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Getting Buy-In from Law Firm Leaders and Engaging the Institution

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 59 minutes
Recorded Date: January 30, 2019
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  • Impact of bias in the workplace
  • Common stereotypes
  • Effects of Mansield 1.0 and 2.0 on buy-in and engagement
  • Business Justifications for Diversity and Inclusion
  • Best Practices
Runtime: 1 hour
Recorded: January 30, 2019


In this session, law firm leaders will discuss how and why they became diversity and inclusion allies. The panelists will share their buy-in and engagement success stories as well as strategies for overcoming resistance.

This program was recorded as part of the LegalDiversity & Talent Management Forum at the Legalweek Conference held on January 30th, 2019.

Provided By

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Jami Wintz McKeon

Morgan Lewis

Jami Wintz McKeon is the Chair of Morgan Lewis, providing strategic direction to the largest law firm in the world led by a woman. Under her leadership Morgan Lewis has grown into one of the principal global providers of legal services, assisting clients throughout the United States, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Jami began her career with Morgan Lewis in 1981. She has held various management positions, including membership on the firm’s Advisory Board. Immediately prior to assuming the chair, she led Morgan Lewis’s litigation practice, the firm’s largest group.

Shortly after Jami was first elected Chair in 2014, Morgan Lewis underwent a historic transformation when it welcomed more than 750 lawyers and professional staff from Bingham McCutchen. During her tenure, Morgan Lewis has sustained a particular focus on Asia, highlighted by the establishment of a major hub in Singapore and the opening or expansion of offices in China and Japan. The firm’s careful growth is a direct result of Jami’s commitment to delivering to clients the best possible service in whatever venue or region that is most optimal for them.

In 2018, the firm partnership unanimously reelected Jami to serve a second five-year term as Chair, beginning in October 2019. While Chair, Jami has continued her own legal practice in which she counsels Fortune 100 companies—particularly those in the financial services and technology industries—on complex litigation and investigations involving business disputes, fraud allegations, and class- and mass-action lawsuits. Jami represents some of the world’s foremost banks in regulatory and litigation matters.

Jami has put exceptional client service at the center of her work and her administration of the firm. She encourages the use of cutting-edge technology both to better serve clients and to facilitate the firm’s efficient administration, and she actively encourages all Morgan Lewis lawyers and professional staff to take a client-first approach in their work. A leader in establishing Morgan Lewis as one of a select group of firms managing large portfolios of national and global scope, Jami enthusiastically supports the use of alternative fee arrangements as a service to clients. Because of her deep dedication to clients, BTI Consulting Group named her a Client Service All-Star in 2017.

A long-time advocate of diversity within the legal industry, Jami launched ML Women, an initiative to harness the strength of the firm’s women through partnerships with clients and to create opportunities for women to come together around a shared industry or practice. Women also serve in senior leadership roles across Morgan Lewis, including on the Advisory Board and the Compensation Committee. They manage many of the firm’s practices and offices worldwide.

Both Jami and Morgan Lewis have long demonstrated a commitment to pro bono work and an appreciation of the critical role nonprofit organizations play throughout society, with a special emphasis on education and children’s issues. Jami is a frequent speaker and is active in various community service organizations, including the United Way, and she sits on the Board of Directors for the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. Jami is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession.

Among her numerous accolades, Jami has received the American Red Cross’s Lifetime Achievement Award and United Way’s Women’s Leadership Initiative Award. Other significant recent recognitions include a Special Achievement Award from the Financial Times, being honored as a Philadelphia Business Hall of Fame Icon by The Philadelphia Inquirer, and ranking among The Business Journals’ top 100 Influencers: Law. Jami also was named Attorney of the Year by The Legal Intelligencer and one of the 75 Most Outstanding Women Lawyers by The National Law Journal. Chambers describes her as “phenomenal” and a “great strategist.”

Jami received her JD from Villanova University School of Law in 1981.

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Andrew Kassner

Chairman & CEO
Drinker Biddle

Andrew C. Kassner is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the firm, responsible for overseeing the firm’s management, strategic direction and commitment to client service. Andy was elected Chairman in 2014 after serving as the firm’s Executive Partner for 10 years, during which the firm grew from 360 lawyers primarily located in the mid-Atlantic region to a national firm of more than 600 attorneys in offices from coast-to-coast.

Andy is a well-known restructuring lawyer who chaired the firm’s Corporate Restructuring Practice Group for almost 20 years. His practice is concentrated in workouts, complex Chapter 11 cases and related bankruptcy litigation. He has argued cases before more than 40 different judges in 30 federal jurisdictions throughout the country. He has represented clients in more than 450 Chapter 11 cases, including debtors, secured creditors, significant unsecured creditors, and interested parties (such as leasing companies, suppliers and insurance companies), trustees, committees and purchasers of assets. Andy has also developed particular capabilities in all aspects of business retail and manufacturing restructurings, real estate, hospitality, lease finance, telecommunications and health care insolvency matters.

Andy currently authors a regular column for The Legal Intelligencer on significant decisions and developments in the areas of restructuring and distressed company corporate governance. He has been designated as one of only two “Star Individuals” in bankruptcy in Pennsylvania by Chambers USA and described as a “fabulous strategic partner and a wonderful spokesperson who knows what to say as much as what not to say” in addition to “an adversary you can trust; he has been around a long time and deserves a lot of respect.” He has lectured at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business on corporate business bankruptcies, and taught advanced bankruptcy law at Rutgers University School of Law-Camden for more than 10 years.

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Carmita Alonso

Fragomen Del Ray Bernsen & Loewy

Carmita is a Partner at Fragomen’s New York office and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. She has built a strong practice while serving in a leadership capacity and remaining committed to providing pro bono services. Carmita represents top global financial services, technology and professional services organizations, leading law firms and a broad range of small and medium corporate clients and individuals across industries. Carmita provides enterprise-wide advisory services to support corporate clients on a programmatic level. She works alongside clients’ legal departments, government relations groups, mobility groups, HR, talent acquisition and business stakeholders to help them understand policy changes, assess the impact of these changes to their workforce and modify their immigration program accordingly. Carmita is trusted by her clients’ business stakeholders and leadership teams as a strategic advisor, and she counsels them as they make strategic decisions about their immigration programs—all with an eye toward managing risk and ensuring compliance.

Carmita also has extensive experience in advising clients with respect to due diligence considerations related to corporate reorganizations such as mergers and acquisitions as well as complex post-transaction employment issues.

Carmita regularly provides pro bono services to the greater New York City community, particularly the Latino community. She recently completed six years on the Board of the City Bar Fund, which oversees the New York City Bar Justice Center, the nonprofit legal services affiliate of the New York City Bar Association. She continues to participate in pro bono efforts sponsored by the Justice Center and is an active contributor to the Justice Center’s efforts.

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Bernard Guinyard

Director, Diversity & Inclusion
Goodwin Procter LLP

Bernard Guinyard is the Head of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) at Goodwin. In his role, he brings a data-oriented and collaborative approach to drive D&I initiatives. He strives to foster employee engagement that leads to a more inclusive culture. Mr. Guinyard implements programs that embed D&I practices into the fabric of the firm’s culture, systems and process which positively impacts the employee experience. Through this process, he ensures alignment of initiatives with a focus on connecting efforts to business outcomes.

With extensive experience in diversity, organizational strategy, change, and training, Mr. Guinyard brings cross-sector expertise and a passion for creating inclusive workplace cultures to his current role. Prior to joining Goodwin in 2017, he led D&I at Blue Shield of California, Ropes & Gray, and PwC.

Mr. Guinyard earned his B.A. in psychology from Temple University. He is an active leader, volunteer, and contributor to nonprofit organizations that advocate for improving urban education. He is also a founding member and former advisory board member of The Academy of Innovative Technology, a small Brooklyn-based high school, and a board member of the Association of Law Firm Diversity Professionals (ALFDP).

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