Brandon E. Vaughn
Robins Kaplan LLP
Headquarters: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Business: Legal Services
“We serve our clients most effectively when we tackle challenges from diverse perspectives,” explains Chairman Martin R. Lueck. “We are committed to enhancing our diversity at every opportunity, and fostering an inclusive culture that thrives on different ideas, backgrounds, and experiences.”
Robins Kaplan’s Leaders Engaged in the Advancement of Diversity (LEAD) is an ongoing initiative meant to empower firm leaders to take ownership of diversity through training, action-plan development, and regular meetings to hold each other accountable. Because parity among executive leadership starts by ensuring that attorneys of both genders are given equal opportunities to succeed, LEAD incorporates policies and procedures designed to ensure that all of the firm’s attorneys are able to find success and advancement, including paid parental leave and eliminating bias in work allocation.
As Diversity Committee co-chair, Brandon Vaughn focuses on improving the firm’s ability to attract, recruit, and retain diverse attorneys. He also encourages open dialogue about issues of racial justice and inclusion, and starts crucial conversations that are ignored in many law firms.
Within the past year, Vaughn successfully increased the firm’s participation in a clerkship program offered by the nonprofit Diverse Attorney Pipeline Program, which seeks to improve the diversity pipeline for women attorneys of color, establish metrics to measure firm diversity efforts, and provide mentoring and career counseling to women, associates of color, and law students. He has also brought together the firm’s attorneys of color and in-house attorneys of color, hosting a dinner at his home to build new connections in the community.
In 2019, Vaughn will step into the additional role of Recruiting Committee chair. In this position, he will carefully adhere to and promote the firm’s policies for considering diverse candidates in the hiring process, including the well-established Rooney Rule, which ensures a diverse slate of candidates is considered for all lateral associate positions. This approach allows the firm to look beyond the traditional lateral-hire sources and leverage diverse networks more effectively.