Director of Global Diversity & Inclusion, Reed Smith LLP
Headquarters: Pittsburgh, PA
Business: Law Firm
CEO: Alexander Y. Thomas
REED SMITH’S STEADFAST GLOBAL DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION COMMITMENT
As one of the largest law firms in the world, Reed Smith LLP recognizes that diversity at all levels of an organization creates a successful enterprise. “We have an unwavering commitment to diversity, with principles of fairness and inclusion permeating our culture,” Reed Smith’s Director of Global Diversity & Inclusion Deborah Broyles said.
As a leader in the diversity and inclusion arena, the firm showcases the talent of its diverse attorneys and partners with organizations in the legal sector and the community to ensure the firm’s D&I efforts benefit more than just the firm. “We connect the diversity leaders of tomorrow with the business leaders of today,” Broyles said.
Under her leadership, the firm is steadfast in its commitment in 26 offices across three continents toward creating a diverse global workforce operating in an inclusive environment. Through global growth and expansion efforts the company has witnessed that diversity has different meanings and sensitivities. “We leverage the market-specific knowledge and experience of our colleagues concerning the cultural norms applicable to various parts of the world, Broyles said.
TRAILBLAZER IN DIVERSITY IN LEGAL PROFESSSION
Broyles directs Reed Smith’s global D&I Initiative and leads its D&I Committee, which consists of up to 20 partners across the firm, including the Director of Global D&I, a U.S. and a UK Vice Chair, market chairs in each U.S. Reed Smith office, an Abu Dhabi and Dubai market chair, and sub-committee chairs for recruiting; retention and promotion; mentoring and sponsorship; business development and marketing; and training. Partner and associate liaisons from the firm’s six affinity groups (African American/Black, Asian, Hispanic/Latina, LGBT, Disability, and Veterans) also serve on the D&I Committee.
The firm’s D&I Initiative embodies the following core values at all levels of the organization: integrity, quality, teamwork and respect, performance, and innovation and improvement. “These support our vision and drive our success,” she said.
As a trailblazer in diversity efforts in the legal profession, Broyles has contributed significantly to the success of Reed Smith’s D&I efforts over the last seven years. Among her recent accolades, she received the State Board of California’s 2015 Diversity Award and was inducted in the California Counsel Program’s Diversity Leader Hall of Fame.
“Our success is not determined by client engagements, profits or recognition, but is determined by how we achieve success for our clients in our representations of them and their businesses and our support and recognition of clients’ diverse and inclusive interests,” she said.
To ensure that diversity and inclusion have the greatest possible impact within the organization, Reed Smith focuses on raising awareness regarding implicit bias and micro-inequities. Broyles said this helps people realize how their unconscious biases can influence decision-making and it develops techniques to interrupt those biases.
AFFINITY GROUP PROGRAM
The firm provides regular D&I communications, firm-wide diversity training, and recognition of the accomplishments of its minority and women attorneys worldwide. It has a formal Affinity Group Program focusing on the interests and professional needs of its Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/ Latino, LGBT, disabled, and veteran attorneys. Historically, the firm’s affinity groups have formed organically and informally to advance the goals and address the concerns of diverse constituents within the firm.
Broyles shared examples including, the LGBT Subcommittee efforts resulted in Reed Smith being one of the first large law firms to provide full domestic partner benefits to its LGBT colleagues. Another example is the African American Affinity Group’s efforts focusing on partner mentoring of African American associates in professional development, workflow, and business development. The partner members focus on sponsorship of African American attorneys who are in the pipeline for partnership, as well as lateral hiring. The group’s efforts have resulted in the promotion of African American attorneys and the addition of African American partners in offices throughout the firm.
“Our priority is to recruit, retain and promote individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, veteran status or physical challenge, because it is precisely these unique qualities that bring value to our organization and clients,” Broyles said. “Diversity is the celebration of each individual’s uniqueness,” she added.
“We are committed to developing our diverse attorneys through scholarships, mentoring, education, networking, life-work balance, and opportunities to be involved and do meaningful work,” Broyles said.
HIGHLIGHTS OF REED SMITH’S RECENT D&I RECOGNITION INCLUDE:
- Profiles in Diversity Journal – Diversity Leader Award
- Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index – 100 percent perfect score
- BEST Places to Work for LGBT Equality
- Working Mother – Best Law Firms For Women and Flex-Time Lawyers
- (WILEF) – Women in Law Empowerment Forum Gold Standard Certified
- The American Lawyer – Eight Firms Where Women Thrive
- Legal Week – UK’s Best Legal Global Firms Employers
- Financial Times and InterLaw Diversity Forum’s Apollo Project – Architect of Meritocracy
- Legal Innovation Awards – winner in the ‘Diversity Innovation’ category
- Financial Times – OUTstanding LGBT, Ally and Future Business Leaders
- California Minority Counsel Program – Diversity Leader Hall of Fame
- State Bar of California Diversity Award
- Brummell Magazine – Top 30 Inspirational Women Champions of Diversity
- Savoy Magazine – Most Influential Black Lawyers of the year.