Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Action Plan
In November 2015, our Executive Committee adopted a Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Action Plan. All Firm constituencies contributed to the Strategic Action Plan, which identifies several priority areas (legal recruitment, attorney and staff advancement, practice and professional development, and work/life balance issues) and includes goals and strategies for achieving these goals, and benchmarks against which we measure our progress. The Action Plan is intended to be one that is organic and evolving over time, with an update proposed for the five-year anniversary, in November 2020. While there is still much to accomplish, we are proud of the progress we are making toward our goals:
Conversations and Learning
ABA’s 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge©
The entire Nutter community was invited to participate in this challenge, created by Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr., PhD, designed to assist participants in further educating themselves about the quest for racial equity in America. A “safe space” discussion will take place at the end of the challenge to provide an opportunity for further dialogue.
Co-sponsored with the Northeast Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, Nutter hosted a half-day summit in 2017 entitled “The Diversity Imperative – Developing Successful Strategies to Achieve Diversity Leadership within the Legal Profession”. The Summit included panel discussions with diversity professionals from the private, corporate and public legal sector including GC from Johnson & Johnson, Biogen, MassMutual, Fidelity, Sanofi Genzyme. Our keynote speaker was Carol Fulp, then President and CEO of The Partnership.
Nutter Speaker Series for Diversity and Inclusion
This series was founded in 2013 to promote a dialogue and greater understanding of diversity related issues within the various law school communities in Boston. Each year, local law school affinity groups are invited to submit a program proposal for Firm sponsorship. Programs have included resume and interview workshops, training programs for building mentoring relationships between law students from traditionally underrepresented groups and practicing lawyers, programs focused on access to justice among different demographics, and other programs intended to foster conversations about diversity and inclusion issues relevant to law students. In recent years, several of our applicants joined Northeastern to create the Taking Space Conference, a day-long event bringing law students from traditionally underrepresented groups together with attorneys of color, and providing the students with career planning strategies, including the on-campus interview process, personal branding, how to succeed as an attorney, financial literacy, and networking.
Co-sponsored with the Hispanic National Bar Association, “Leveraging Latinidad,” provided a forum for Latinx attorneys to network and find expanded career opportunities.
The Brown Bag Film Series
In 2015, Nutter launched an internal Brown Bag Diversity Film Series. Since then, the firm has hosted a film series every month, showing over a hundred different films, each relevant to the heritage celebration of that month. Employees are invited to watch and discuss these short films during their lunch break.
Mansfield Rule Certification Process
The Firm signed on to the Mansfield Rule process in 2019. Participating in the Mansfield Rule initiative is a commitment by the Firm that we will consider an intentionally broad and diverse pool of candidates for leadership and high visibility positions within the Firm. The commitment applies to our selection of leaders within the Firm, our hiring of lateral attorneys, and our development of client service teams. The Mansfield Rule initiative also includes a commitment by the Firm to be transparent in our internal governance, particularly with our selection guidelines and job descriptions for existing management roles and committees.
Nutter partners with the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and a cohort of Boston companies who use their collective purchasing power to create opportunities at scale for local businesses of color. As a Pacesetters participant, Nutter is expected to measure, report and increase spending with businesses of color, exchange best practices with other participating Pacesetter companies, and identify opportunities to contract with businesses of color – all with the aim of improving economic inequality in our surrounding communities.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committees
Our EDI Executive Committee works in conjunction with the EDI Action Committee to foster a more diverse, united, and dynamic firm community, where attorneys and administrative professionals all contribute as a team, draw on varied life experiences to devise creative, practical solutions for our clients, and feel valued, heard and included in the workplace, whether on-site or remote. To achieve this vision, the Committees have clear goals: to build a dynamic, diverse workforce through hiring and recruitment efforts that encourage people from traditionally underrepresented groups to join the firm; to cultivate an inclusive, empowering work environment, where all traditions and life experiences are valued equally; and to ensure equal opportunities for all employees by reinforcing an expectation of equity throughout the Firm and continually assessing our progress toward our vision. Our EDI Executive Committee is co-chaired by two partners with decades of experience leading diversity and inclusion initiatives, both within the firm and in the greater Boston legal community. One of the co-chairs is a member of the Firm’s governing committee and other EDI Executive Committee members include the chairs of the Hiring, Lateral Hiring, and Legal Personnel committees, with ex-officio representation from our business development, marketing, and talent teams. Our EDI Action Committee is composed of attorneys and staff, who work to devise and implement strategies and initiatives to further the goals and objectives of the Firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Action Plan.
Chief Talent and Equity Officer
In fulfillment of an Action Committee recommendation, Nutter recently hired a Chief Talent and Equity Officer. The Chief Talent and Equity Officer has responsibility for overseeing our equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts and is responsible for ensuring that all members of our team are provided with the resources and opportunities needed for professional success.
Training and Development
Mentoring program for attorneys who identify as being from under-represented communities
As with our other mentoring programs (Associate Mentoring Program, Women’s Mentoring Circles, and New Parents Mentoring Circle), this program is intended to support our associates in achieving their fullest professional potential.
A sub-committee of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Committee devoted to developing and promoting wellbeing initiatives that foster a healthy, happy, and productive environment at the firm. We strive to support whole-being wellness for our attorneys and professional staff through stress resiliency training, step challenges, mindfulness sessions, on-site massages, healthy eating tips, and financial planning strategies.
Women’s Staff Mentoring Circle
Launched in 2016, this initiative is intended to further our Strategic Plan’s goals of inclusion, as well as the professional development of Nutter’s staff workforce.
Resilience & Well-Being in the Legal Profession
In response to the 2017 findings of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being, Paula Davis-Laack, JD, of The Stress & Resilience Institute and Patrick Krill, JD, of Krill Strategies led resilience and well-being workshops in 2019 for all members of the Firm. The sessions focused on educating our attorneys and staff about the impact of consistent stress on emotional, physical and mental well-being and teaching resilience strategies to help everyone cope.
Unconscious bias training
In 2018, the firm retained Marguerite Fletcher of Fletcher Consulting, LLC, and all members of the firm participated in an interactive half-day training session, which included small group discussions, case studies and experiential exercises.
Pro Bono and Community Service
At Nutter, we are committed to social justice and progressive social causes. Our founder, Louis Brandeis, is often credited as being the firm prominent lawyer to provide legal services in the public interest without charging a fee. Today, we continue that proud tradition by being a founding member and challenge participant in the Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge. Law firms that become Signatories to the Challenge acknowledge their institutional, firm-wide commitment to provide legal services to low income and disadvantaged individuals and families and non-profit groups. Each year, Nutter proudly honors its commitment to spend three percent of the firm’s paying client billable hours on pro bono work. Recent projects include our initiative with Dell EMC to take on cases for Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), and our work with the Civil Appeals Clinic's Pro Bono Program. Nutter attorneys also engage in a wide variety of civic, charitable, educational, social, and political efforts in the communities in which they live and work. They hold leadership roles in scores of non-profit organizations both locally and across the United States.
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
Nutter partners with KIND to advocate for the rights of unaccompanied migrant and refugee children in the U.S.
COVID-19 Relief Coalition
Nutter joined government agencies, nonprofits and other law firms in providing services to help small businesses and nonprofits in Massachusetts gain access to emergency loans and other sources of relief.
Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR)
Nutter is a founding member of LCR, which aims to foster equal opportunity and fight discrimination on behalf of people of color and immigrants. Nutter contributes to LCR’s mission in many ways, including through board membership, pro bono work, and by providing financial support.
A sub-committee of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Committee devoted to creating volunteer opportunities for the Nutter community. Attorneys and staff work together to plan and execute a variety of community outreach. Over the last few years, we participated in donating or volunteering for the Greater Boston Food Bank, One Warm Coat, Women’s Lunch place, Birthday Wishes, Gift-a-Vet, Cradles to Crayons and Playworks. We have also made monetary donations to various charitable organizations nominated by an attorney or staff member of Nutter.
Small Business Strong
Nutter is one of the original law firms participating in this private and public sector partnership set up to help small businesses owned by women and Black, indigenous and people of color navigate the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize that our 650,000 Massachusetts small businesses are the lifeblood of our towns, cities and communities. Small Business Strong provides expedited, pro-bono resources to small businesses ranging from access to capital to consulting, business restructuring, business growth, digital marketing and customer engagement plans.