Katten Chairman Roger Furey and Laura Keidan Martin, partner and chair of the firm's Women's Leadership Forum, were featured in the second part of an ABA Journal series on efforts to encourage gender equity at law firms. The article notes that firm leadership support and male allies are critical to cultivating diverse attorneys. Roger stated, "I am 100 percent convinced clients want and deserve diversity from their legal advisers. All the research shows a diversity of view is for the betterment of our institution and our clients. It makes sense to me on every level, and it's kind of intuitive for me. We've done training on unconscious or implicit bias, and there's no doubt on anyone's mind that it exists with respect to diverse and female attorneys, as in any industry. You have to work very hard because it's so challenging to succeed at diversity because of the way our institutions are set up. It's not going to be corrected without people paying attention to it." Laura noted that having partner support significantly impacted her career, stating, "At this point in my career I want to give back. I've been lucky with mentors, etc., and I want to institutionalize some of the things that made me successful. People gave me an opportunity to shine, taking me to pitch meetings, introducing me to clients. I demonstrated early on I was able and willing to do these things."
In addition to a sponsorship program that targets diverse attorneys for leadership positions, Roger noted that Katten is working on building and sustaining its pipeline of diverse attorneys. These efforts include a firm committee that monitors the progress of diverse midlevel and senior associates to provide support for the long term. Roger stated, "This isn't just a 'check the box.' It's something we need to do to get our firm to where we need to get to, so we can be the best at this." ("Program Helps Law Firms See Progress in Gender Diversity—But Is It Enough?," October 2017)