognized with awards from the National Minority Business Council, Inc., the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Gay and Lesbian Law Association, and the Association of Corporate Counsel.