As we start a fresh new year, we sat down with the LGBTQ+ Bar’s Executive Director, D’Arcy Kemnitz, to learn more about the LGBTQ+ Bar’s DEI Consulting Practice. Let’s hear about some highlights of its success so far and get a preview of what is in store for 2022.
How do you help others advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion (“DEI”) in spaces like the legal profession where its importance has been historically undervalued?
Our work is to be part of the solution. We are here to build upon the growing awareness of the importance of DEI in legal spaces. Regrettably, we often see action preceded by a crisis rather than as a long-term commitment to institutional change. And, we still frequently have to make the case that DEI is important and should be highly valued. It’s not a one-and-done; rather, it requires the investment of time and resources. When DEI work is central to everything we do, retention of underrepresented lawyers increases, and improves relationships internally, as well as externally. Lawyers today are looking for inclusive workplaces, which makes a long-term commitment to DEI essential to better recruitment practices.
What resources do you offer through your DEI Consulting Practice and how has the work grown since its inception?
We are responding to a deep need in the legal profession for better tools to support and include LGBTQ+ people. We still have significant gaps to fill. Our DEI Consulting Practice is the only LGBTQ+ inclusion coaching and consulting program designed specifically to enable the implementation of best practice standards for LGBTQ+ equity across law firms, law schools, and companies. Our packages include customized CLE presentations for large, global legal audiences on best practices in LGBTQ+ inclusion related to topics such as interrupting bias, recruiting and retaining underrepresented attorneys, and understanding intersectional LGBTQ+ experiences in the workplace. We coach C-Suite leadership, facilitate affinity groups to support internal LGBTQ+ leadership, offer one-on-one coaching for attorneys with marginalized identities, and expert policy review on gender-inclusion, Self ID practices, restrooms, pronouns, and parity in benefits. To date, we have reached over 20,000 individuals and plan to sell out again in 2022.
What makes the LGBTQ+ Bar’s DEI Consultant Practice different?
We are lawyers training lawyers. Our DEI work is led by Dru Levasseur, our Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, who is a recognized leader in the LGBTQ+ equality movement for more than 25 years. Dru is a high-energy presenter and seasoned lawyer who brings both his legal expertise and his authentic self to the work as an openly transgender attorney. We are constantly evolving our programming to reflect the most cutting-edge best practices in the industry through an intersectional lens to address racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and classism in the profession. We hold ourselves to a higher standard because we know from painful, personal experience how important inclusion is in the workplace.
Can you tell us about the clients you’ve had so far? What kind of work have you accomplished through these clients and why is that work important?
While we are not in the least bit surprised at the huge demand, we are working to keep up. Our clients have been mostly law firms, but we’ve also worked with some government and nonprofit legal workplaces, as well as some religiously-affiliated law schools. We are hoping to reach more in-house counsel through working with companies in 2022. Our programming has been incredibly popular as you can read in our testimonials. Former clients have praised our work for being accessible, educational, and inclusive. From the most marginalized to the most privileged attendees, our DEI Consulting Practice has encouraged attendees to expand their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in their daily life as well as in the workplace. This is a key step to building not only a more inclusive legal profession, but a more inclusive world.
While the work being done in DEI is demanding, we see the National LGBTQ+ Bar leading the charge in raising the bar for LGBTQ+ inclusion. We hope to see you, the reader, engage with the LGBTQ+ Bar’s DEI Consulting Practice on social media at here and on the web here.
We anticipate selling out again this year, and don’t want you to miss out.
Get in touch today to reserve your spot, and become DEI Certified in 2022!