Mindful DEI (05/14/2021)
In today’s legal profession, with stress about the pandemic – ranging from bereavements to remote work to balancing childcare responsibilities to when/if/how it might be safe to return to the office – to emotions predicated upon growing recognition of systemic racism and race-based inequities and disparities, to the uncertainties arising from online bar exams to virtual summer associate programs to the absence of in-person training and mentoring, our lives today are decidedly unsettled compared with the world and profession we knew pre-pandemic. So, it is no surprise that mindfulness and the value and importance of wellbeing is suddenly top of mind. In this seminar, we shall dig into mindfulness as it pertains to efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion (“DEI”).
(2:00 – 2:05 PM) Welcome Remarks
Sandra Yamate, CEO, Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession
Ray J. Koenig III, Partner and Chicago Office Managing Member, Clark Hill PLC and Secretary, Chicago Bar Association
(2:05 – 2:35 PM) Keynote Address: “Mindfulness: A New Key to Addressing the Challenges of Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession”
Simon Des-Etages, Global General Counsel for Private Banking, HSBC
(2:35 PM – 3:35 PM) Panel I: From DEI Mindfulness to Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing
The legal profession remains one of the least diverse professions in the US. When you don’t see many people who look like you or who share or understand your social, socioeconomic, cultural, religious, or historical backgrounds – indeed, may even be completely unaware of or uninterested in any differences – it can be stressful, to say the least. Consider the amount of extra time and energy required to dress, act, react, behave, speak, explain, joke, respond, decorate, socialize, feign interest, dine, and generally work so that those who do not share or understand your background, will not only accept you and make judgements about you that are at best positive, at worst benign, but that they will feel comfortable around you. If you’re trying to bill some 1,800 to 2,000+ hours a year, that’s a lot of time to feel all this additional stress. So, how do lawyers who are concerned about this, apply mindfulness as a tool to promote greater mental health and wellbeing? Are there particular ways to utilize mindfulness that work better than others? What are the potential mental and emotional benefits to individual lawyers when they are able to apply DEI mindfulness within the workplace, both remotely and in-person?
Michael Boykins, Chicago Office Managing Partner, McDermott Will & Emery LLP
Rudy Figueroa, Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Mitsui Rail Capital LLC
Ellen Ostrow, Founding Principal, Lawyers Life Coach LLC
Jennifer Rosato Perea, Dean and Professor, DePaul University College of Law
Moderator: Sylvia James, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Winston & Strawn LLP
(3:35 – 3:40 PM) Break
(3:40 – 4:40 PM) Panel II: Mindfulness as a DEI Strategy
Legal employers and bar associations have been struggling for decades to better recruit, retain, engage, and promote diverse attorneys. They have tried to accomplish this through assorted policies, protocols, rules, programs, incentives, penalties, and education – with varying degrees of success – yet the challenge persists. Is mindfulness a DEI strategy that we overlooked? How might employers and other organizations effectively implement mindfulness as a strategy to advance meaningful DEI efforts? Are some already doing it and, if so, what have they learned and what results are they seeing?
Ann Chen, Assistant General Counsel, Litigation, Enforcement & Strategy, TransUnion
Beatrice James-Moore, Assistant Vice President, Senior Legal Counsel, AT&T
Nerissa Coyle McGinn, Chief Diversity Partner, Loeb & Loeb LLP
Maria Melendez, Chief Diversity Officer, Sidley Austin LLP
DL Morriss, Diversity & Inclusion Partner, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP
Moderator: Jeffrey Jamison, Associate General Counsel, Litigation and Senior Vice President, BMO Harris Bank
(4:40 – 4:45 PM) Closing Remarks: Sandra Yamate, CEO, Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession
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