Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are critically important strategic priorities at Dickinson Wright and fundamental to who we are as a firm. Our practice is globalized and growing, and we believe that diverse teams of lawyers create a stronger, more resilient organization that produces better results for our clients’ most challenging legal matters. A recognized leader among law firms for our DEI efforts, our firm engages in a variety of internal initiatives related to the recruitment, retention, and advancement of diverse lawyers. For decades, we have also partnered with clients and outside organizations to advance diversity in the communities where we do business. At Dickinson Wright, diversity is a collective effort championed at all levels of the firm, including by our firm CEO and Management Group.
Dickinson Wright’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DEIC) recommends and implements strategies and practices that advance our firm’s strategic diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. The DEIC includes equity and non-equity members, associates, senior staff, the firm’s chairman, and members of the management committee. In addition, a member of the DEIC serves on each of the firm’s standing committees to ensure a continued focus on advancing our diversity goals in all aspects of firm administration and governance.
Our Diversity Mission Statement
Dickinson Wright adopted the following Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Mission Statement to act as a set of guiding principles as we strive to create the most equitable, open, and transparent organization possible:
To cultivate an organization, at every level, that is as diverse as the communities in which it works and as diverse as the clients it serves. To encourage the inclusion of backgrounds, ideas, and beliefs that span a broad range of the human experience by embracing our commonalities and respecting the differences among us. To promote individual success by providing all persons with opportunities to achieve their full potential as organizational goals are pursued.
In 2020, the DEIC adopted a 32-point Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan with four key focus areas, each staffed by a subcommittee of attorneys and professional staff, to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. The four areas include:
• Growth, retention, and advancement
Dickinson Wright Featured on Lifetime's The Balancing Act
Lifetime’s The Balancing Act featured Dickinson Wright in a segment discussing diversity. equity, and inclusion in the workplace. DEI Committee Co-Chair and Member Aaron Burrell spoke with host Montel Williams about how Dickinson Wright is working to break down barriers in the legal industry for diverse lawyers and professionals. Click on the video below to learn more about Dickinson Wright’s DEI mission, associated efforts, and successes as we further our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Click here for our latest DEI updates.
Dickinson Wright’s Affinity Groups are essential elements of our larger firmwide inclusion strategy. These groups provide support, mentorship, networking, business development, and educational opportunities to our attorneys. Our affinity groups also create spaces where our women and diverse attorneys can have candid conversations about success strategies and career advancement. These groups help us celebrate the unique qualities each of our attorneys bring to the firm. We proudly sponsor the following firmwide Affinity Groups:
Dickinson Wright’s Women’s Network: Initially focused on fostering interaction and mentoring among the firm’s women attorneys, the Network has expanded over the years to include our female clients and women in the communities where our offices are located.
Dickinson Wright’s Minority Affinity Group: Launched in 2017 and open for all lawyers of color at the firm, the Minority Affinity Group focuses on business development for minority attorneys, exploring experiences and insights of being a diverse lawyer, and influencing a more diverse and inclusive firm culture. The group is currently developing subgroups for Asian American/Pacific Islander attorneys, Black/African American attorneys, and Hispanic/Latinx/Chicana attorneys.
Dickinson Wright’s Parent Affinity Group: Launched in 2018, the Parent Affinity Group is comprised of both attorneys and staff members. The group focuses on helping parents balance their personal and professional goals and develop policies that are friendly to working parents in an effort to retain our employees.
Dickinson Wright’s LGBTQ Affinity Group: The firm is in the process of establishing its newest affinity group for attorneys who identify as LGBTQ. The LGBTQ Affinity Group will focus on networking, professional development, and educational opportunities for our LGBTQ attorneys.
Dickinson Wright is committed to creating and maintaining a diverse, equitable, and inclusive firm culture that empowers all of our attorneys to achieve their full potential. We believe that diverse teams of lawyers lead to better results for our clients and a stronger, more thoughtful leadership at the firm. To that end, we engage in a variety of strategies to ensure diverse representation at all attorney levels – from summer and first-year associates to equity partners and firm management.
Diverse Attorney Recruitment
Key to Dickinson Wright’s successful DEI strategy is the recruitment of exceptional diverse attorneys. The firm participates in many local and national diversity conferences, job fairs, and other related programs that help us identify and recruit diverse talent. A sample of the diversity recruiting programs that Dickinson Wright supports are below:
National LGBT Bar Association Lavender Law Annual Conference
National Black Law Students Association’s Midwest Region Job Fair
Nashville Bar Association’s Damali Booker 1L Minority Job Fair Project
Cook County Bar Association’s Minority Job Fair
Howard University Law School On-Campus Interview and Networking Session
University of Michigan Black Law Student Association Butch Carpenter Annual Gala
University of Michigan Outlaws Annual Gala
Arizona State University 1L Diversity Job Fair
Floyd Skinner Bar Association Minority Clerkship Program
Wolverine Bar Association Summer Clerkship Program
Annual reception following Wolverine Bar Association Barrister’s Ball
Our recruiting efforts have resulted in a 2021 summer associate class of 67% women, 28% summer associates of color, and 6% LGBTQ. Of the 25 new full-time, non-partner attorneys hired since January 2021, 56% are women, and 16% are attorneys of color.
100% Score, Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, 2018-2021
Diversity & Flexibility Alliance Flex for Success, 2020
Diversity MBA Top 100 Under 50, Aaron Burrell, Member, 2020
Profiles in Diversity Journal’s Black Leaders Worth Watching, Aaron Burrell, Member & Lloyd Pierre-Louis, Member, 2020
Profiles in Diversity Journal’s Women Leaders Worth Watching, Anna Maiuri, Member, 2020
Crain’s Detroit Business Notable Women in Law, Multiple Members, 2017, 2019
Crain’s Detroit Business Notable Women in Real Estate, Multiple Members, 2019
National Sponsorships & Strategic Alliances
As a law firm with national reach, Dickinson Wright is proud to partner with national bar associations, diversity pipeline programs, and other organizations in the U.S. and Canada to advance diversity, inclusion, and equity in the profession. Dickinson Wright’s national sponsorships include:
Pledges of Support
Dickinson Wright also recognizes that inclusion is a community effort that requires teamwork and accountability. As a result, the firm proudly adds its name to the following pledges and calls to action:
Dickinson Wright’s commitment to diversity goes beyond internal initiatives. The firm, our attorneys, and our staff regularly engage in activities and partnerships that advance equity in the profession and in the communities where we do business. In particular, we partner with local law schools, bar associations, our clients, and other organizations to fund scholarships, develop talent pipelines, and organize community activities that further the firm’s diversity and inclusion footprint. Examples of these activities include: