Richard Cortizas

Richard Cortizas
Partner and Chair of Diversity Committee

Jones Walker LLP
Headquarters: New Orleans, LA
Business: Legal Services

Jones Walker LLP strives to encourage and increase diversity across the firm. Its Diversity Committee has adopted the goal of fostering a work environment that welcomes different perspectives, backgrounds and life experiences, and ensures that an individual’s professional growth, experience, or advancement is not limited because of gender, race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, or other similar factor.

Over the past several years, Jones Walker has made a conscious effort to build a pipeline of female leaders within the firm. In 2018, after a reorganization of many of its practice groups and teams, the firm promoted a significant number of female attorneys to team leader, chairperson, and office head roles, where they enjoy greater visibility and management responsibilities. The Houston office is a great example of the firm’s successful diversity efforts: more than 50 percent of the attorneys in that office are women, a rate significantly higher than the Texas State Bar statewide average of 35 percent.

In 2018, Jones Walker was successful in ongoing efforts to recruit diverse attorneys. Out of ten new associates hired by the firm this fall, eight were women. Additionally, many women attorneys from across the firm won awards and accolades in their communities, earning recognition for their accomplishments.

Jones Walker’s Diversity Committee, chaired by partner Richard Cortizas, plays a key role in helping the firm recruit, retain, and advance lawyers and professional staff from diverse backgrounds. In 2019, the Committee will continue to build a pipeline of diverse professional staff, provide mentoring and coaching opportunities to aid in career advancement, grow D&I-centered professional development programming, and strengthen relationships with community organizations to provide Jones Walker employees opportunities to participate in D&I initiatives, both hosted and sponsored by the firm.

The Committee also plans to foster awareness about diversity efforts internally and externally in order to emphasize the importance of diversity in the firm’s culture; increase external awareness of D&I efforts through social media campaigns to communicate to current clients, future clients, and future employees that D&I is central to the firm’s mission and success; and increase nominations for awards and honors recognizing the firm’s diversity efforts and the achievements of diverse members of the Jones Walker team.