Elliott Greenleaf’s hiring, retention and promotion policies embody the core values of the Minority Corporate Counsel of America’s Best Practices for Law Firms. Elliott Greenleaf’s long term perspective unites diversity initiatives with the firm’s business model emphasizing investment in all of the firm’s professionals.
The Firm’s proven success in diversity hiring, retention, and promotion of professionals is a strategic advantage in tapping emerging markets for new hires and in increasing productivity through the more open communication and problem-solving that is nurtured by a diverse group of employees. Its success is evident in its renown morale and historically low levels of attorney and staff attrition.
Following the generally recommended best practices in the legal field, Elliott Greenleaf exceeds the top diversity recommended practices:
Develop and communicate the business case for diversity.
Diversity is integrated into the business plan of Elliott Greenleaf, which includes at its core the long term development and retention of its lawyers and staff. Consistency in the relationship between Elliott Greenleaf and its clients leads to a stronger relationship between the firm and the clients. Long term relationships allow the firm to better provide for its clients, become experts in the client’s business and work collaboratively with their clients. Our clients’ customers, juries, and judges are more and more diverse and Elliott Greenleaf recognizes that it must take a leadership role to ensure that the lawyers that serve its clients are diverse as well.
Have senior partners take the lead
At least one of Elliott Greenleaf’s Managing Shareholders is a diverse lawyer, a Hispanic male who manages the Wilmington, Delaware office of the firm. He is the first Hispanic partner to manage any law firm in Delaware, is the founding President of the Delaware Hispanic Bar Association, and the first Hispanic lawyer to lead the Delaware State Bar Association’s Multicultural Judges and Lawyers Section. The chairperson of the Firm’s immigration practice is a Member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of India, graduate of its University of New Delhi and University of Pennsylvania, and a leading woman on immigration issues for business, as well as a member of the Board of the Montgomery County Community College Foundation. The firm’s co- hiring Shareholder also presently serves as Chairperson of The Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, the largest non-profit center for immigrants in the Delaware Valley. Other partners have been speakers regionally and nationally on the topic of diversity.
Mandate top-down diversity training
Training in diversity and inclusion is essential to build awareness and create a common language and understanding within the firm. Partners and associates at Elliott Greenleaf have provided training, and attended numerous diversity training sessions nationally and, quite prominently, within the Montgomery Bar Association where the firm is headquartered.
Elliott Greenleaf recognizes that firms serious about diversity have to reward and hold staff accountable for the success or failure of recruitment and retention initiatives. Investment in a lawyer is money wasted when attorneys leave within four years for a more supportive environment or more attractive positions at law firms or in-house departments. As such, success in diversity hiring and retention is taken into account by firm management in evaluating performance of firm personnel.
Develop mechanisms to have an effective mentoring program
Elliott Greenleaf strives to effective mentoring accessible to all attorneys. The firm is well known for its collegial atmosphere that has attracted lawyers of all levels. All lawyers are assigned one or more attorneys to assist in the new attorney’s transition into firm life.
Emphasize lateral hires
Elliott Greenleaf emphasizes attracting more senior minority attorneys to increase the firm’s chances of recruiting and retaining new attorneys of color and women. The firm recognizes that with more senior attorneys, a firm will be more desirable to entry-level attorneys and better positioned to minimize attrition.
Promote work-life balance
With almost 15% of its attorneys working part-time to address family obligations, Elliott Greenleaf is dedicated to finding creative ways to retain professionals with family obligations. Many attorneys appreciate the convenience of Elliott Greenleaf’s locations around Pennsylvania and Delaware. The firm encourages flexible hours and other options, like telecommuting, when appropriate. Part-time partners are important role models who provide a positive incentive for women and men who worry that the price for a successful career in a law firm is sacrificing family commitments. Elliott Greenleaf strives to provide a workplace that will allow the people in which they have invested to thrive without sacrificing their obligations to family.
Elliott Greenleaf advertises in minority professional publications; recruits at historically African American black law schools and is a sponsor of several Diversity Hiring Fairs; and has become more involved in community activities to enhance name recognition amongst diverse applicants. Campus recruiters are provided with in house diversity training to help them interact more effectively with diverse students. Minority attorneys are part of the firm’s decision-making process and asked to review minority resumes.
Make diversity-related activities billable
Elliott Greenleaf encourages participation in all community, professional and civic activities that the lawyer finds personally enriching. The firm encourages and rewards participation and leadership in bar associations, whether minority or majority. The firm also encourages any attorney to approach the firm leadership with proposals for recognition of diversity related activities to advance the firm’s profile and develop the lawyer professionally. Elliott Greenleaf acknowledges that diversity contributes to the firm’s bottom line and to the advancement of its attorneys.
Equal treatment programs
Elliott Greenleaf professionals receive significant client visibility and are encouraged to develop professional and mentor relationships with senior law firm attorneys and clients. Elliott Greenleaf works to ensure that all of attorneys are active participants in the client relationship.
Creating Pathways to Diversity: A Set of Recommended Practices for Law Firms published by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (“MCCA”) in its Best Practices series in 2000, also known as the MCCA “Blue Book.”