Diversity Team Name: FordHarrison Diversity & Inclusion
Diversity Team Leader: Dawn Siler-Nixon
In 2009, Dawn Siler-Nixon became FordHarrison’s diversity & inclusion partner, charged with leading the firm’s national strategic diversity plan. Over 11 years, Dawn has created a Diversity Team, comprising partners, firm leadership, and staff, which has made significant progress in weaving D&I into the fabric of the firm’s culture. Innovation and industry awards are the two areas where the team’s contributions are most evident.
- Diversity Pipeline Initiative focuses on recruitment/ long-term retention of minorities and lateral attorneys. An incentive bonus is paid to FordHarrison attorneys who facilitate the successful hire of a minority candidate. The incentive is paid over three years and conditioned on mentoring and the minority attorney’s continued employment.
- The Women Leaders Forum is an invitation-only event, bringing together C-Suite, in-house counsel, HR executives, and Ford- Harrison’s female partners to partake in thought-provoking conversations that address issues impacting senior female executives, in a relaxed setting. The participants engage in deep, raw conversations about workplace and personal dilemmas only experienced by women at the highest leadership levels.
The Diversity Team ensures FordHarrison’s involvement with D&I organizations that are impacting the culture of our workplaces and world, including Corporate Counsel Women of Color, Minority Corporate Counsel Association, National Employment Law Council, National Diversity Council, National Bar Association, and Anti-Defamation League, among others. The Team solicits, vets, and approves lawyer attendance. In addition to providing feedback and resources following the events, The Team prepares and disseminates internal and external publication of firm involvement with these organizations. Team members also work to select diverse firm representatives for major firm conferences, such as the Association for Corporate Counsel’s Annual Meeting.
The Team maintains a strong connection with the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD). Each year since 2015, the Team has appointed a diverse attorney to serve as the annual LCLD Fellow and in 2020 appointed the firm’s first LCLD Pathfinder. In addition, for the past four years, the Team selected and the firm hosted 1L summer scholars and partnered with LCLD to mentor law students.
Each year since 2013, the firm’s holiday card raises funds for socioeconomically disadvantaged groups. From 2013 through 2017, the funds were donated to the FordHarrison School in Cambodia, a primary school in one of the poorest areas of Cambodia developed and funded by FordHarrison. In 2018 and 2019, the holiday card supported Habitat for Humanity International, helping to build homes for those in need.
Industry Awards Earned
The Diversity Team is instrumental in FordHarrison’s receipt of accolades and acknowledgements, locally and nationally. Some of the most recent recognitions include the following:
- The National Law Journal – #5 on the 2019 Women’s Scorecard
- Law360 – #6 on the “Best Law Firms for Female Attorneys” list among firms with 50–149 lawyers, and #10 on the “The Best Law Firms for Female Partners” list among firms with 50–149 lawyers.
- Profiles in Diversity Journal – 2020 Top 10 Innovations in Diversity Awards (for Women Leaders Forum)
- Profiles in Diversity Journal – Women Worth Watching recognitions in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019