Company: Best Best & Krieger LLP
Diversity Team Name: Best Best & Krieger Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee
Diversity Team Leader(s): Chief Talent Officer Danielle Sakai
What Makes this Diversity Team Stand Out
Best Best & Krieger has a long history of diverse makeup and inclusive culture, which today is formally bolstered by BB&K’s active Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee. Spearheaded by partners Sonia Carvalho, Mrunal Shah, Alisha Winterswyk, and Chief Talent Officer Danielle Sakai, the committee and its Firm Culture and Community Outreach subcommittees facilitate ongoing opportunities for BB&K’s attorneys and staff to learn, champion, and candidly discuss relevant DEI topics. Some of the firm’s 2022 initiatives include:
- Black History Month observance, which included a “Journey to the Bench” Black judges panel, cooking class with the New Orleans School of Cooking, Black History Month trivia night, and daily “On this Day in Black History” emails
- Women’s History Month observance, which included “BB&K Women Pioneer” tributes
- Volunteer Month observance, which included a volunteer spotlight series and regional volunteering resources
- Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month observance, which included a roundtable with San Diego State University professor and San Diego Asian Film Festival Director Brian Hu, a “Stopping AAPI Hate” roundtable with AAPI Equity Alliance Managing Director Candice Cho, and cooking class with BB&K’s Anya Kwan
Additionally, over the past several years, the firm has hosted roundtables, workshops, and training sessions on gender bias, law enforcement and racial tensions, Hispanic heritage, the Americans with Disabilities Act, LGBTQIA history and importance of pronouns, the intergenerational workplace, and more.
To enhance firm recruiting and professional development, BB&K’s Recruiting Committee works in tandem with the DEI Committee to recruit, hire, retain, and promote minority and underrepresented attorneys and staff. BB&K’s detailed core competencies plan incorporates important aspects of diversity training and procedures to ensure associates are well rounded, hone their talents, and contribute to the firm and community in meaningful ways.
BB&K also works to foster interest in legal careers among diverse student populations with programs such as a Law 101 event for student members of Senator Connie Leyva’s Young Senators Program. The firm recently expanded its already robust Summer Associate Program to include on-campus interviews at several historically Black colleges and universities, and this year, launched the annual Arthur Littleworth Diversity Scholarship, which will provide an incoming college freshman interested in a water law career with $10,000 in funds. For over a decade, BB&K has also held a Diversity Fellowship/Scholarship Program, which provides a $7,500 paid summer associate position with BB&K.
BB&K’s attorneys are often invited to present at external diversity events, and the firm annually receives high marks nationally for diversity, most recently these:
American Lawyer’s Diversity Scorecard
- #12 Overall
- #6 for Percentage of Minority Equity Partners
- Law360’s Diversity Snapshot (101-250 attorneys category)
- #6 Overall
- #4 for Percentage of Minority Equity Partners
- #9 for Percentage of Minority Associates
National Law Journal
- #13 on Women in Law Scorecard
BB&K is proud of its progress in diversity and inclusion, but recognizes there is more work to be done. The bedrock principle of the legal system is that everyone must be treated equally under the law. The firm celebrates DEI successes, but remains committed to continual improvement.