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Recruiting, Retention, and Advancement

Schnader achieved Mansfield Certification Plus after successfully completing Diversity Lab’s rigorous years-long Mansfield Rule 2.0 and 3.0 programs, a tool to drive diversity in leadership roles and lateral hiring. Schnader achieved this certification by not only meeting or exceeding the Mansfield requirements, but also by increasing our diverse lawyer representation in a notable number of leadership roles by at least 30 percent.

In the past several years, the Firm has adopted a number of programs designed to improve retention and advancement of diverse attorneys, and all attorneys. These programs include:

  • Individual professional development meetings with each associate. At least three times per year, a chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee or Associate Professional Development Committee meets with each associate individually. The purpose of these meetings is to review the nature of the work being performed, ensure the associate is receiving the appropriate level and type of work, explore opportunities for the associate both with respect to substantive work and professional development, and to assist with the associate’s individual professional development plan.
  • Monthly trainings on various topics identified by associates, such as firm economics, billing, client service, path to partnership, marketing, and business development.
  • Mentoring circles. Each associate can join one of numerous mentoring circles to ensure that questions particular to that associate’s experience level are addressed by multiple mentors, and that each associate has several confidential resources for questions, concerns, or ideas regarding their individual professional development.
  • Informal training for partners on how to provide better and more constructive feedback.
  • Improving communication and building transparency about firm policies and the path to partnership.

In 2001, Schnader became a founding member of the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group (PDLG), whose mission has remained focused on issues involving lawyer recruitment, student pipeline, legal community education, and lawyer retention. We actively recruit diverse candidates from PDLG. Our attorneys also participate in PDLG programs, including helping to plan and speaking at symposiums, attending alumni conferences, and participating in mock pitch programs.

The Firm is also a charter member of the Pittsburgh Legal Diversity and Inclusion Coalition (PLDIC), which was founded in 2015, and whose mission is to promote regional economic growth by assisting employers in the greater Pittsburgh area to increase the hiring, retention, and inclusion of legal professionals from a variety of diverse backgrounds. We are actively involved in the Coalition, helping to develop its Career Advocate Program, and participating in its “Toward a Culture of Inclusion Program.” Recently, several of our Pittsburgh attorneys earned “ally-ready” certification through PLDIC’s ally-ready training program. The Managing Partner of our Pittsburgh office is a Coalition board member.

Schnader also recruits diverse candidates through job fairs with organizations, such as the Black Law Students’ Association, and through participation with a number of other organizations, including the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Summer Clerkship Program for 1L Students and the Career and Networking Expo held by Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, as well as with law schools and their alumni associations within the geographic areas of our offices: Cardozo, New York University, Fordham, Temple, University of Pittsburgh, Rutgers University, George Washington University, and Georgetown. Each year, our summer and fall associate programs become more diverse. The incoming fall class is 100% diverse.  

Inclusion

Schnader supports an internal Women’s group that meets monthly and hosts events and substantive educational programs. Please see the separate page for our Women LEAD initiative (Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Development).

We also have a book club, open to all attorneys and staff, to facilitate a dialogue of diversity issues, including race, within the Firm. We solicit book suggestions from all members. The Firm purchases and ships the books to each participant, and the club breaks into small groups for discussions. 

We have a small group “honest conversations” program, and many attorneys and staff have chosen to participate. The groups of eight, which are intentionally designed to bring together attorneys and staff from different offices and departments, meet monthly (or sometimes more often) to have honest conversations about race, gender, and sexual identity, and share experiences and learn from each other. 

We also underwrite membership for attorneys in groups such as the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and the California Minority Counsel Program.

Each year, we celebrate heritage months by circulating information and inviting discussions regarding the particular community being celebrated. In 2021, these efforts focused on noteworthy individuals and events relating to each community. In 2022, we are concentrating on holidays and food dishes relating to each community. The intent of this focus is not only to celebrate cultural traditions, but also to recognize traditions that unite individuals across cultural lines.

In 2021, we participated in a 21-day equity challenge, spearheaded by the United Way in commemoration of Juneteenth. This involved a daily email with articles, podcasts, or videos for self-guided learning and suggestions for reflection. Feedback was encouraged and shared anonymously.

In 2021, we also adopted a policy allowing for the use of pronouns in email signature blocks.

Although Schnader has always considered diversity and inclusion efforts in compensation decisions, the Firm has formalized this process to encourage more participation and reward those who do participate in meaningful ways.

We conducted a survey during 2021 to assess the areas where we need improvement and establish a baseline to measure our progress.

We also worked with a diversity and inclusion consultant to help us craft a strategic plan to improve inclusion throughout the Firm.

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