Ahmed J. Davis
Fish & Richardson Diversity Initiative Chairman
Fish & Richardson
Headquarters: Boston, MA
Business: Intellectual Property Law
CEO: Peter Devlin
LAW FIRM ENRICHING BUSINESS WITH COLLECTIVE EXPERIENCES
Fish & Richardson knows well that people from different backgrounds contribute to a diverse mindset and it ultimately leads to better business decisions. The firm also knows its people are its best asset.
“Diversity at our firm enriches our experience together; it allows us to draw upon our collective experiences and wisdom to be better lawyers and, quite frankly, better people,” says Ahmed J. Davis, a principal at Fish & Richardson and the national chair of its Diversity Initiative.
D&I is an integral part of the firm and reflected in its long-standing commitment to building and sustaining an inclusive environment. Under Davis’ leadership, the firm’s primary Diversity Initiative links together a variety of programs and offerings that support recruitment, retention, professional development, and outreach. They’re all designed to attract, retain and advance a diverse legal staff.
“We recognize that diverse backgrounds provide unique perspectives that result in new and better solutions, and having a diverse team that reflects the diversity of the public arena enhances the quality of legal services we provide to our clients,” Davis said. “We also recognize the importance of fostering a work environment that values the diversity of experiences, perspectives, capabilities and talents of each member of the firm and contributes to a firm fabric and culture of intentional inclusion,” he added.
SUSTAINABLE INCLUSIVE ENVIRONMENT
Davis said the need for diverse lawyers to serve diverse individuals and interests is prevalent in the criteria businesses use for selecting law firms. “Businesses are demanding that law firms explain how they will utilize a diverse team to meet the client’s business goals,” he said. One example he shares is an understanding of the unique differences in representing Japanese versus Korean clients in the United States’ legal system can be increased when members of the legal team come from those cultures.
Globalization has changed the paradigm of diversity and inclusion, according to Davis. “In this new paradigm, law firms risk missing business development and client relation opportunities if they fail to appreciate decision makers’ backgrounds and their diversity inclusion goals,” Davis said.
At Fish & Richardson, the firm’s 18-member Diversity Committee is primarily responsible for the development, implementation and oversight of a broad range of diversity and inclusion efforts. The committee also manages diversity workgroups, focusing on specific areas such as best practices, recruitment and pipeline initiatives, retention, mentoring, internal advancement, communications and outreach.
The firm encourages and supports several internal affinity groups – including its Asian Legal Staff Affinity Group, Black Legal Staff Affinity Group, LGBT Affinity Group, and Hispanic/Latino Affinity Group. All are influential in fostering a sense of community among professionals who share common interests or backgrounds and providing additional networking, mentoring, career and business development opportunities. The firm also has a formal women’s initiative, EMPOWER, that addresses issues of importance to women in the legal profession, provide tools and resources that enhance their personal and professional development, and position them for success.
While this just touches the surface of the firm’s extensive D&I initiates, Davis said with the firms’ programs and the full commitment of its leadership to the importance of diversity, Fish & Richardson is well-positioned for its clients in an increasingly global world.
HIGHLIGHTS OF FISH & RICHARDSON’S RECENT D&I RECOGNITION INCLUDE:
- Profiles in Diversity Journal – Diversity Leader Award
- Ranked Top Law Firm for Diversity, American Lawyer Diversity Scorecard
- Named a Top Firm for Minority Attorneys by Law360 – Top 100 Law Firms for Minority Attorneys and Top 25 Firms for Asian-American Attorneys
- 100 percent on Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index.
- Vault, Inc.- Best Law Firms for Diversity, Top 25 List for Minorities, Top 25 List for Individuals with Disabilities, and Top 25 List for Military Veterans