DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION POLICY

STATEMENT

Dolden Wallace Folick LLP is committed to encouraging diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our work and for each partner, employee and client to feel included and respected.  We believe that embracing each of our different and unique lived experiences based on factors such as cultural and racial backgrounds, citizenship, religion, creed, sex, gender identity and gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital and family status, and ability and disability brings incredible benefit to our firm and to our clients.

SCOPE

This policy applies:

  • At all stages and to all aspects of the employment cycle (recruitment, retention, advancement).
  • To all partners and employees, for all roles and positions at Dolden Wallace Folick LLP.
  • To all clients, services, suppliers, vendors and public interactions.

DEFINITIONS

We consider: 

  • Diversity to mean the range of human difference, both visible and non-visible, including but not limited to culture, race, citizenship, religion, creed, sex, gender identity and gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital and family status, and ability and disability. 
  • Equity to mean breaking down barriers, eliminating discrimination and ensuring equal opportunities. This means providing the same access to all, from both an employment, and resources perspective.  
  • Inclusion to mean valuing everyone. By respecting differences, visible and non-visible, everyone can feel valued for their contributions which is beneficial not only for the individual but for the firm and its clients.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are not inter-changeable but inter-dependent. There can be no equality of opportunity if difference is not valued and harnessed. 

OUR COMMITMENTS

  • Establish and maintain a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committeewith minimum of eight (8)people and representation of partners, management, associates and support staff. The committee will oversee diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at all levels, and ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion is integrated into all initiatives and aspects of Dolden Wallace Folick LLP.
  • Create formal and transparent policies that continuously evolve, as we strive for cultural competency throughout our firm.
  • Dedicate adequate resources (in budget and staffing) to meet our diversity, equity and inclusion goals.
  • Provide and encourage continuous diversity, equity and inclusion education and training for all members of the firm.
  • Monitor the make-up of our workforce in regards to information such as age, sex, ethnic background, and disability in encouraging diversity, equity, and inclusion.  This includes assessing how the diversity, equity, and inclusion policy, and any supporting action plan(s), are working in practice.
  • Review and update employment practices and procedures when necessary to ensure fairness and compliance with the law.
  • Create a working environment free of bullying, harassment, victimization, and discrimination, promoting dignity and respect for all, and where individual differences and the contributions of all partners and staff are recognized and valued.  
  • Take seriously and investigate complaints of bullying, harassment, victimization and unlawful discrimination by fellow partners, employees, clients, vendors, suppliers, supporters, visitors, the public, and any others in the course of the firm’s work activities.  
  • Be non-discriminatory and provide equal opportunities for employment, volunteering, and advancement in all areas of our work.
  • To model diversity, equity and inclusion, and maintain fair and equal treatment for all.

RECRUITMENT, RETENTION & ADVANCEMENT

We strive to attract, retain and promote lawyers and staff who are the best at what they do and who reflect the diversity of the communities where we live and work, particularly for those who have been historically excluded from, and under-represented in, the practice of law. In addition, we strive to promote diversity equity and inclusion in support of our relationships with our clients and the institutions and communities from which we recruit our diverse talent.

To achieve our goal of enhancing diversity equity and inclusion at Dolden Wallace Folick LLP, the following strategies with respect to recruitment, retention & advancement will be implemented:

RECRUITMENT – OUR COMMITMENTS

Recruitment refers to the process of searching, identifying, attracting, interviewing and hiring the best and most qualified candidate(s) for a job opening(s) or future job openings.

To achieve our goal of enhancing diversity equity and inclusion at Dolden Wallace Folick LLP, the following strategies with respect to recruitment will be implemented:

Legal Education Institutions

  • Work with law schools, law clerk, paralegal, legal administrative assistant education institutions to promote opportunities for candidates from diverse communities.

Advertising

  • Include our diversity, equity and inclusion statement in all job postings. 
  • Use internet and social media tools such as LinkedIn to find competitive diverse candidates.

Continuous Recruitment

  • Continuously recruit, not only when there are openings.
  • Maintain professional networks and make note of potential candidates from underrepresented groups for future openings.

Interviewing

  • Select a diverse hiring committee and educate the committee on methods of assessing potential candidates during interviews.
  • Include at least one diversity-related question during the interview.
  • Demonstrate a willingness to challenge and change practices that present barriers to different groups.
  • Infuse diversity, equity and inclusion concepts to questions not directly prompting them.
  • Share successful experiences working with underrepresented populations.

Hiring

  • Provide the candidate(s) with a written letter of employment which includes DWF’s diversity, equity and inclusion statement.

RETENTION – OUR COMMITMENTS

Retention refers to the ability of an organization to retain its employees. A number of factors contribute to employee retention, such as career development, opportunity, satisfaction, rewards, and recognition.

To achieve our goal of enhancing diversity equity and inclusion at Dolden Wallace Folick LLP, the following strategies with respect to retention will be implemented:

Reasonable Accommodations

  • Grant and respect accommodation requests for family responsibilities, physical accessibility for disabilities, and diverse days of religious significance and or other reasonable asks.

Mentoring

  • Ensure that senior partners and/or managers will mentor employees from diverse communities, and those historically under-represented in the legal profession.
  • Encourage employees from diverse communities, and those historically under­represented in the legal profession to act as mentors.

Performance Management

  • Develop and implement clearly written performance management guidelines and policies.
  • Ensure that performance reviews are conducted regularly on a set-schedule, as well as on an as-needed basis.

Quality of Work

  • Ensure that employees from diverse communities have access to a range of legal work, with a variety of clients and colleagues.

Client Development

  • Meaningfully support and defend employees who experience disrespectful and discriminatory treatment from clients.

Parental Leave

  • Provide salary top up for parental leave for lawyers (refer to the Parental Leave Policy).

Flexible Schedule

  • Provide a flexible work schedule and/or part-time arrangements where feasible.

ADVANCEMENT & OUR COMMITMENTS

Advancement is the upward trajectory of an individual’s career and typically means getting promoted or being assigned more responsibilities by an employer.

To achieve our goal of enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion at Dolden Wallace Folick LLP, the following strategies with respect to advancement will be implemented:

Criteria

  • Develop and implement clear criteria to evaluate candidates for partnership and/or senior management positions.
  • Develop and implement clear criteria to evaluate candidates for paralegal, law clerk, legal administrative assistant, accounting department and administrative support staff positions.
  • Communicate the expectations and time frame for becoming a partner and/or senior manager.
  • Communicate the expectations and time frame for becoming a paralegal, law clerk, legal administrative assistant, accounting department and administrative support staff person.
  • Ensure that regular, documented performance reviews are considered in advancement decisions.

Promotions

  • Provide opportunities to promote partners and employees from groups historically under-represented in the legal profession.

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