The Legal 500

Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

Katten

575 MADISON AVENUE, NEW YORK, NY 10022-2585, USA
Tel:
Work +1 212 940 8800
Fax:
Fax +1 212 940 8776
Email:
Web:
Katten.com







Katten’s Diversity Mission

Katten is dedicated to increasing the participation and fostering the leadership of women, minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) individuals within the firm and in the broader legal community. Consistent with our founding principles of client service and legal innovation, diversity is one of the core values by which we do business every day. Our Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, office managing partners, members from our Executive Committee and Board of Directors, and department chairs are actively involved in our diversity efforts. This dedication is part of a firmwide strategic plan that incorporates diversity in all of its initiatives, including growing our practices and developing business. We understand that ensuring a diverse and inclusive work environment and recruiting and retaining diverse talent at all levels are critical to our success as a firm and our ability to provide our clients with the highest-quality legal services.

Trailblazing Law Firm for Our Diversity Efforts

Katten has achieved certification for completing Diversity Lab’s Mansfield Rule pilot program. The Mansfield Rule, which is inspired by the NFL’s Rooney Rule hiring policy, is designed to boost diversity by certifying that law firms consider women and minorities for at least 30 percent of significant leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions and lateral positions. By completing the pilot program, Katten is able to have an even stronger pipeline of top-notch talent and provide transparency into leadership role descriptions, giving greater understanding of the expectations and experience necessary to be successful in such positions.
"We want to retain, support and empower our talented attorneys and in doing so eliminate any barriers to achieving professional success and reaching their career goals," said Katten's Chief Diversity Partner Leslie D. Minier. "The Mansfield Rule has been instrumental in helping our firm and others identify high-potential diverse lawyers to place them on the radar as candidates for promotions and leadership opportunities."

Increasing Diversity in Katten’s Environmental Practice

Katten strives to develop mentorship opportunities for minority law students. Through the Minority 1L Environmental Internship Program opportunity, the Environmental and Workplace Safety practice to introduce a minority law students to an exciting and growing area of practice. The 1L intern works directly with practice leaders, including Environmental and Workplace Safety co-heads. Throughout the summer internship, this individual collaborates with our team and works on projects relating to the key environmental and workplace safety issues and regulations that companies and trade regularly face. After completing this hands-on internship and mentoring program, the 1L intern has gained insight into federal and state laws and learned about industry trends, rules and regulations. It is our goal that the rising 2L will be well-positioned to pursue a summer associate program in any area of practice, but particularly environmental law

Innovative Techniques for Advancing Diversity

CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion
The firm became a signatory of the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion (CEO Action) to increase our attorney’s awareness of unconscious bias and the impact it has on their decision making and create an environment to have open and comfortable conversations about diversity. The CEO Action is the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. More than 450 CEOs of the world’s leading companies and business organizations have signed the pledge. Together, companies share their initiatives to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The firm actively reviews the best practices and diversity initiatives submitted by these companies as part of the pledge and works diligently to identify and implement new initiatives at Katten to further enhance our diversity goals. In addition, the firm has engaged a consultant to provide firmwide implicit bias training.

Diversity Lab’s Women in Law Hackathon
The firm wants to be at the forefront of generating innovative ideas and solutions that will assist us with improving the retention and promotion of our female attorneys. To accomplish this goal, the firm participated in the 2018 Diversity Lab’s Women in Law Hackathon (Hackathon). The Hackathon is a shark-tank style pitch competition that brought together legal department leaders and high-level partners from law firms across the nation who work in teams to create innovative ideas and solutions that will boost the retention and advancement of women in law firms.

Biennial Diverse Attorney Leadership Summit
In 2016, we had the privilege to host a two-day, national Diverse Attorney Leadership Summit with Katten diverse attorneys of all levels, and making the summit more unique, we invited our 2017 returning diverse 2L summer associates, incoming summer associates and first year associates. This was an opportunity to assemble firm leadership, diverse in-house counsel from leading companies and industry consultants to: (1) share strategies for building a successful career; (2) examine the core aspects of sponsorship; (3) provide concrete branding, networking and business development fundamentals; (4) demonstrate key techniques to utilize during a pitch meeting; (5) provide insights on client service and the differences of working at a law firm versus in-house at a company; (6) highlight the latest trends seen by outside counsel in the legal market; (7) help shape the ability to deliver and receive feedback; and (8) reveal the pertinent skills and criteria needed for an attorney to advance and thrive at Katten.

Katten’s 2018 Diverse Attorney Leadership Summit featured a lineup of captivating guest speakers who led insightful discussions on timely topics such as effective team dynamics and the benefits of providing top-notch client service. Participants also had the opportunity to visit a local Chicago Public School where they offered tips on preparing resumes, demonstrating job interview skills and coaching students through various job interview scenarios. Participants had the opportunity to network, develop relationships with other attorneys, learn about how best to support one another and give back to the community.

LGBT Attorney Retreat
In an effort to continue to create an inclusive environment for our diverse attorneys, Katten’s LGBT Coalition hosted the firm’s first LGBT Attorney Retreat in August of 2017 in San Francisco, California. The retreat coincided with the LGBT Bar Association’s 30th Annual Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair. At the retreat, attorneys convened to share ideas on new ways to help foster a welcoming, supportive environment for LGBT attorneys at Katten and to develop a plan to roll out new initiatives and programs. Katten will host an LGBT Attorney Retreat in 2019 in Philadelphia, PA.

Katten’s Affinity Groups

Katten has developed internal affinity groups to unite our diverse attorneys and provide them with opportunities to facilitate communication, mentorship and a deeper level of engagement.

The Women's Leadership Forum (WLF) supports the retention and advancement of women attorneys through mentoring and professional development programs designed to assist women in managing careers and augmenting skills. One example of a WLF mentoring program is the firm’s National Mentoring Panel. Click here to view more about the WLF National Mentoring Panel.

Awards and Recognitions

Katten has been named one of Working Mother magazine’s “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers” and included on the Working Mother/Flex-Time Lawyers list of the “50 Best Law Firms for Women” every year since 2007. Additionally, Katten has earned a place on the 2018 Inclusion Index by Diversity Best Practices, a division of Working Mother Media. Katten is recognized with a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index Survey, and is further distinguished by the Human Rights Campaign as one of the Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality and by Equality Illinois as a Leading Law Firm for LGBT Inclusion. Katten is additionally ranked among the Top Ten Female Friendly Firms by Yale Law. Katten was honored to be the recipient of The Chicago Committee’s 2017 Change Agent Award. Katten is one of 41 “trailblazing” law firms to achieve Mansfield certification. Katten has been recognized by the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) as a Top Performer and recipient of the 2018 Compass Award.

Q&A With Leslie D. Minier, Chief Diversity Partner

What is the ethos behind the firm’s approach to diversity?
Katten is dedicated to increasing the participation and fostering the leadership of women, minorities and LGBT individuals within the firm and in the broader legal community. We actively encourage a diverse culture through our recruitment, mentoring, advancement, training and professional development programs. We are proud to have diverse professionals at all levels, from the board of directors, to office managing partners, to associate leadership.
At Katten, diversity is one of the core values that guide how we do business every day. We understand a diverse team of attorneys enhances our ability to successfully serve our clients.
Our efforts have been recognized by the legal industry and beyond. This year alone, Katten has been named to Working Mother magazine's list of 100 Best Companies for the 12th consecutive year; we made the list of Yale Law Women's Top Ten Female Friendly Firms and Law360’s list of Best Law Firms for Women. We also earned a place on the 2018 Inclusion Index by Diversity Best Practices and achieved Gold Standard certification from the Women in Law Empowerment Forum. Most notably, Katten completed the Mansfield Rule pilot program, which measures law firm efforts to increase the number of female and diverse attorneys among their ranks. Additionally, the firm has been recognized by the Human Rights Campaign as among the "Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality."

What has a more diverse and inclusive workplace brought to your firm, and also to your clients?
In a word: talent.
We want to harness the power of the diverse voices, ideas, experience and perspectives we have at Katten. Our commitment to doing so shows our employees they are valued and demonstrates to potential job candidates as well as clients that we take diversity seriously at Katten.
We believe a diverse culture makes us better as a firm. It enhances our employee engagement. It drives innovation. It contributes to better work product, ultimately helping provide our clients with the best service possible.
We know how much our clients value diversity. They want the law firms they do business with to embrace diversity and reflect the diversity of their employees and customers.
The bottom line is this: We want our diverse culture to draw even more diversity and make Katten a great place to work and to do business.

How do you encourage a more diverse and inclusive workplace?
We want to provide opportunities for diverse attorneys to thrive and other attorneys like them to see that success can be achieved at Katten.
From top leaders, to partners, to associates, everyone has a role to play in creating a more diverse and inclusive environment.
Katten's CEO Noah Heller has signed the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion pledge to share best practices for making the corporate workplace more inclusive. Partners are focused on who they are recruiting and hiring, who they are taking to client meetings, and who they have identified as rising stars with the potential for advancement.
We have implemented an unconscious bias training program to educate our employees on recognizing, addressing and minimizing any potential blind spots.
We consistently welcome ideas from our affinity groups including the Diversity Committee, the Minority Associates Committee, the LGBT Coalition and the Women’s Leadership Forum.
Additionally, Katten launched its new speaker series exploring diverse viewpoints on various topics, including communication techniques to avoid or overcome gender stereotypes and biases.

What is needed to help bring more diverse candidates into the legal profession?
Katten partners with a number of local schools and community organizations to encourage young people to consider pursuing a legal career.
A number of our Chicago attorneys volunteer for the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago’s Lawyers in the Classroom program to help students better understand the legal system and learn about law-related careers. For years, Katten’s New York associates served as coaches and mentors for students on a mock trial team, while the firm’s Los Angeles office partnered with the Constitutional Rights Foundation’s Youth Internship Program to help place high school students as paid interns at law firms, businesses and government agencies.
Katten has sponsored Just the Beginning nonprofit organization and selected it in 2016 to be the recipient of the $5,000 donation from Chevron—when Katten received Chevron Law Function’s 12th Annual Law Firm Diversity Award—to help further expose students to legal careers and give them the skills and support to be successful in the legal environment.
Katten has taken an active role in inspiring younger generations to join the legal profession. We’re invested in seeing our youth become future legal leaders.

What are your policies for recruitment, and what are the major challenges?
Building a pipeline to the firm begins with recruiting efforts to attract and retain the best talent possible at Katten. To get top talent in the door, we offer a number of opportunities to law students.
We partner with diverse student organizations at law schools including Northwestern University, University of Chicago, University of Southern California and UCLA. We participate in diversity job fairs like the Cook County Bar Association Minority Job Fair, the LGBT Bar’s Lavender Law Career Fair and the Bay Area Diversity Fair.
This year, we welcomed a very diverse summer associate class and awarded $15,000 scholarships to two minority law school students who have completed their first year of law school.
Every summer Katten offers an eight-week paid internship for a minority first-year law student, providing hands-on experience and working directly with firm practice leaders on projects relating to key environmental and workplace safety issues and regulations that major companies regularly face, so they are well-positioned to become a summer associate in any practice area, particularly environmental law.
Additionally, Katten participates in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity 1L Scholars program. First-year law students learn firsthand what it is like to work at Katten and gain on-site work experience with major clients, gaining insight into the differences of practicing as in-house counsel versus working at a firm.
Katten understands the value of diverse attorneys in senior associate, partner and leadership positions within the firm. The firm communicates its strong commitment to hiring diverse lateral candidates to its recruiting firms and requests that whenever possible such firms identify diverse candidates for any open lateral positions.

Retention of diverse staff is a critical issue – what are the programmes your firm has in place that you feel will help retain your staff?
Katten understands that ensuring a diverse and inclusive work environment and recruiting and retaining diverse talent at all levels are critical to our success as a firm and our ability to provide our clients with the highest-quality legal services.
We actively promote a diverse culture at Katten through our recruitment, mentoring, professional development and public service programs, and encourage firm members to get involved in diversity programs both inside and outside the firm.
Katten offers a number of programs and initiatives to help its attorneys succeed.

In 2018, we achieved Mansfield Rule certification, Diversity Lab’s groundbreaking pilot program designed to help increase the representation of women and attorneys of color in law firm leadership. Certification verifies our commitment and efforts to increase the number of female and attorneys of color in significant leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions and lateral positions.

Katten is now participating in Mansfield 2.0, which includes LGBTQ+ attorneys as part of the diverse candidate pool and further ramps up the inclusion criteria. For example, the next level of the program requires consideration for client development opportunities and asks participating law firms to make appointment and election processes transparent to all attorneys in their firms.
We continue to work hard to identify attorneys with the potential to be future leaders, not only at Katten but in the legal profession. And we try to offer them the professional development tools they need. For example, Katten attorneys participate in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity's Fellows and Pathfinder programs to build relationship and leadership skills and leverage professional networks.

Katten's Women's Leadership Forum provides female attorneys with mentoring, external networking, internal relationship building and career development programs. Its National Mentoring Panel establishes strong relationships among female attorneys to further provide support and encouragement and helps them navigate the partnership track.
Additionally, the firm has formed the Partner Pipeline Committee to identify women and minorities with the greatest potential for advancement to income and capital partner, recognize any hurdles to partnership, and ensure that those hurdles are addressed. The Committee works outside the typical partner nomination process to ensure that no one gets overlooked. While firm departments consider their own talent pool for candidates, the Partner Pipeline Committee looks to identify potential partner candidates across the firm and identify any mentoring, coaching and skills or leadership training needed to help potential partner candidates overcome any obstacles to advancement.

Among Katten’s other initiatives is a sponsorship program in which firm leaders take personal accountability as sponsors to help minority attorneys achieve career goals, develop their legal, client management and business development skills, and increase their visibility within the firm and with clients.

The firm’s Diversity Business Development Initiative provides diverse attorneys with the opportunity to learn about business development strategies such as how they can leverage the firm’s diversity efforts as a tool in developing business, speaking engagements and networking with clients and other in-house counsel.

Katten’s Career Development Program ensures diverse and female associates are being given the same opportunities and level of work as their colleagues and allows them to track their work experiences against professional development benchmarks.
This year, Katten’s Diverse Attorney Leadership Summit featured a lineup of captivating guest speakers who led insightful discussions on timely topics such as effective team dynamics and the benefits of providing top-notch client service. Participants also had the opportunity to develop relationships with other attorneys and give back to the community by visiting a local Chicago Public School where they offered tips on preparing resumes, demonstrating job interview skills and coaching students through various job interview scenarios.

In another effort to continue to create an inclusive environment for our diverse attorneys, Katten’s LGBT Coalition will host the firm’s LGBT Attorney Retreat in 2019 in Philadelphia, PA. The retreat coincides with the LGBT Bar Association’s Annual Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair. At the retreat, attorneys convene to share ideas on new ways to help foster a welcoming, supportive environment for LGBT attorneys at Katten and to develop a plan to roll out new initiatives and programs.
All these programs are designed to continually attract, retain and advance our attorneys so they can be successful. When they are successful, the firm is successful.

Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to