Quarles & Brady Diversity Initiatives
We are proud of our efforts to create an environment that values and fosters diversity. We are also determined to continue to lead in this area and are pursuing the following initiatives:
Our Women in Leadership Program is the means by which we evaluate and account for the multi-faceted action items, policies and programs that impact women at our firm. Some programs are not directed toward women alone -- such as our Mentoring Program -- but have made a big difference in women's career advancement. Others have been created with women in mind -- such as the Q&B Women's Forum and work/life balance policies -- but can in many cases be taken advantage of by men. Still others have been designed for particular groups -- such as our annual Diverse Attorney Retreat -- but involve and significantly help women as well.
Our results to date have made us leaders in the profession. In two of our U.S. offices (including our largest), our managing partners are women. Women hold more than one-third of the top leadership roles within the firm, including two women who serve on our Executive Committee.
Women's Forum - The Women's Forum provides programming on professional and career development topics. Each of our offices pursues topics based on the needs and interests of women in that office. The Women's Forum also organizes peer and group mentoring circles to facilitate sharing of ideas and best practices.
The Firm recruits at institutions having high percentages of diverse lawyers, attends minority job fairs and, prior to on-campus interviews, contacts diverse student organizations to express our interest in engaging a diverse pool of candidates.
Minority Scholarships - In partnership with the University of Wisconsin Law School, Quarles created a scholarship to support their Legal Education Opportunities Program (“LEO”). The LEO Fellowship provides financial assistance to an incoming diverse law student for full tuition for three consecutive years and the opportunity to participate as an intern in the Summer Program. Following a successful 1L summer internship, the intern would be invited to participate in the next year's Summer Associate Program.
Minority Internships - We participate in the Arizona State University and University of Arizona Minority Intern Programs, which bring diverse law students into our offices to work meaningfully alongside experienced attorneys in the law firm environment.
Quarles & Brady participated in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) 2012 1L Scholars Program. The 1L Scholars Program is one of the LCLD's Pipeline Committee’s key strategies designed to strengthen the legal pipeline by expanding the number of opportunities for diverse first-year law students. The 1L LCLD Scholars Program gives law students the opportunity to work side-by-side with attorneys and other legal specialists in our organizations on legal issues.
1L Tribal Law Summer Associate Program - Quarles & Brady has developed a program with the General Counsel's Offices of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe in Arizona. We augmented our regular summer associate program by adding a joint summer associate position for first year law students interested in federal Indian law and Tribal law. Summer associates in the program spend half of their time in our client's office of the Attorney General for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and half with our offices while participating in all of our summer associate experiences. Quarles & Brady pays the full salary for each position. Summer associates participating in the joint clerkship program may receive offers from both the firm and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe.
Minority Liaisons - Not only does Q&B work hard to ensure that its recruiting efforts seek out historically under-represented individuals, but we also work hard to foster an environment that encourages our associates to build careers with the firm. Our Minority Liaison program ensures that every diverse associate is assigned a second mentor, above and beyond the mentor assigned through the Q&B mentoring program. Minority Liaisons serve as "super mentors," up until partnership, to the diverse associates to whom they are assigned.
Diversity Blog - Quarles & Brady is very proud of our attorneys and their accomplishments in our communities. The Diversity Blog is written by attorneys in our offices across the United States. Each post describes, in our attorneys' own words, their experiences and reflections on a wide range of topics related to their work at Quarles & Brady.
Diverse Attorneys Retreats - In July, 2011, Q&B held the latest in a series of Diverse Attorney Retreats dedicated to providing partners and associates of different races, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and physical abilities an opportunity to reinforce their sense of community and to discuss issues important to them. Over 40 diverse attorneys gathered in the Chicago office for three insightful days of programming, networking and client interaction. The featured speaker at the event was well known strategic thinker, Wertan Bellamy, President of Stakeholders, Inc. a company that provides training and resources directed to identifying the practical career strategies of top performers. Three prior, firm-wide diverse attorney retreats since 2004, along with other events, have generated specific recommendations, including improved mentoring and professional development, that have since been implemented. Q&B plans to continue holding regular retreats for its diverse lawyers to encourage collegiality and career development as well as to gather feedback from the diverse attorneys on how to improve the Firm's Diversity Initiative.
Flexible Work Schedule - At Quarles & Brady, we have a strong commitment to the practice of law and client service. We also know that we must provide our lawyers with the means to balance professional commitments with commitments to family and community. The firm believes that lawyers can and will remain committed professionals while working a flexible work schedule, and that lawyers working a flexible schedule can and do provide exceptional client service.
Family-Friendly Work Policies
Both partners and associates are eligible for flexible work schedules. The partnership agreement governs partner eligibility. Associates ordinarily must work at the firm on a full-time basis for at least two consecutive years to be eligible. The associates must have a proven record of strong performance and the request must be approved by the Practice Group and the Legal Personnel Committee. The program allows the attorney to designate a percentage commitment to the firm, usually at least a 60% commitment, and to work a reduced schedule that meets the needs of the requesting attorney, the firm and the firm's clients. Rather than placing the emphasis strictly on the billable hour, the program emphasizes performance and encourages participation in business development, leadership opportunities and professional development.
Partnership Opportunities - The firm revised its partnership structure in part to make it possible to promote associates to partnership who, for family or other reasons approved by the Executive Committee, are not able to meet the financial expectations set for equity partners. Associates in this situation who satisfy all of the other criteria for admission to partnership, and who have demonstrated compliance with all of the partner expectations other than the financial expectation are eligible to become income partners for a defined period of time (although that may be an extended period of time) and then considered for admission as an equity partner, or may remain an income partner for their entire career at the firm.
Parental Leave - Associate maternity and paternity leave is fully paid. Parental leave can be extended for up to an additional six months on an unpaid basis. Parental leave can also be used to work part time in the year after the birth of a child -- we understand that a gradual return to work helps our lawyers balance work and life commitments.
Domestic Partner Benefits - Quarles & Brady recognizes and respects not only the individual differences in lawyers and staff but also in their families. Wherever possible, the firm extends insurance coverage and applicable policies (such as funeral leave, parental leave, sick leave, and leave of absence) to domestic partners and their children. Domestic partners may be of the same or opposite sex. For same-sex domestic partners, the Firm has adopted a salary "gross-up" policy intended to eliminate inequitable discrepancies in health insurance coverage costs.