Diversity matters not only because it is the right thing to pursue but also because it achieves results. Fundamentally, lawyers process and present information, and we do that better when we have a team with diverse individual backgrounds and experiences.
Burr & Forman's commitment to promoting and cultivating a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion is best demonstrated by action, such as our Pre-Law Program to identify and cultivate diverse undergraduates interested in a law career and our Diversity Scholarship and Fellowship Programs to promote the development of students from backgrounds historically underrepresented in the legal profession.
The firm realizes its culture, in part, by embracing and valuing all the characteristics that make employees unique, including differences in age, color, disability, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, physical and mental ability, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or veteran status. At Burr & Forman, we welcome varying perspectives and experiences, and we recognize diversity as a strength.
Goals & Initiatives
Our goal is to achieve inclusive diversity and equitable outcomes in recruitment, retention, development, promotion, and compensation. Leading these efforts are the firm’s Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, who reports directly to the Executive Committee, and its Diversity Committee, which is comprised of partners, attorneys, and staff from across the firm’s geographic footprint. Together, they work to ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion permeate the firm’s policies and practices. Resulting initiatives include:
- An internship opportunity for students of diverse backgrounds into our Pre-Law Program
- Recruit diverse candidates and law students
- Participation in job fairs and campus recruitment efforts targeting diverse talent
- Firm-wide unconscious bias training for attorneys and staff
- Sponsorship of and participation in diverse bar associations
- Paid parental leave for all attorneys
- A formal, written flex-time policy applicable to all attorneys, including partners
- Educational programming in conjunction with annual observances of cultural traditions and heritage months
- Firm-sponsored affinity groups that provide resources to and promote the interests of attorneys from various backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in the law
Collectively, these initiatives help to create a diverse and inclusive culture at the firm.
Commitment to Recruiting Diverse Individuals
Burr & Forman continues its commitment to recruit diverse candidates and law students through partner organizations, sponsorships and participation in job fairs and clerkship programs. For example, the firm participates annually in the Atlanta Bar Association’s 1L Minority & Diversity Clerkship Program, the Lavender Law Career Fair, the National BLSA Southeast Region’s Annual Conference, and recruitment at HBCU law schools. Our goal is to recruit individuals with a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives. In addition to these formal programs, the firm has adopted or otherwise offered significant financial support to local schools serving underprivileged populations, and our attorneys regularly sponsor, organize, or participate in career panels and college prep programs at high schools and universities.
Recognition and Awards
Burr & Forman earned Mansfield Certification in 2023, which measures structural steps the firm has taken to enhance inclusivity and increase diversity in leadership. In further recognition of its diversity in leadership, Burr & Forman received the 2023 Aspire Diversity Award by Lawyers of Color.
In 2022, Burr & Forman was named a BTI Associate Satisfaction A-Lister for being a leader in activities that associates value most for deriving high levels of job satisfaction. The firm also earned a 90% ranking on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2022 Corporate Equality Index.
Burr & Forman received the 2021 Outside Counsel Diversity Award from the Wells Fargo Legal Department. This annual honor recognizes an outside law firm that demonstrates great efforts toward improving the engagement of diverse personnel at all participation levels and creating a culture of equity and inclusion in their workplace and community. That same year, the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance honored Burr & Forman with its 2021 Tipping the Scales award. This award acknowledges firms for having 50% or more women in their new partner classes.
The firm’s outstanding pre-law program garnered the Legal Marketing Association Southeast Region’s Your Honor Award in 2020. Additionally, in recognition of Burr & Forman’s commitment to diversity, the Alabama State Bar Association’s Diversity of the Profession Committee honored the firm in 2019.
DEI Annual Report
The most recent summary of our activities, accomplishments and initiatives is available in our 2022 DEI Annual Report.