In 2017, before “Black Lives Matter” became a household phrase, Kutak Rock attorneys began attending anti-bias, anti-racist seminars hosted by firm client U.S. Bank Community Development Corporation in conjunction with Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training.
Wanting to continue the conversation, the firm trained a group of attorneys and staff to be facilitators for small dialogue groups reading Dr. Dolly Chugh’s book The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias. The guided discussions gave attorneys and staff the language and knowledge they needed to begin or continue their anti-bias, anti-racism journeys.
In September 2020 after the firm’s entire Executive Committee completed the first Dolly Chugh dialogue group, Kutak Rock reached out to US Bank’s Law Division and Crossroads to design a program aimed at addressing issues within large law firms and corporate legal departments.
Specifically, Kutak Rock wanted a seminar with more information about how racism and bias in the legal system have impacted and continue to impact equity and equal opportunity—particularly in asset development, financing transactions, and the day-to-day work of large legal organizations. The firm also wanted to create a seminar that explored what can be done to impact and create change at organizational and industry levels.
Less than a year later and with the full support of firm leadership, Kutak Rock piloted the Large Legal Anti-Bias Anti-Racism (LLABAR) seminar with Crossroads and members of the U.S. Bank Law Division in June 2021. To date there have been seven sessions with 68 Kutak Rock and 78 US Bank employees participating in the seven-hour seminar. The program has received overwhelmingly positive reviews.
In 2022 the firm and Crossroads are offering a seat at the LLABAR seminar to every person who has completed a Dolly Chugh dialogue group. For those who have completed both the dialogue group and the LLABAR seminar, the firm provides a six-week follow-up course called be “Ways of Working: Instilling the LLABAR Transformative Values at Kutak Rock.”
For more information on any of these programs, including upcoming seminar dates, please contact Inclusiveness and Diversity Manager Miriam Blair.
Fostering an Inclusive Environment
Each year, the firm’s Training and Education group offers a training program for attorneys and staff in each of the firm’s offices.
This year's training opportunity, entitled, “Fostering an Inclusive Workplace: Authenticity and Civil Engagement,” presented three primary components of an inclusive work environment and highlighted direct feedback from our firm wide 2016 inclusiveness survey, completed by 734 attorneys and staff members.
Throughout the presentation, skills were learned to build a more inclusive working environment through the use of the three primary components – authenticity, civility and professionalism – which lead to increased engagement, job satisfaction and productivity.
Following the presentation, attendees were able to reflect on what it means to encourage authenticity in an office setting and the importance of balancing different perspectives and opinions, all while valuing individuals and treating everyone with dignity and respect.