CHICAGO - Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP National Managing Partner, Vincent A.F. Sergi, along with several other leaders in the area of law firm diversity, participated in an American Bar Association panel discussion on women of color in the legal profession on Tuesday, June 19. The ABA’s Women of Color in the Legal Profession: Success Strategies for Law Firms provided a forum for law firms to discuss the issues which have impacted their ability to retain female attorneys of color, as well as best strategies and practices to address those issues.
The program was a follow-up to the 2006 ABA Commission on Women in the Profession study, Visible Invisibility: Women of Color in Law Firms. This groundbreaking study highlighted statistical and real life examples of obstacles that women of color face in large law firms.
As National Managing Partner, Mr. Sergi has played a prominent role in the promotion of diversity at the Firm and in the legal profession. Under his direction, the Firm has created a Diversity Committee and developed its initial Diversity Commitment Statement and Strategic Diversity Plan. It has also created and executed a number of national initiatives aimed at the promotion, development and retention of minority attorneys in the legal profession. These include the establishment of a firm-wide Minority Attorney Retreat, a firm-wide Minority Newsletter, "Connecting Katten," as well as a minority scholarship program which awards merit-based scholarships to incoming minority summer associates. The Firm also recently created Katten’s Leadership Forum for Women of Color, the first of its kind in the nation, to provide the Firm’s minority female attorneys with the tools they need to succeed in their careers at the Firm. Earlier this year, Mr. Sergi also appointed partner Leslie D. Minier as the Firm’s first-ever Chief Diversity Partner.
The ABA panel was moderated by Pamela J. Roberts, chair of the ABA’s Commission on Women in the Profession. In addition to Mr. Sergi, other panelists included Paulette Brown, partner and Chief Diversity Officer of Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP and Chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession’s Women of Color Committee; Susan R. Lichtenstein, Corporate Vice President and General Counsel of Baxter International Inc.; Christina M. Tchen, partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; and Charlotte L. Wager, Director of Professional Development and partner at Jenner & Block LLP.