diversity & inclusion
Anyone who has ever felt marginalized by the actions of others understands and shares a thirst for the bedrock principles behind the diversity and inclusion movement that has been sweeping our nation. Not being picked for a team, facing the horror of racism, being labeled with a stereotype . . . the hurtful opposing forces to inclusion have persisted in society for thousands of years, and the legal industry is not immune to its reprehensible presence. In fact, MSK was founded by individuals who, at the time in 1908, were not welcomed in traditional firms, creating an atmosphere and culture rooted in diversity from the very beginning.
Our commitment to diversity and inclusion continues more than 100 years later with modernized perspective. It extends well beyond a compassion and the “right thing to do” frequently associated with political correctness. It’s also more than just providing a face for our firm that better reflects the evolving faces of our clients. We believe the inclusive perspective of diversity creates a better organization and provides us the basis for producing better results for our clients.
As trusted advisors to our clients, we’re expected to solve problems with innovative thinking and action. One of MSK’s core values is innovation. Numerous organizational studies have shown that a company committed to innovation performs better and drives greater innovative outcomes when it is led by a diverse team. That’s because of the process individuals go through to arrive at decisions and formulate ideas. They are influenced by their surroundings, upbringing, social views, and individual experiences. This naturally develops into collaborative combinations of ideas and results.
MSK experiences this daily from team members representing every demographic through their involvement in firm issues, ranging from gender equity to part-time policies to work allocation. Diversity permeates the leadership ranks of our organization, with more than 50% of practice group chairs and 40% of the firm’s governing board being of diverse background.
Diversity and inclusion leads to better organizational outcomes, from innovation to profits. Being around people who are different from us, whether by race, gender, sexual orientation or past experiences, promotes creativity in thinking and attentiveness to organizational excellence and progress. Consciously discussing and embracing diversity in and of itself heightens awareness and leads to better organizational results. A diverse group of people is far more likely to raise non-obvious issues and come up with innovative approaches to any given situation or problem. Some organizations find this process to be disruptive. Not at MSK. We embrace the organizational theory because we know it leads to better conclusions.
Our Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Committee influences all decisions we make at the firm. It is not an isolated initiative or afterthought of our business. We think about diversity 24/7, from our hiring decisions to vendor selection to our client communication and events we host. Our commitment to diversity also extends beyond the firm and aims to benefit the broader community and legal profession. In 2008, MSK celebrated its 100-Year Anniversary by endowing a $100,000 scholarship fund to financially assist socio-economically disadvantaged students attending the UCLA School of Law. Endowing the Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp Edward Rubin & Norma Zarky Endowed Scholarship Fund, honoring the memories of two seminal figures in the history of MSK, the firm demonstrated its commitment to reinvesting some of its good fortune into the lives of promising law students who need a helping hand in order to pursue their dreams of a legal career. We also give significant scholarships to diverse law students through various organizations, including the Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and support the Community Pipeline Program, in connection with UCLA.
With the firm’s Chairman and Vice-Chairman serving on the D&I committee, as well as having strong presence of diversity on the firm’s governing board, the firm continues seeking new ways of pushing the boundaries of diversity and inclusion to the betterment of our firm, its members, our clients, and society.
Diversity Leader Award featured in Profiles in Diversity Journal 2016 Issue