The Diversity Ops Center: Diversity and Inclusion in Global Corporate Law Departments and Law Firms – Infrastructure to Effect Change

  • 29 Oct 2019
  • 1:00 PM - 6:30 PM (UTC-00:00)
  • Baker McKenzie, 100 New Bridge St, London EC4V 6JA, UK


For today’s global corporate law departments and law firms, diversity, equality, and inclusion can pose particular challenges as they try to satisfy demands for greater diversity among their in-house and outside counsel, meet the requirements of government and professional regulation, operate in a variety of countries that require sensitivity to a wide range of cultural, religious, and social norms, and apply their own notions of equal opportunity, fairness, and ethics.

Compounding that, the emphasis upon diversity and inclusion differs dramatically in different parts of the world, with the UK and US being at one end of the spectrum while other countries may be at the other. To meet the challenge, most global corporate law departments and law firms employ one or more structures to develop, implement, and lead their efforts to become more diverse and inclusive: Affinity Groups, Diversity Committees, Diversity Professionals, Chief Diversity Officers, and Diversity Partners are among the more common structures/positions they use. But not all these groups or individuals function the same way, or have the same scope of responsibility or operations, or approach their roles in a predictable or uniform manner, and certainly the outcomes differ and can be uneven.

So, join us for a half-day program examining the roles, responsibilities, structural capabilities and capacities, strategies for, reasonable expectations and outcomes from, and best uses of, the various diversity and inclusion roles and organizational structures within global corporate law departments and law firms.


1:00 PM – 1:30 PM           Registration

1:30 PM – 1:35 PM           Welcome

1:35 PM – 2:35 PM           Pipeline into the Profession

You can’t diversify the legal profession without considering how to expand entry opportunities for those from underrepresented backgrounds to become lawyers. How do we build a more effective pipeline into the profession for students who are women, racial minorities, openly LGBT+, have disabilities, or come from under-privileged socioeconomic backgrounds? How are the legal professions in the UK and US seeking to increase the numbers of successful lawyers who represent that diversity and what might they learn from each other?

  • Nicholas Cheffings, Senior Counsel, HoganLovells and Chair, PRIME
  • Kent D. Lollis Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer, Law School Admissions Council
  • Chris White, Founder and CEO, Aspiring Solicitors

2:35 PM – 3:35 PM           A Deep Dive into Work Allocation

A number of London law firms have started using work allocation programs. When designed and implemented properly there is better retention of women (and probably other diverse) lawyers and firms see increased productivity and profitability. American law firms are now considering work allocation programs too, hoping to learn from their London offices/counterparts. Here, we’ll learn from the leading expert on work allocation programs, Dave Cook of Mason & Cook and some of the London firms successfully using work allocation, and subject them to a rigorous discussion about how these programs really work and the kinds of results firms and companies could expect to see.

  • Dave Cook, Mason & Cook
  • Sarah Gregory, Partner, Baker & McKenzie
  • Camilla Graham, Business Manager, Dentons
  • Laura Seiler, Deputy Head of Commercial, Norton Rose Fulbright 

3:35 PM – 3:45 PM           Break

3:45 PM – 4:15 PM           Appreciating Social Mobility as an Element of Diversity: A Conversation with John Collins, Director of Legal, Compliance, Regulatory Affairs and AML for Santander UK

John Collins has long been an advocate for greater diversity and inclusion, particularly when it comes to the importance of social mobility as a component of diversity. Here, we’ll interview Mr. Collins to learn more about what drives his commitment to diversity, his advocacy for social mobility, and how it fits into the legal profession’s diversity and inclusion goals.

  • John Collins, Director of Legal, Compliance, Regulatory Affairs and AML; Santander UK
  • Shalini Sharma, Director and Managing Legal Counsel, NatWest Markets

4:15 PM – 5:15 PM           EMEA and Global D&I

Diversity and inclusion are becoming increasingly important in law firms and with their corporate clients in both the UK and the US. While some keep their D&I efforts distinctly separate by country or region, others are starting to explore ways to integrate them globally or at least between Europe and the US. Here, we’ll discuss different models for sharing, partnering, or integrating an organization’s EMEA D&I efforts into a global D&I strategy.

  • Claire Manches, Vice President & Corporate Counsel, PGIM Real Estate
  • Luisa Menezes, Vice President & Associate General Counsel Regulatory Policy & Strategy, Philip Morris International
  • Daniel Winterfeldt, Partner, Reed Smith

5:15 PM – 5:30 PM           What’s on the UK/US D&I Horizon?

  • Min Rodriguez, Head of Diversity & Inclusion (interim), Diversity & Inclusion Team, The Law Society of England & Wales
  • Sam Mercer (invited)
  • Sharon Jones, CEO, Jones Diversity Group


5:30 PM – 6:30 PM           Networking Reception

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