Our Vision and its Impact
Carla De La Barra Helstrom
"Without maintaining a diverse group of attorneys, no firm can develop business in the ever- changing economic world. As a native Spanish-speaker, I am able to help the firm meet unique client needs."
Bernard L. McKay
“As part of our outreach efforts, we’ve initiated networking events for law students of the LGBT community. It’s just one way for us to be an open and inviting firm for everyone.”
Russell J. Kutell
“Inclusion is not a ‘term of art’ bantered about the firm. Rather, it is an overarching concept that the firm supports wholeheartedly and insists upon. As a result, people at the firm can feel welcome, respected and be the best that they can be.”
Kimberly K. Mauer
“Our job is not to turn women into men so that they can succeed. Our job is to help remove the barriers so that we stop penalizing women for being women in a profession that traditionally has been dominated by men.”
Frost Brown Todd is committed to making diversity and inclusion a permanent part of the culture of the firm. The firm will strive to create and maintain an inclusive environment in which every person has not only an equal opportunity to succeed, but is provided with appropriate support to help him or her realize that opportunity. We will promote the recruitment, community involvement and professional advancement of a diverse and inclusive team.
Our goal is simple. We will be recognized by everyone at Frost Brown Todd and by our peers and other meaningful organizations within the legal industry as having the most inclusive environment in our respective markets. The firm's success in these efforts will require the commitment of the firm’s leadership and management as well as every lawyer and administrator in the firm. Each of these individuals will be charged with, and held accountable for, helping the firm to achieve this goal.
It’s About People, Ideas and Experiences
Diversity and inclusion are issues that touch everyone, and every aspect of our working environment. Inclusion impacts the relationships we have with each other at the firm, as well as our relationships with our clients and with the extended community. We have programs in place to monitor, measure and ensure that we are on the right track. But, while we celebrate our progress, we remain watchful of complacency. We recognize that we’ve come a long way – and are pleased to have attorneys from a variety of backgrounds in many of our departments and practice areas – but we acknowledge that we still have plenty of work to do. In the end, the real expression of diversity and inclusion is not just measurable by statistics; it’s also found in appreciating each other for whom we are and feeling accepted and valued for what we contribute.
We work hard to put these values into action every day. One of the strongest actions we’ve taken is adding a full-time Director of Diversity and Inclusion. The Director oversees our daily efforts, measures our progress and reports directly to the firm’s Chief Executive Officer. She also reports annually to the Compensation Committee on firm members’ commitment to the firm’s inclusion goals.
Creating an inclusive environment benefits us and our clients, who receive better service from the multitude of talent that can only be achieved with people of different backgrounds, distinct perspectives and varied experience.
Our Ongoing Efforts
Our program is constantly evolving to build a more vibrant and creative law firm. Our focus on inclusion extends beyond the firm and includes partnering with our clients on unique programs to help them achieve their diversity and inclusion goals. It also includes leading the way on numerous pipeline programs and investing in various regional and national initiatives:
We conduct regular mandatory training for all employees on unconscious bias and inclusion. This formal training program is supplemented by optional workshops to help everyone develop cultural competencies. These include “inclusion workshop lunches” – casual opportunities to bridge the gap in our diversity lens with topics such as religion, generational differences, sexual orientation and living with disabilities.
The firm provides guidance and direction for our female attorneys to help them advance in their careers at FBT and develop client service strategies and attorney-client relationships that produce long-term benefits. Click here for more information about the Women’s Initiative, which has been in place since 2001.
We participate in four regional diversity job fairs every year to be able to solicit a diverse pool of candidates beyond our local law schools. We also consider diversity from the start by using Structured Panel Interviewing to guard against bias in the hiring process.
We have One-on-One Resources, such as the Director of Professional Development and the Director of Diversity and Inclusion, to provide adequate resources for our attorneys to succeed. We have established Affinity Groups, where our attorneys of color and LGBT attorneys can come together to network and cross-sell several times throughout the year.
The firm supports the Summer Work Experience in Law, Inc. (SWEL), and the Louisville Bar Association’s summer internship programs which place minority high school and college students in our Cincinnati and Louisville offices during the summer. We actively support the Law and Leadership Institute, working with and supporting students from 9th to 12th grade. We offer two unique scholarship opportunities specifically to encourage minority students to consider the legal field: The Frost Brown Todd Diversity Scholarship Fund, which supports diverse students in their education or exploration of law; and the FBT Intellectual Property Diversity Scholarship Fund, which promotes diversity in Intellectual Property Law. Click here to learn more. We have also had over 75 attorneys volunteer to serve as mentors to diverse law students.
Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Our Communities and in Our Profession:
The firm supports and participates in various local and national organizations, such as the national Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), where our managing member is directly engaged. We also participate in the LCLD Fellows Program.
Community Outreach and Partnerships:
We initiate and participate in numerous outreach programs to connect with organizations in our communities, as well as local high schools with large minority representation. We are founding members of the Greater Cincinnati Minority Council and the Business Diversity Network of Kentucky, and have continuously invested significant funding and volunteer work toward their missions while also serving as co-chairs and board members. We actively participate in the Chief Diversity Officer Roundtable, an organization providing an exclusive forum for business executives to share their knowledge and best practices for diversity and inclusion.
Encouraging Equal Rights and Promoting Fairness:
We sponsor the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Greater Cincinnati annual gala, and we serve on the board and sponsor Equality Ohio events. We are corporate sponsors of the LGBT night at the Cincinnati Symphony. We have organized and hosted events to bring together LGBT attorneys and law students in our markets. Our efforts to encourage equal rights and promote fairness in our own workplace as well as the greater community earned us the distinction of being one of the "Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality" in the 2015 Corporate Equality Index (CEI). Our LGBT affinity group is constantly exploring new ways for us to have a bigger impact.
Work/Life Balance Arrangements:
The firm strives to offer an environment in which everyone can plan to succeed and advance, and if they choose, also find time to raise a family. This means that we support alternative work schedules and flexible working arrangements for our attorneys.
FBT Diversity and Inclusion Award:
The firm annually recognizes FBT attorneys and staff who exemplify our goals of advocating for inclusion and who are making a difference in our communities.
Frost Brown Todd is dedicated to building and maintaining a diverse work environment. We are committed to hiring the people best qualified for all employment opportunities, and we are an equal opportunity employer.