Gardere's commitment to the advancement of minorities and women is deep-rooted and broad reaching—designed to engage all levels of our Firm, and resulting in policies and programs that facilitate our dedication to a diverse and dynamic workplace. In addition to advancing diversity within our Firm, we believe we have an obligation to strive to effect change in the legal industry as a whole. We diligently search for new and meaningful ways to hire and retain lawyers, inspire future lawyers and foster a broader interest in, and equal access to, all aspects of the legal profession. We recognize that everyone benefits from broad, creative thinking and the perspectives that result from understanding and utilizing the knowledge and experience of diverse cultures. Embracing this simple truth allows us to better fulfill the legal needs of our clients and to serve the greater good of our clients, our industry and our society.
A Historically Diverse Mindset
Diversity, tolerance and inclusion—from a historical perspective Gardere has long considered these key foundations for responsible corporate citizenry. Gardere was one of the first for-profit enterprises to participate in the Workplace of Difference™ program sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, requiring attorneys and staff to participate during their first year of employment. We also sponsor mandatory internal workshops to educate our team members on various forms of workplace discrimination, as well as a course on cultural diversity that provides tools to identify problems and effect change. These programs provide action-oriented, real-life support for our anti-harassment policies and goals of providing a comfortable and friendly work environment.
Our encouragement and support of women’s initiatives extends beyond the office into the community. We have a balanced hours policy that is available to all lawyers. We actively support community and business initiatives related to women. Gardere is the recipient of the Dallas Women's Covenant Diamond Cutter Award for expansion of economic opportunities for all women. The Gardere Women's Council, comprised of women partners and associates, works to support women's issues and related mentoring and business development efforts as well as various organizations including Dress For Success®. The Firm is a signatory to the Houston Bar Association’s Gender Initiative Commitment Statement and the Firm’s Operating Partner served as co-chair of the Houston Bar Association Gender Initiative Task Force.
Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition
Our commitment to diversity awareness includes fostering interest and awareness of the history of civil rights. Hundreds of elementary school students participate in Gardere’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition. Having surpassed its twentieth year, this unique event encourages the research, writing and oratorical skills of Dallas, Houston and Austin-area elementary school children. The student speeches not only address how Dr. King influenced today’s world, but also the student's vision for the future and insight into today's society.
Dress for Success
Gardere has served as the Presenting Sponsor for "A Night Out" benefitting Dress for Success Houston for over six years. In that time, the Firm helped raise over $600,000 for Dress for Success, an organization which promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. The Gardere Women's Council is heavily involved in coordinating and promoting "A Night Out," which has become a signature fundraiser for Dress for Success Houston and an annual tradition at Gardere.
Gardere understands the importance of hiring and retaining top minority law students from around the country. We participate in minority job fairs and have supported and sponsored programs and events hosted by minority law student organizations. Gardere recognizes that enhancing the profile and accessibility of law as a career, recruiting minority law students and supporting minority lawyers in the development of their careers are all key components to a meaningful diversity program, and we take pride in our efforts to achieve those goals.
In the Community
Our support of diversity does not simply stop at the hiring of diverse lawyers. We encourage and support our lawyers' involvement in organizations that also place a premium on diversity. Gardere supports numerous civic, religious, charitable and lifestyle organizations in the community through financial contributions and the leadership of our attorneys. Many of these organizations address issues of major concern for our diverse communities. Our lawyers actively participate and hold leadership roles in numerous minority organizations and programs.
A select few of these organizations include the:
- Asian American Bar Association
- Asian American Chamber of Commerce
- Asia Pacific Interest Section of the State Bar of Texas
- Asia Society Texas Center
- Association of Chinese Professionals
- Association of Women Attorneys
- Austin, Houston and North Texas Chapters of Anti-
- Austin LGBT Bar Association
- Black Tie Dinner Inc.
- Capital Area AIDS Legal Project
- Community Council of Greater Dallas
- Dallas Asian American Bar Association
- Dallas Bar Association Minority Clerkship Program
- Dallas Bar Foundation
- Dallas Hispanic Bar Association
- Dallas Women's Foundation
- Dress for Success Houston
- East Side Community Connection
- J.L. Turner Legal Association
- Mayor's International Trade & Development Council of Houston
- Museum of Cultural Arts Houston
- National Asian Pacific Bar Association
- Texas Bar Association Minority Counsel Program
- Texas Equal Access to Justice Commission
- Travis County Women Lawyers Association
- Women's Energy Network.
Internally, Gardere places a high value on diversity in our own leadership. We have women and minority lawyers serving as practice group chairs, industry team leaders and executive partner of an office. The Firm's Business Development, Diversity, Compensation, Finance, Professional Development, Recruiting and Associates Committees all include strong percentages of women and/or minority members.
Committing to a Promising Future
Gardere has a long-standing diversity committee that is active within the Firm and has adopted the following goals:
At Gardere, we are proud of the efforts the Firm has made to foster diversity. However, we also know that we cannot rest on our accomplishments. We know that diversity must be actively and continually cultivated. We are committed to improving minority recruiting, enhancing internal mentoring and increasing the business development opportunities available to all our lawyers.
- Improve upon the recruitment of minority law students and lawyers, and accelerate the growth in hiring of minority lawyers, both laterally and from law school.
- Improve upon the Firm's retention of minority lawyers.
- Enhance the business development opportunities available to minority attorneys.
- Increase awareness among all Firm lawyers of the benefits to be derived from increased ethnic diversity and the necessity of our ethnic composition reflecting the increasingly diverse nature of our clients, prospective clients and the communities in which we live.
- Increase diversity in all of Gardere's offices.
- Promote Gardere's image as a Firm committed to diversity within the business and legal communities, locally and nationally.