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February 2011

Gordon & Rees Hosts Presentation on Diversity in the Legal Profession

On January 25, Gordon & Rees's San Francisco office had the privilege of hosting Vicki Ortiz, former Dean of Students at UC Berkeley School of Law, and Jenn Elrod, former assistant Dean of Admissions at UC Irvine School of Law, for a presentation on diversity in the legal profession. More than 60 attorneys from 13 of the firm's offices participated.

In an interactive presentation, Ms. Ortiz and Ms. Elrod provided insightful perspective and best practices advice on how to increase diversity in the legal profession, with a specific focus on law firms. The presenters provided information on the status of diversity in the legal profession overall, as well as guidance on setting goals, developing and implementing programs, and establishing metrics to measure progress. Ms. Ortiz and Ms. Elrod also praised Gordon & Rees for the firm's ongoing efforts in the area of diversity, specifically mentioning the firm's website as "outstanding" in the presentation of the firm's ongoing diversity goals and accomplishments.

The presenters noted that in addition to increasing the vibrancy and richness of the legal community, many clients consider a firm's diversity statistics in determining where to assign legal engagements. Ms. Ortiz and Ms. Elrod also explained that diversity can encompass a broader spectrum of characteristics and backgrounds than the traditional categories of race, gender, and sexual orientation. The presenters explained that the legal community is approaching the word "diversity" with a broader vision, such as including disability, socio-economics, and single parenthood.

Ms. Ortiz and Ms. Elrod offered excellent suggestions regarding small steps that firms can take as well as overarching, long-term goals. As a direct result of the presentation, Gordon & Rees has already implemented a plan to publicize the firm's diversity efforts relating to various National Heritage Months. The Diversity Committee will also focus on enhancing the mentoring program, expanding outreach activities to law schools, and establishing a multi-year plan containing diversity goals.

Please click here to learn more about diversity at Gordon & Rees.