Biglaw Firm Introduces ‘Diversity Hours’ That Count Toward Associate Billable Requirements

lawyers diversity

Year in and year out, we watch law firm after law firm pay lip service to their commitment to diversity in the legal profession, with promises to recruit, retain, and promote more minority attorneys. Despite these continued assurances, and despite the fact that a number of firms have made great efforts to improve the stature of their diverse hires in the law, there is still much more to be done. On the bright side, one firm hopes to make its pledge to increase diversity and inclusion a major priority.

Dorsey & Whitney is hoping to make diversity in the workplace a reality by introducing a new “diversity hours” policy. “We’ve long said that we valued diversity and inclusion,” William Stoeri, the firm’s managing partner, said. “We were looking for a way to reward those who put time and effort toward it.”

The American Lawyer has some additional details on Dorsey’s new policy:

Just as firms often encourage pro bono work by allowing attorneys to record those hours as billable and count toward an annual goal, Dorsey will now allow diversity-related work, activities and training to count toward billable hours requirements.

The policy is retroactive to January of 2019 and includes up to 50 billable hours to be spent on activities such as attending internal and external diversity educational sessions, participating in the firm’s internal affinity groups or representing Dorsey at client-facing diversity events or trainings.

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