October 22, 2010

Rabb Emison Award for Diversity/Equality Presented to Baker & Daniels

Baker & Daniels received the 2010 Rabb Emison Award for demonstrating a commitment to promote diversity and/or equality in the legal profession and Indiana State Bar Association membership.

With multiple initiatives through its diversity committee, Baker & Daniels professionals promote diversity, inclusion and equality in the legal profession — both within the organization and in the communities where the firm has offices.

Outreach projects involving Baker & Daniels professionals include:

  • Teaching law and public policy with Eli Lilly and Company attorneys at the Shortridge Magnet High School for Law & Public Policy, using the Street Law Corporate Legal Diversity Pipeline Program curriculum.
  • Awarding $10,000 diversity scholarships each year and a place in the summer associate program to two second-year law students of varied ethnic, racial and cultural backgrounds at the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis, IU Maurer School of Law-Bloomington or the University of Notre Dame Law School.
  • Visiting Indiana law schools annually to present a lunch program on diversity and the legal profession.
  • Hosting a lunch program and social activity for the incoming class of Indiana Conference for Legal Education Opportunities' Fellows each summer.
  • Participating in numerous minority and diversity job fairs to enhance law student recruitment.

Additionally, Joe Smith, a Baker & Daniels partner and chair of the firm's diversity committee, served on the American Bar Association's Emerging Issues Special Comment Group. His thoughts on diversity as it relates to recruitment, retention and the legal profession were published in the report titled, "Diversity in the Legal Profession: The Next Steps."

Internally, Baker & Daniels has implemented various initiatives to support the firm's diverse professionals, including:

  • Supporting a diversity committee with seven subcommittees and more than 60 participating professionals (including over 40 lawyers) representing every Indiana office.
  • Undergoing an extensive diversity audit by Boston-based Global Novations that featured research, assessments, interviews and focus groups.
  • Conducting approximately 30 diversity training sessions for lawyers, paralegals, consultants, department directors and support staff.
  • Creating a full-time position for a diversity and pro bono coordinator devoted to diversity management and implementation of the firm's strategic plan.
  • Establishing a sophisticated coaching program where associate lawyers are paired with partner lawyers who act as mentors and resources for professional and business development.
  • Creating a Women's Forum network that addresses the needs and priorities of the firm's female attorneys and consultants, which includes internal and external networking, identifying professional growth opportunities, and providing a forum for women attorneys and consultants to share ideas and concerns.

For the third straight year, Baker & Daniels received a top rating of 100 percent in the Corporate Equality Index, an annual survey administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The survey examines corporate policies affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees in various industries throughout the United States.

"Baker & Daniels continues to be dedicated to inclusion within our firm by attracting diverse professionals and ensuring that our professionals have the support to succeed once they join the firm," said Tom Froehle, chair and chief executive partner at Baker & Daniels. "Through a multi-faced approach, we are intentionally working to nurture diverse legal talent in Indiana."

The Rabb Emison Award and others were presented by the Indiana State Bar Association during its annual meeting in downtown Indianapolis recently.

The award is named in honor — and now memory — of Ewing Rabb Emison Jr., a past president of the ISBA and founding chair of the state bar's Committee on Opportunities for Minorities (now the Diversity Committee) in the 1980s. Emison, whose legacy has inspired generations of attorneys, died on September 1, 2010, at age 85.

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