Stites & Harbison strives to create and promote a work environment that is diverse, inclusive, and values the uniqueness of each individual. This enhances the firm’s culture and helps attract and retain the most qualified personnel who together reflect the diversity of the clients and communities we serve. A law firm with a diverse group of attorneys is a law firm that thinks creatively and provides better solutions for its clients. To develop and maintain a more diverse and inclusive workplace, Stites created and instituted the Diversity Committee and adopted a Diversity Action Plan as part of the firm’s strategic plan.
The firm’s Diversity Committee (1) advises the firm on issues that affect law firm diversity, (2) assists in revising, implementing, and administering the firm’s Diversity Action Plan, (3) apprises the firm of developments and accomplishments in the area of diversity, and (4) promotes diversity and inclusion and helps keep these issues ‘top of mind’ for the firm. The current co-chairs of the Diversity Committee are Demetrius O. Holloway and Alexandra MacKay. Shannon Hamilton oversees diversity efforts as part of her duties as the firm’s chief talent officer.
The firm’s Diversity Action Plan promotes diversity through five strategies:
- Firm-wide commitment. Includes top-down support and ongoing education.
- Entry-level recruitment. Focuses on ensuring that entering attorney classes are diverse.
- Lateral recruitment. Includes a lateral hiring strategy designed to build a "critical mass" across all experience levels of the firm.
- Retention and advancement. Encourages the review, analysis, implementation, and development of firm policies and practices on an ongoing basis to improve retention and promote advancement of diverse classes of attorneys.
- Community outreach. Encourages involvement in community organizations, affinity bar associations and other professional organizations, and pro bono cases that reflect the firm’s interest in diversity and inclusion.
The goal of the Diversity Action Plan is to create policies and programs that will result in the recruitment, hiring, development, retention, and promotion of personnel with richly diverse backgrounds, talents, and perspectives. To view our hiring statistics, please click here.
In furtherance of increasing the firm’s diversity via the foregoing strategies, Stites has:
- Held training sessions on diversity for the firm’s leadership;
- Routinely recruited from various diversity job fairs;
- Revised its parental leave policy;
- Adopted an alternative work schedule policy;
- Provided health insurance coverage to domestic partners;
- Increased involvement in affinity bar associations
Within the past year, Stites has promoted diversity in the following ways:
- Stites attorneys regularly participate in Lawyers Association for Women, Marion Griffin chapter, meetings and leadership (Nashville)
- Stites participated in the Minority & Diversity Clerkship Program of the Atlanta Bar Foundation (Atlanta, summers 2012, 2013)
- Stites recruited at the Southeastern Minority Job Fair (Atlanta, 2012, 2013)
- Stites recruited at the DuPont Minority Job Fair (Houston, 2012, 2013)
- Stites recruited at the Tri-State Diversity Job Fair (Kentucky 2012, 2013)
- Stites recruited at the Tennessee Bar Association Diversity job fair (Nashville, 2012, 2013)
- Stites sponsored the Human Rights Campaign Annual Dinner (Washington, D.C., October 2012)
- Stites sponsored the Black Law Students Association Southern Region Convention meeting in Nashville, Tennessee (January 2013)
- Stites sponsored the African American Heritage Society’s Annual gala (Franklin, February, 2013)
- Stites sponsored the 9th Annual Banquet of the Napier-Looby Bar Association (an affiliate chapter of the National Bar Association) in Nashville, Tennessee (February, 2013)
- Stites hosted the Region VI meeting of the National Bar Association at its offices (Louisville, 2013)
- Stites sponsored the Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia (2013-14 year)
S.W.I.F.T. (Stites Women Investing in our Future Together)
Also in early 2003, the firm's women attorneys established the S.W.I.F.T. (Stites Women Investing in our Future Together) initiative to enhance mentoring, support, and networking opportunities for women in the firm. To date, topics and programs have included effective communication and networking, business etiquette, and planning for success.
- The 11th Annual SWIFT Meeting was held on June 21, 2013, at the PNC Club at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium (adjacent to the Stites & Harbison Suite Level). The Annual Meeting Committee used the opportunity to focus on some key initiatives under each of the four areas of the SWIFT Strategic Plan: (1) Expanding Access and Networks; (2) Promotion and Leadership; (3) Communication and Education; and (4) Flexibility in Work Arrangements.
- The 2012 SWIFT Annual Meeting gave us the opportunity to hear from five very successful women who serve as in-house counsel for some of our clients. These leaders shared their insight on the challenges they face and on ways we can help them meet these challenges.
- We used the 2011 SWIFT Annual Meeting as an opportunity to engage in strategic planning. Forty-Four women attorneys attended, with representatives from all offices, practice groups and experience levels. The enthusiastic participation illustrates the importance of this initiative. Ideas focused on core goals were discussed, and fresh ideas from new voices were shared. Through preparation and execution of a strategic plan to implement these ideas, SWIFT is providing an additional avenue for guiding and supporting women as they strive for excellence for themselves and for Stites & Harbison.
- In June 2010, SWIFT met at the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville to discuss the "Rules of the Game: Success Strategies for Women Attorneys." Jane Pigott, Managing Director of R3 Group, LLC, gave an interactive presentation on women becoming leaders in law firms.
- In 2009, SWIFT met at Via Vite Restaurant in downtown Cincinnati (due to its proximity to the Kentucky Bar Association’s Annual Conference). Tracy LaLonde, a Partner at the Akina Corporation, presented "Putting the Working in Networking."
- In 2008, SWIFT met at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville to discuss "Gender and Communication in the Legal Profession." Mary S. Vaughn, Chair and Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Belmont University, made a presentation that stimulated an interesting and lively discussion.
- In 2007, SWIFT met at Proof on Main in Louisville, Kentucky, and held a client forum in which three national corporate counsel shared their views about, and expectations of, their outside counsel and effective lawyer-client relationships. This program, entitled "Taking Care of Business," received rave reviews from everyone involved.
- In 2006, SWIFT met at Woodford Reserve Distillery near Lexington, Kentucky, where Kathleen C. Freeble, Office of Regional Counsel, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, presented a program entitled “Applying Life Skills to Negotiation: Things You Already Know!” Ms. Freeble discussed whether and how a negotiation can be impacted by the importance of maintaining a long-term relationship, the importance of trust, and potential communication challenges.
- In 2005, SWIFT met at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, where Cordell Parvin presented “Your Life, Your Future – A Plan for Success.” He discussed the importance of taking time to assess and clarify your purpose, vision, core values, goals, and life responsibilities as a part of developing a career plan.
- In 2004, SWIFT met in Nashville, Tennessee, to network and participate in a program by Ann Marie Sabath of At Ease, Inc. Ms. Sabath discussed strategies for enhancing client relationships, ways to make a powerful first impression, the most commonly asked questions about greetings, business conversation, and overcoming “mingle-phobia.”
Other ways Stites & Harbison supports diversity in our communities and the legal profession include:
- Atlanta Legal Diversity Consortium - Charter Member
- Kentuckiana Minority Business Council - Member and supporter of KMBC; presenter and host of legal seminars for KMBC (Strategic Alliances -Mergers, Acquisitions and Joint Ventures; Intellectual Property)
- 2004, 2005, and 2006 Kentucky SHRM Conferences - Presenting Sponsor
- Louisville Urban League - Chairman, Kennedy Helm, served on the Board of Directors
- Louisville Urban League Youth Golf Program - Sponsor
- Louisville Urban League Diversity Soiree - Sponsor
- Business Women First (Business First publication) - Sponsor
- Center for Women and Families - Center Circle Sponsor
- Women's Business & Leadership Conference - Sponsor
- Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law - Sponsor
- The Courier-Journal, Civil Rights Educational Supplement – Sponsor