New initiative will provide firm attorneys and staff with programs to foster inclusivity while embracing diversity
Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman premiered its firmwide Diversity and Inclusion Program (DIP) to implement and promote programming within the firm that will foster inclusivity among attorneys and staff and welcome an open and respectful exchange of values.
The purpose of the initiative is to encourage everyone in the firm to contribute to a more open and diverse legal profession by partnering with and holding leadership roles in organizations that support diversity and inclusion as core principles of their organizations.
Many of the firm’s attorneys are members or hold leadership positions in such organizations, including the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of South Florida, LGBTQ Community Fund of the Miami Foundation, the Cuban American Bar Association, Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association, and the Broward County Hispanic Bar Association, among others.
“I’m proud because so many in our firm have committed to embrace such an important initiative,” said Firm Managing Director Mitch Burnstein. “Our attorneys and staff are already involved in numerous organizations that champion underrepresented groups. This new program reinforces that diversity and inclusion are not buzzwords for us, but rather a set of principles we incorporate into our daily work and relationships.”
The Diversity and Inclusion Program and committee members focus on four main initiatives: racial and ethnic minorities, women, LGBTQ, and mentorship. The program is committed to creating and providing opportunities for underrepresented groups and to support the advancement of diversity within the firm, as well as in the community.
To kick off the program, the firm hosted an event on Feb. 26 in its Coral Gables office to coincide with Black History Month. Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert, Miami Gardens City Attorney Sonja Dickens, and attorney Loreal Arscott, President of the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association, were special guest speakers. They discussed the importance of diversity in the legal profession and the need to be aware of and address implicit bias.
The event was organized by attorney Chanae Wood, who chairs the DIP Committee. “I’m excited to be a part of a firm that is committed to diversity and look forward to effectuating lasting changes in the legal profession,” said Wood.
“This initiative took off because of Chanae’s passion about inclusion; her enthusiasm is contagious,” Burnstein added.