Kelley Drye is an active member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) and participates in its Fellows, Pathfinder and Scholars programs, which provide highly structured training and development opportunities designed to build the next generation of law firm leaders. Associates are invited to apply for these opportunities, and the firm provides financial support. The firm is also an allied partner of the non-profit Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (IILP).
To assure that our newest lawyers get the support they need as they begin their legal careers, each first-year associate is paired with a partner in our Mentorship Program. Mentor circles are then created, and the first-years are also teamed with mid-level and senior-level associates.
Our Diversity Speaker Series invites thought leaders in the minority in-house counsel and broader legal community to discuss legal and business topics with our lawyers. Past speakers include the president of the National Bar Association, the president of the National Hispanic Bar Association, and the General Counsel of Xerox, Welch’s and MetLife.
Increasing diversity in the profession depends on growing the pipeline. We support a number of pipeline initiatives, including Rutgers Law School’s Minority Student Program, placing a diverse 1L year student in our Summer Program. We also encourage undergraduate and high school students from diverse backgrounds to pursue their interest in a career in law by supporting:
- Harlem YMCA Black Achievers in Industry (BAI) Program―Undergraduate students are offered an internship placement at Kelley Drye during the summer months.
- Cristo Rey Corporate Work Study Program―The Cristo Rey national network of schools makes a college preparatory education affordable for disadvantaged students with a unique work-study program. Kelley Drye sponsors students in our New York and Chicago offices.
- Inner City Scholarship Fund Job Opportunities Program―New York high school students from an economically disadvantaged background intern with the firm each summer.
- Paterson Charter School for Science and Technology―We offer a credit-based internship to a diverse high school student.
- Columbia Law School High School Law Institute―We provide financial support to the Institute, which serves over 120 high school students each year, offering classes in criminal law and constitutional law, and mock trial and moot court.
Partnering With Our Clients on Diversity
We welcome and actively pursue opportunities to partner with our clients on diversity and inclusion efforts. Working closely with clients to advance and promote diverse attorneys serves to increase representation of attorneys of color within law firm partnerships. We’re open to arrangements of all types. Some examples include:
- Secondment of diverse associates within clients’ legal departments where they can develop their legal and business skills, strengthen relationships with in-house lawyers and business people and improve our client service. Not limited to senior lawyers, we have even had summer associates split their time between Kelley Drye and our clients.
- Identifying pro bono projects where we can work with clients on a diversity-related issue, and committing our lawyers to work with our clients on pro bono or community projects important to them. .
- Nominating clients for diversity awards to recognize and honor their commitment to diversity.
- Encouraging participation with clients’ minority in-house counsel in diverse organizations, such as:
- Latino Justice PRLDEF
- National Bar Association
- National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)
- The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA)
- National LGBT Bar Association