November marks Practising Law Institute’s second annual PD Appreciation Month. With law firms and other organizations increasingly focused on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), the organizers have developed a series of timely, relevant programs addressing challenges, best practices, and opportunities.
Kirsten Talmage, PLI’s Senior Director for Product Strategy & Development, and Jesse Sands, PLI Program Attorney, worked with Co-Chairs H. Sandra Bang of Shearman and Melanie Priddy of Katten to develop programming. They shared details with Above the Law about this month’s offerings, which will be available at no cost to benefit the PD community.
What can we expect for this year’s PD Appreciation Month programming?
Kirsten: Last year’s inaugural event proved to be very popular not only with the Professional Development community in law firms, but also with law firm attorneys and attorneys in legal departments of corporations. This year, we are turning the focus to DEI. When Jesse and I started to plan in January of this year, we knew immediately that given the increased attention to social justice over the past year, as well as the impact that remote working and now the return to the office had and is having on diverse attorneys and professionals, we needed to center this year’s program on this important topic. We have planned a series of four complimentary programs throughout the month to address various aspects of DEI within the legal community.
Could you elaborate on the specific coverage in each of the four panels?
Jesse: Sure. Panel One, Wellness, DEI and the Return to Office, will address topics such as how remote work impacts diverse professionals and how a return to the office might also mean a return to microaggressions. The second panel, Integration of DEI into Business Functions, explores the influence of DEI on innovative business processes and best practices for functional collaboration. Our third panel, Career Success Stories: Best Practices for Supporting the Career Paths of Diverse Lawyers, highlights these lawyers’ career paths and gives advice on the best ways the PD community can support them. Finally, the panel Innovative Ways In-House Legal Departments and Law Firms Can Partner to Enhance DEI addresses how PDs can help in implementing and managing project collaborations as well as detailing what successful outcomes look like.
Who is the intended audience?
Kirsten: The series is intended for anyone in the PD community regardless of experience or title. While we planned the programming around the PD audience, all attorneys, both diverse and nondiverse, will certainly benefit from the four panels, and take away a better understanding of DEI, how to better support diverse attorneys and law firm professionals, and how diverse attorneys are vital to the successful operation of a law firm. We purposefully made the program complimentary for all attendees because we feel that DEI is such an important topic.
What other programming does PLI offer relating to the topic of DEI?
You can find a wide variety of programs to enhance your understanding of DEI on PLI’s website, from a comprehensive, full-day program on Diversity & Inclusion in Law Practice, to One-Hour Briefings on Antiracist Lawyering, advocating for veterans impacted by racial discrimination, and more.
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