Joseph M. Leccese

Joseph M. Leccese
Chairman, Proskauer Rose LLP

Headquarters: New York City
Primary Business: Law
Revenues: $736 million
Employees: 1,500

Practicing Diversity as We Practice Law

Proskauer’s commitment to diversity, like our commitment to public service and pro bono work, is a core firm value.

Many of our lawyers are the children and grandchildren of those who experienced firsthand the fundamental unfairness of judgments based on assumption or bias rather than merit. We are committed to ensuring that each individual has the opportunity to reach his or her potential at our firm, so that we are not deprived of their talents and they are not deprived of opportunity.

Diversity enriches our daily experience by allowing us to incorporate a variety of backgrounds and experiences into the fabric of our organization. These differences provide fresh perspectives that generate creative solutions for clients.

Clients expect the innovative thinking that diversity engenders. They also expect their outside counsel to mirror the demographics of their own workforce and stakeholders.

A commitment to diversity starts at the top and extends throughout the firm. It is a key factor in the firm-wide strategic plan and a priority at executive committee meetings, partner assemblies, and associate forums. It is reflected in a broad range of firm-sponsored affinity groups and it permeates recruiting, staffing, and mentoring initiatives.

To expand our talent pool, we began the Silver Scholar Program, named after former Proskauer chairman Edward Silver, who was a champion of employment fairness, diversity, and equal opportunity. Under the program, eligible law students receive a summer associate position in our firm and a cash-award opportunity of up to $30,000.

This commitment involves long-term investment. We are active, longtime supporters of programs that recruit college students of color for law careers and high school programs that build excitement about attending college and law school among diverse students.

We also recognize that there is always room for improvement and hold ourselves accountable for ongoing progress. The different backgrounds, perspectives, and life lessons of our people reach far and wide. By building a culture that respects and harnesses their collective talents, skills, and experiences, we will continue to meet clients’ expectations, while strengthening our firm and enhancing the opportunities for all employees to achieve their full potential.

Education: BA, Georgetown University; JD, University of Virginia Law School
First Job: Delivery boy
What I’m Reading: On China, by Henry Kissinger
My Philosophy: Transparency is the best color.
Best Advice: Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
Interests: Sports (it’s my living)