Blank Rome Pledges Support of Houston Bar Association’s 2021 Gender Fairness Commitment Statement
Blank Rome LLP is pleased to announce that the firm has pledged support of the Houston Bar Association (“HBA”) 2021 Gender Fairness Commitment Statement, which asks law firms, legal departments, and other institutions to take concrete action to advance gender equity in the legal profession. Blank Rome was one of the initial signatories to the statement, with many of the firm’s attorneys and professional staff supporting the outreach and publicity efforts surrounding its launch. Dozens of legal institutions have since signed on to participate in this important initiative.
Signatories of the statement commit to address gender diversity in leadership positions with a material increase in representation by a target date set by the organization; implement objective, unbiased criteria and procedures for achieving equity and interrupting bias in recruitment, hiring, evaluation, assignment, retention, and promotion of attorneys into partner and/or leadership positions; and promote policies, practices, opportunities, transparency, and accountability to achieve gender equity. Participants also pledge to obtain and act on feedback from employees and others regarding efforts to increase gender equity and equality; offer professional development opportunities that support gender equality for attorneys at all levels throughout their careers; identify and promote opportunities for gender diversity through leadership roles and advancement within the organization; and allow for flexible work arrangements that are an equitable option for all attorneys. To learn more about the 2021 Gender Fairness Commitment Statement, please read Houston Law Offices Commit to Gender Parity (Houston Bar Association) and Dozens of Law Offices Commit to Gender Parity in Revised Houston Bar Statement (Texas Lawyer).
Blank Rome’s Houston office, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, has actively participated in and supported the HBA and its Gender Fairness Committee as well as related Houston-area gender equality events, including recent programs on Juggling Your Legal Career and Caregiving during COVID-19, Business Development for Women, and the committee’s annual speed mentoring event. In 2020, Blank Rome associate Emery Gullickson Richards was honored together with the Gender Fairness Committee with the HBA’s President’s Award in recognition of the committee’s work for the 2019‒2020 term where Emery helped lead the committee’s mission of empowering women and making the bar more equitable. In 2021, Blank Rome partner Susan L. Bickley, who serves as chair of the Houston office, was presented with the HBA’s Justice Ruby Kless Sondock Award, which recognizes a woman lawyer or judge for a record of exceptional achievement and leadership in the law.
In addition, through Blank Rome’s Women’s Forum, Women’s Business Development Academy, Women’s Leadership Summit, and other firm-wide initiatives and client programs, the firm is committed to connecting women in business and law to find innovative solutions to addressing today’s top industry issues. The firm is also proud to participate in innovative programs and partnerships aimed at building gender equity throughout the legal industry at large. Notably, our firm is an active participant in Diversity Lab’s industry-leading diversity and inclusion initiatives, including the Mansfield Rule program, which measures whether law firms have affirmatively considered at least 30 percent women, attorneys of color, attorneys with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ attorneys for governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitch opportunities, and senior lateral positions. In 2020, Blank Rome inaugurated the Bonnie Glantz Fatell Women’s Advocacy and Leadership Award, which was created to recognize attorneys and legal professionals for their contributions to women’s advocacy and leadership, and furthers the firm’s deep commitment to developing and promoting forward-thinking policies and programs aimed at advancing women.
As a result of these initiatives as well as Blank Rome’s participation in various other diversity and inclusion programs, the firm was recognized as a 2021 Best Law Firm for Women by Seramount (formerly Working Mother). Earlier this year, Blank Rome was also honored in Yale Law Women’s Top Ten Firms for Gender Equity & Family Friendliness Report for the fourth year in a row, received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index for the sixth year in a row, and was listed in Exelon’s D&I Honor Roll.