Moving the Needle, Together
From all over the United States, Inclusiveness and Diversity Committee members take inclusiveness and diversity seriously, with a focus on systems and structures and developing and following a firmwide inclusiveness and diversity strategic plan. However, the 11 Committee members themselves will tell you that at Kutak Rock, it’s about encouraging every individual to participate vis a vie whatever role they have in the firm and in their community.
The result is the Firm’s Inclusiveness and Diversity Forum: an effort involving hundreds of people across Kutak Rock in a host of activities. Everyone at the firm is welcome to participate in and help shape training and education programs, affinity group activities, and pipeline programs for young people.
Ed Gonzales, Co-Chair
"Kutak Rock's diversity and inclusiveness efforts have not only led to real change across the firm, but they have also strengthened the core of the firm and the communities we are involved in."
Drew Marlar, Co-Chair
"I've seen the results of the firm's ongoing efforts: better client services, innovative thinking and a welcoming atmosphere that fosters collaboration. Our past success paints a bright future for the firm as we move further into the 21st century fully committed to equality."
Serving on the National Inclusiveness and Diversity Committee has afforded me a front row seat to the commitment at Kutak Rock to promoting a diverse environment and nurturing a culture of inclusion.
The firm strives to create and support a diverse workforce in every career stage. We start by enlightening young minds to “the law” through pipeline groups, courtroom visits and our annual “Law Day.” Then the firm follows up with diversity-oriented outreach and other events designed to inspire young people from disadvantaged communities to consider legal careers. These efforts continue through training in, education about, recruitment through, sponsorship of, and membership in a number of diversity-related organizations.
In addition to seeding the pipeline with potential future lawyers, Kutak Rock endeavors to hire and retain women and minorities and promote qualified members of each group to regional and firmwide leadership positions. Through the firm’s forum, made up of over 20 affinity and pipeline groups, the firm also gives a voice to traditionally underrepresented firm populations on matters relating to promotion and leadership, education and training, and mentoring and policy development. These diversity and inclusiveness efforts have not only led to real change across the firm, but they have also strengthened the core of Kutak Rock and the communities we are involved in, while earning the firm some awards and accolades from peers and watch groups along the way.
We have made great progress, and together we hope to continue to effect meaningful and longstanding positive changes throughout the firm and its related communities.
Drew Marlar is a public finance and housing partner in Atlanta. He joined Kutak Rock in the late ’90s and for some that was just yesterday. For others, it feels like a lifetime ago. This is especially true when the unit of measurement is how far we’ve come in establishing equal rights.
The firm has always been a very welcoming place, but I’ve seen it become even more so, especially in the last five years.
“I wouldn’t say I felt this way when I first arrived in 1999 for a couple reasons. When I got here, it was just a different time. It’s a conservative profession. When I went to the first holiday party with my partner at the time, other people had brought their partners, too. I realized I was walking into a firm culture that was already accepting. Everyone made us feel very comfortable.”