Katherine Tapley

Katherine Tapley
U.S. Chief of Diversity and Inclusion

Norton Rose Fulbright
Headquarters: Houston; New York; London
Industry: Law Firm
CEO: Jeff Cody, Managing Partner
Website: www.nortonrosefulbright.com/en-us

Credentials: J.D., St. Mary’s University School of Law; B.A., B.J., The University of Texas at Austin

Philosophy: While we are proud of the strides we have made toward greater gender and racial equity, we cannot rest idly on that progress. We must fortify the infrastructure we have developed, continuing to cultivate and foster programs that ensure a culture that is not just equal, but aggressively fair.

That progress included launching a pilot sponsorship program in 2021 that pairs each Black non-partner with an established partner along with a partner advocate. Designed to maximize the opportunities for Black non-partner lawyers to succeed, participants almost universally reported an enhanced sense of belonging and engagement. That level of success inspired the launch of two additional programs: the Leadership Development Program (LDP) and the Mid-Level Development Program (MDP).

The LDP, a one-year sponsorship program for minority and female leaders, aims to enhance firm succession planning activities and develop a strong pipeline of minority and female leaders as they look towards partnership. The MDP is a two-year sponsorship program that pairs racially/ethnically diverse associates with partners and advocates who will guide them through the program in preparation for their next career stage.

There is also a Pipeline Program that collaborates with multiple universities by providing resources for diverse students interested in law school, such as help with resume writing, interviewing and networking.

We also participate in a mentorship program that pairs attorneys with diverse students from the University of Texas School of Law throughout an entire school year. The programs include spending part of their summer at the firm. The efforts have been demonstrably successful. Our 2022 Summer Associate class included 46 women and 41 racially/ ethnically diverse students.