Kutak Rock is pleased to present its 2021 Inclusiveness, Diversity and Engagement Annual Report featuring the firm’s ongoing and evolving commitment to diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. From its founding in 1965 to today, Kutak Rock has consistently striven to promote equity and effect meaningful systemic change for and among the attorneys and staff who comprise Kutak Rock, and the communities in which members live and serve.
“We’ve been sensitive to the dangerous attraction of declaring our dedication to equity and diversity without having to do the hard work involved in helping to achieve it, and we’ve challenged ourselves to recognize and act on that distinction,” said Kutak Rock Chair Jay Selanders. “This past year was no exception.”
Vice Chair John Petr concurred. “We’re grateful for and proud of the work and collaboration that helped us launch the first Large Legal Anti-Bias Anti-Racism (LLABAR) Seminar. It was created to educate and inform members of private law firms and in-house corporate legal departments about how racism and bias in the legal system have impacted and continue to impact equity and equal opportunity. Further, the seminar also explores what those large legal institutions can do to identify and confront bias and racism to create meaningful change at organizational and industry levels.”
Placing emphasis on the notion that it takes all of us to keep pushing forward, the 2021 report reflects the firm’s National Inclusiveness and Diversity Committee’s (NIDC) progress toward completion of the firm’s fourth three-year strategic plan. This report covers the second year of the current plan, which includes changes made to recruiting and hiring, strengthening firm systems to ensure equity in promotion and leadership, and bolstering the efforts of the firm’s affinity groups and educational programming. The NIDC has doubled down on inclusiveness, equity, anti-bias and anti-racism work in its current strategic plan.
In fact, the 2021 report introduces several new programs and initiatives, including:
- Large Legal Anti-Bias, Anti-Racism (LLABAR) seminars: Designed in conjunction with firm client U.S. Bank Community Development Corporation and an ABAR training organization called Crossroads, Kutak Rock wanted to develop a seminar with 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. The pilot was a success, and the seminar is now available to the legal community at large.
- Career Support Initiative: The new Career Support Committee promotes the firm’s numerous career support resources, along with professional development, volunteering, well-being (see below) and mindfulness. It created a Career Support Catalog that details resources available to firm members to address financial health, mental health, physical health, firm and community involvement, and personal and professional goal-setting and development.
- Well-Being Initiative: Kutak Rock recognizes the importance of encouraging its members to find balance in their lives. Beginning in October 2021, the firm officially launched the Well-Being Initiative to emphasize the importance of attending to individual well-being and highlighting the tools and resources available at the firm to address personal issues and support mental and physical health. Activities included a kick-off webinar called “Foundations of Mental Well-Being in the Workplace,” and each week firm members receive a supportive themed message that provides tools, resources, links to timely and informative articles, quizzes, challenges, etc.
This year’s report also details work being done at the grassroots level through our affinity groups, our philanthropic arm KutakCares, trainings, seminars, and some of the firm’s outside recognitions.
We invite you to browse our annual report and we welcome your feedback on our progress and where we are headed. Further, we invite you to reach out with ways we might collaborate to keep pushing the needle forward toward equity in law and in our communities.