Law firm Selendy & Gay has been accepting applications for its recently announced Diversity Fellowship. Open to 2Ls, 3Ls and lateral associates, the fellowship is meant to "[nurture] outstanding racially diverse candidates and first-generation college students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds." The program was designed to remove long-standing obstacles that have suppressed women and minority advancement, promotion and visibility, an S&G spokesperson told HR Dive.
Along with coaching on writing and networking, fellows receive training on "managing up" and cultivating personal leadership skills. Fellows also receive dedicated time with S&G senior partners and a $30,000 payment made in tranches. The fellowship supplements the firm’s apprenticeship-based approach to associate training, the spokesperson said. Trial skills, case management and communication and business development are three key areas that fellows will work on.
A main goal outlined in the fellowship’s press release was "attracting and retaining attorneys of color." In an email, partner David Flugman told HR Dive, "Apart from the obvious point that recruiting and retaining talented attorneys of color is the right thing to do from a moral perspective, assembling a diverse team of attorneys is a business imperative for litigators. Litigation is a team-based profession, and clients come to us with their most difficult, intractable, and important legal problems — problems that require creative solutions."
"And once we come up with those solutions, our job is then to sell the solution to a finder of fact, like a judge, arbitrator, or jury," Flugman continued. There is "no question," he said, that more diverse teams help with both of those objectives. From Flugman’s perspective, the importance of a diverse workforce has been underscored since day one.
"To bring about the best possible result, we needed to draw from a diverse set of minds and experiences. It’s important to remember that clients and jury pools are diverse, and clients are also increasingly demanding more diversity in their litigation team," he said. "Given all this, in our view it is not enough to just recruit a diverse talent pool. We need to support and nurture diverse talent, and foster a vibrant community where everyone’s individual perspectives are valued and celebrated."
Clarification: This story has been updated to clarify the separate nature of the firm's training approaches.