The Minneapolis firm of Greene Espel is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to diversity and inclusion.
According to Ethelind Kaba, the firm’s marketing manager, about two-thirds of its attorneys are women, people of color or LGBTQ. About a quarter of their attorneys are people of color. Last year Law360 recognized Greene Espel as one of the best 50 firms in the nation for minority equity partners.
That’s by design, she said.
“We didn’t always reflect the communities we serve that well,” said Kaba. “The results we see now come from genuine efforts to do better in hiring, promotion and retention.”
Along with hitting hiring targets, the firm has been remaking its summer program, working with Twin Cities Diversity in Practice and client partners to help bring in diverse summer associates and clerks.
Last year Greene Espel organized an event with filmmaker Sharon Rowe for a screening of her film “Balancing the Scales,” a documentary that looks at the history of women lawyers in the United States and their struggles to break through the glass ceiling.
The firm’s efforts have also extended to how attorneys are promoted. Grene Espel studied research showing that women lawyers receive more subjective, critical feedback than male attorneys and that diverse attorneys receive less helpful feedback generally.
To help overhaul its review system, attorney Jenny Gassman-Pines assessed Greene Espels past review forms, identified instances of bias, and trained all our attorneys on how bias can affect feedback.
“Diversity in the practice of law is relatively new,” said Kaba. “We’re trying to make sure that we’re being thoughtful to market in in an authentic way.”
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