Letter From The President Of The New Jersey Corporate Counsel Association

2004-03-01 00:00

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:

This month's issue of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel focuses on diversity in the workplace. ACC and NJCCA have a long history of supporting diversity in our own workplaces and in the hiring of outside counsel. In addition to pride in the diversity reflected in NJCCA's own leadership ranks, we are proud to have sponsored programs promoting diversity in the workforce and in retention of counsel, supported an award for best diversity practice by a corporate law department, and made efforts to be an active part of the outreach efforts of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) to all specialty bar associations.

We applaud, and support, NJSBA President Karol Corbin Walker's theme for her term of inclusiveness. We also join NJSBA, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey, Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, and New Jersey Women Lawyers Association in sponsoring a Diversity Bar Summit on March 11.

The Diversity Bar Summit will be held at the NJSBA's headquarters in New Brunswick, New Jersey. NJCCA will offer a perspective on diversity related issues of corporate representation. NJCCA representatives will present a panel discussion that will include information on how Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) firms can obtain and retain corporate legal work, how companies can develop successful diversity programs in the corporate workplace, and how corporate counsel can advance diversity in the profession by implementing it as a selection criterion for outside counsel. Mark your calendars and look for further information on this important program.

But we should do more than "talk the talk." We need to "walk the walk." Our client companies have come to recognize that they must reach all manner of diverse clientele. Diversity is just good business practice. Law services are no different. The communities to which lawyers appeal - juries, judges, arbitrators or the broader court of public opinion - represent the entire spectrum of American society.Retaining qualified legal service providers, in-house or outside, who reflect the entire spectrum of American society is just good law practice.

When the next opportunity arises to retain counsel, stop and think if it might be a case for which a MWBE counsel could be retained, even if it means retaining a new firm. Even with continued reduction of the number of firms corporations retain, introducing a more varied group of legal representatives is one way to keep your firms competitive and not complacent in their relationships with you. Keep an eye out for new talent and keep an open mind as to what a talented lawyer looks like. You might be surprised.

I hope to see you on March 11 and at other NJCCA functions soon.


Arthur H. Saiewitz