Warner Norcross Signs Bar Association’s Diversity Collaborative Agreement

Reaffirming its longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, Warner Norcross & Judd LLP has signed the Managing Partners Diversity Collaborative Agreement sponsored by the Grand Rapids Bar Association (GRBA).

Managing Partner Douglas E. Wagner was among the signatories during the June 13th ceremony. The collaborative agreement is a formal commitment between the Grand Rapids Bar Association and 12 area law firms to work with others “to achieve diversity and inclusion in the education, hiring, retention and promotion of Michigan’s attorneys and in the elevation of attorneys to leadership positions.”

Specifically, Warner Norcross, the GRBA and other area law firms committed to a five-year action plan that pledges to:

  • Increase the number of attorneys of color within five years
  • Improve the rate of retention and advancement of female attorneys and attorneys of color
  • Expand the pipeline of persons of color who enter law school and the legal profession

“If we want to advance as a legal community, diversity must be a top priority for all of us,” Wagner said. “Warner Norcross is proud to be among the inaugural group of signatories to the Grand Rapids Bar Association’s initiative to promote diversity and inclusion. As a community, we have made solid strides over the years, but we still have work to do. The Bar Association has laid out a framework that will allow area law firms to address the issues of hiring, retaining and expanding leadership opportunities for attorneys of color and women.”

Warner Norcross has a strong and lengthy track record in diversity initiatives, including:

  • Being among the first Michigan law firms to sign the State Bar of Michigan Pledge to Achieve Diversity and Inclusion
  • Providing scholarships to encourage women and minorities to pursue legal careers
  • Providing scholarships to encourage minority students to prepare for the Law School Admissions Test, or LSAT, which is the entrance exam to law school
  • Supporting community initiatives, such as a mock trial program for high school students and an annual writing contest for elementary school students that honors the work and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Expanding attorney recruiting efforts to ensure a diverse candidate pool of new associates
  • Developing policies to increase workplace flexibility, including alternative tracks to partnership
  • Offering numerous internal education programs, including a One Book, One Firm reading and discussion program, as well as lunch-and-learn programs
  • Strengthening mentoring programs to ensure that all attorneys have the opportunity to succeed and grow
  • Publishing a Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report, now entering its sixth year

Last year, the firm’s diversity initiatives received multiple awards, including the Alfred P. Sloane for Workplace Excellence in Flexibility and the Racial Justice Unity Award from the Knights of Peter Claver. Additionally, Warner Norcross was named one of the Top Work Places in the state by The Detroit Free Press and one of the 101 Best & Brightest Companies to Work For in Grand Rapids and Southeast Michigan. The firm’s diversity program has also been honored by Crain’s Detroit Business, Corp! and the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.