Sharon Nelles Quoted in The American Lawyer Article on More Detailed Client Diversity Queries

April 27, 2018
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Sharon Nelles was quoted in an article on clients' increased push to measure their law firms' diversity efforts in an article titled “Some Big Law Firms Applaud as Clients Get Tougher on Diversity” in The American Lawyer. “A law firm's commitment to, and success with, diversity efforts cannot be revealed by a numbers snapshot,” Sharon said of diversity-related client queries in RFPs. “Statistics may make for easy comparisons across points in time, or across firms, but cannot measure culture… Clients can support diversity efforts by asking firms to dive deeper, thus establishing that this is not a numbers game.” Sharon gave examples of questions that clients can ask to help them gain a better picture of the culture surrounding diversity at a particular firm, such as the makeup of the teams currently working for them; what is being done to make client teams or the firm more diverse; and how these diversity programs impact client service. She also advises that clients should follow up after receiving answers to their questions. “I am happy to tell you our numbers. I would rather tell you about our diverse lawyers. I would prefer even more to have those lawyers meet with you and partner with you to develop lasting relationships, which is what ultimately will push up the numbers,” she said. Earlier this year, Sharon helped launch a JPMorgan Chase & Co. program that requires that half of the bank's outside litigation teams be led by women or diverse lawyers.