Diversity Champion Award Criteria
Overall, this award recognizes individuals who champion the ideals embodied in the New York City Bar Association’s Statement of Diversity Principles—“facilitate diversity in the hiring, retention and promotion of attorneys and in the elevation of attorneys to leadership positions within our respective organizations.” To that end, we will assess a nominee’s excellence in one or more of the following areas:
1. Influencing Others
Successful diversity and inclusion efforts have champions who galvanize the importance of diversity at every possible opportunity. Champions of diversity and inclusion can exert influence, not necessarily because of their titles, but by making a persuasive connection between organizational performance and progress on diversity and inclusion.
2. Being a Role Model
Champions “talk the talk and walk the walk.” It is not just what champions say, it is how they act that signals whether diversity and inclusion is truly important to the organization. For example, champions can demonstrate that mentoring is valued by personally mentoring someone from a different background. In addition, it is a powerful communication tool when champions discuss openly and honestly how they manage their professional and personal lives.
3. Continually Learning
To be an effective champion, it is important to understand the challenges faced by different groups in the profession. These challenges and the barriers they can present often unintentionally go unnoticed by members of a majority group who have never experienced being an outsider in their profession. A champion of diversity and inclusion regularly reaches out to a diverse array of attorneys to understand first-hand the experiences of someone from a different background.
4. Cultivating Diverse Teams
Whether staffing teams internally or externally, diversity champions seek out diverse talent in its many forms. Champions of diversity and inclusion place a premium on good management, both for themselves and others. They strive to develop and retain their diverse team members, by mentoring, coaching, and providing constructive feedback.
5. Innovating and Taking Risks
In order to make diversity a reality, creative and practical solutions must be identified and implemented. Champions of diversity and inclusion believe change is possible and see opportunities where others see obstacles. For example, a champion could spearhead the creation of an affinity group or a pilot flexible work program in one department in order to assess effectiveness and build the case for broader implementation.
6. Holding yourself and others accountable for diversity and inclusion
Accountability is an evolutionary process beginning with systematically making the case that diversity and inclusion is beneficial to the organization’s and individual’s bottom-line. When individuals are not participating, diversity and inclusion champions can use their personal influence to encourage others to take action. As clients, champions can identify ways to meaningfully foster diversity in their outside counsel, such as through the RFP process and ensuring inquiries regarding diversity and inclusion efforts and achievements of outside counsel.
7. External Leadership Involvement
On its own or in conjunction with internal activities, diversity champions can take an active role in fostering diversity and inclusion in the profession. Individuals may take an active role in minority bar associations or in diversity committees in local or national bars. Champions of diversity and inclusion can also forge connections with law schools, colleges, high schools, and other organizations in order to broaden the diversity pipeline. Pro bono activities are another important way in which individuals may have an impact on diversity within the profession and society in general.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should we nominate?
Attorneys: Nominations are limited to attorneys, having graduated from law school no less than 8 years, although they need not be actively practicing law.
Time period: While our emphasis is on actions taken within the last year, we recognize that it may be difficult to isolate certain achievements within a calendar year. Notable achievements from the past or that occur on an ongoing basis may be included as well.
Level: It is important to recognize that leaders can be found throughout any organization, and successful diversity efforts empower and cultivate champions at all levels. In addition, we encourage nominations from a range of positions, from diversity professionals to practicing attorneys with no direct responsibility for diversity efforts.
Internal or External: Nominations can come from within or outside the organization. Individuals are eligible in connection with their efforts to increase diversity within their own employer as well as outside the organization, such as bar association initiatives.
Type of Employer: Champions of diversity and inclusion can hail from any sector of the legal profession—government, firm, corporation, academia, or non-profit. To that end, individuals do not need to be employed by signatories of the statement of diversity principles to be eligible.
Number of Nominations: Individuals and organizations may nominate multiple individuals on separate nomination forms.
When are nominations due?
The deadline for submissions is Friday, March 8, 2019.
Where do I submit my nomination form?
Nominations can be submitted electronically by using the online form (PDF) or emailed to the attention of the Diversity Champion Award Selection Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to 42 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036.
What is the process for selecting the winners?
The Enhance Diversity in the Profession Committee has established the criteria listed above. A panel of committee members representing a cross-section of legal employers will be convened, ensuring that there are no conflicts. Interviews will be conducted with finalists and their references in March and April. The subcommittee will contact winners.
Please be advised that finalists and their references are expected to be available for interviews in March/April. In addition, winners are expected to be available to attend the Diversity and Inclusion Celebration Dinner on Wednesday, June 26 to accept the award.
The 2019 application period has closed.
Interviews with finalists and references (March/April 2019)
Awards Dinner (June 26, 2019)